Researchers (N. Vijayalaxmi, R. Sudhakara Reddy, and friends) at the Vishnu Dental College in Bhimavaram, India have studied the curative effects of curcumin (tumeric) on damaged palatal mucosa (the smooth, slimy areas inside your mouth).  Their research, published in the Archives of Oral Research, explores the effects of and treatments for reverse smoking: a habit that is prevalent among women and men in India and other countries.

Tumeric: several ways
(Source:  Uses of 2012)
Reverse smoking only works with home-rolled cigarettes and is similar to "regular" smoking except you put the lit side of the cigarette inside your mouth.  Hold on there, naysayers, the article identifies a few noteworthy and completely legit benefits of reverse smoking:

  • you are more difficult to see in the dark;
  • you are less likely to accidentally extinguish your cigarette while scrubbing the bathroom floor or enjoying a cool ocean breeze; and
  • you won't drop hot ashes on a nursing infant.

Unfortunately, this means all those ashes (not to mention the tobacco smoke and hot hot heat of FIRE) will be fast-tracked to your gaping maw, potentially causing some or all of these exciting boo-boos:
  • Palatal keratosis (nasty white patches)
  • Excrescences (think: mouth warts)
  • Red areas
  • Ulcerated areas
  • Multimorphic lesion (another variety of weird mouth lump)
  • Much, much more
Multimorphic palatal changes with keratosis, excrescences, and
hyperpigmentation, a.k.a. "nasty mouth funk"
(Source: Vijayalaxmi et al. 2012)
Cessation and expensive antioxidants are the commonly prescribed treatments for patients presenting the above-mentioned signs, but not everyone has heaps of money to blow on hippie nature remedies--remember, we're rolling our own smokes here.  Luckily, the research team had a hunch about tumeric's well-known healing properties, gathered a bunch of subjects with nasty mouth funk, and split them into two test groups: A and B.

Group A's members were given fancy mouth plates, tubes of curcuma oral gel to slather all over those mouth plates (which must smell and taste very interesting), and instructions to wear that combo for about 12 hours per day.  Group B's members were told that smoking is bad, given a toothbrush, and instructed to consider brushing more often.

Mouth cast, Curcuma (tumeric) oral gel, and gel application on the fancy mouth plate (Source: Vijayalaxmi et al. 2012)
After several weeks and three visits to the lab, Group A's subjects showed considerable improvement over Group B.

Vijayalaxmi et al. may be on to something here, but our skeptical and hyper-scientific minds demand additional research.  Wearing the clunky mouth device would make it a lot more difficult for Group A members to reverse smoke (or, at very least, would provide a good protective barrier to all that ash and fire).  Group B, on the other hand, could have rolled those smoking cessation fact sheets into tidy little joints for covert reverse-smoking behind the old schoolhouse.  May we suggest a similar experiment conducted with "regular" smokers?