Turmeric, The “spice of life.”
The herbal medicinal traditions of ancient civilisations such as those in India have an extensive collection of plants used for centuries in cooking as well as healing remedies.
The fascinating herb consumed in India is Turmeric, known as the “spice of life,” which is used to relieve gas and arthritis, to purify the blood, for bruises, sores, chest pain, ringworm, abdominal pain, peptic ulcers, or to prevent some cancers.
Turmeric is cultivated in India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The earliest reference about turmeric dates back to around 6000 BC.
This most excellent healing herb, with the orange-yellow rhizome, used to be regarded as the “herb of the Sun.”
It is a member of the ginger family and contains yellow curcumin, the principal active ingredient.
The name turmeric originates from the Latin name terra merita meaning deserved earth. In English, turmeric was known as yellow root and Indian saffron. Indian turmeric is regarded as the best in the world market because of its high curcumin content.
In the past, turmeric with his musky flavour and aroma was widely used as a spice, food preservative, or as a colouring agent to dye clothes such as wool, cotton or silk. In cooking, turmeric powder is used in the preparations of curries, fish, meat products, etc. In modern times, the colouring ingredient of turmeric (curcuminoids) is used as a safe food colour in spices, cheese, mustard or cereal products. And, while Hindu priests use turmeric to colour their robes, others use this herb to colour French mustard.
In Europe and the West, turmeric became popular as a powerful antioxidant and inflammatory agent.
Infographic source: BEHEALTHY
The genus Curcuma longa is the most investigated species. The name of the genus Curcuma came from the Arabic word “kurkum,” which originally meant “saffron,” but is now used for turmeric only.
Turmeric contains gum, starch, minerals, cellulose, volatile oil and a yellow colourant. Nutritional composition of turmeric is ash, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, vitamins A, B1-2-3, and C, tumerone, iron, zinc.
Curcuminoids from turmeric are reported to have antioxidative, antibacterial, exerting anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Curcumin, the key element found in turmeric, has antioxidants that not only use direct radicals but also neutralise existing free radicals and enhance the antioxidant activity. Here are health benefits of turmeric:
Protects the liver from toxic damage (boosts the liver’s ability to eliminate environmental toxins from the body). In India turmeric is also used to treat jaundice.
It lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and reduces the development of hardened and blocked arteries.
- Inflammatory conditions
Good for all arthritic conditions and post-operative inflammation. It also reduces inflammation in shoulders joints, knees, and elbows.
Excellent for skin conditions including psoriasis.
Useful in the treatment of indigestion and nausea, gastritis, stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel conditions, such as Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It stimulates bile flow. Curcuminoids possess potent anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cancer and Tumour
It inhibits tumour growth. Thus it has been extensively used as a cancer preventative, especially colorectal cancer and for gastrointestinal cancer.
- Cardiovascular disorder
It stops the oxidation of cholesterol, thus protecting against the formation of plaque in the arteries.
- Turmeric protects your brain cells. This herb is particularly helpful for people suffering from the brain fog condition.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used to strengthen the overall energy of the body. The reason why herbal experts consider turmeric as one of the greatest gifts of Mother Nature is that it has an enormous amount of healing properties. Thus it is used to ease up different kind of conditions ranging from those of gastrointestinal problems to menstrual conditions. In several animal studies, it has also been confirmed that turmeric has wound healing abilities, applied either orally or as a local application.
Recent claims are that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions may be useful in preventing Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Turmeric can be found in capsules, as a powder or in tablets. Recommended daily dosage is between 500mg and 1.000mg.
Please note: when you are buying your turmeric make sure it has a standard extract that contains 95% curcumins.