Turmeric has been used for centuries, particularly in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is well known as a spice but knowledge of its beneficial qualities is becoming increasingly widespread.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Tumeric comes from the turmeric plant which is a relative of the ginger family. Turmeric grows in the tropical regions of. Southern Asia, particularly India. It has yellow flowers. The roots and bulbs of turmeric are used in medicine and food and when boiled and dried they are a yellow colour. It is turmeric that gives the yellow colour to curries, and it has also been used to colour mustard and butter.
WHAT IS IT?
The active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin, which is a strong anti-oxidant. Curcumin also lowers the levels of two enzymes that cause inflammation and it prevents the clumping together of platelets that can cause blood clots. So, overall Curcumin is very helpful in inflammatory conditions because it has a two-pronged attack - it has anti-oxidant properties and it actually alters the inflammation pathway.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Conditions that Curcumin is used for include:
- Indigestion - Curcumin stimulates the gall bladder which may aid digestion and help in reducing bloating. Stomach ulcers may get worse, though, and so use in ulcers should be cautious
- ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease - symptoms may be reduced
- arthritis - pain reduction and improved function have been seen in some studies
- heart disease - early studies suggest Curcumin may help prevent the build up of plaque on artery walls that leads to atherosclerosis and may cause heart attacks and stroke
- cancer - there is some preliminary research on Curcumin being used to prevent and help stabilize some tumours
- brain diseases, like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis - early research is promising for some diseases
- uveitis (eye inflammation) - in preliminary research, Curcumin may be as effective in treatment as steroid drops
- infections - there is a suggestion in lab studies that Curcumin may help in treating infection. There are some promising results from studies in tuberculosis where turmeric was added to conventional medication
- skin irritation - some skin conditions have shown benefit with turmeric used topically (on the skin) as well as taken orally
HOW TO TAKE IT?
Tumeric is fat soluble so to get good absorption of the tumeric when you take it, make sure you take with oil, eg, coconut oil. Adding black pepper also AIDS absorption.
Having tumeric in a curry is a delicious way to have this wonderful ingredient - absorption is aided by the fats used in cooking the curry and the black pepper added
If you add tumeric to your smoothie, remember to add some fat (like coconut oil or avocado) and also add a dash of black pepper
WHAT IS THE LOW DOWN?
Tumeric is one of nature's healing ingredients. It is a powerful ant-oxidant and ant-inflammatory agent.
The low down on Tumeric - it gets a five star review from us
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