One taste of turmeric and you’ll know why this vivacious root vegetable has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to cleanse the liver, reduce arthritic inflammation, and improve energy levels. This powerful plant is a close cousin of ginger and has the same kind of super-concentrated flavor that has a strong yet delicious bite and leaves behind a warm, burning sensation on the tongue.
Turmeric is the chief ingredient in masala curry and is responsible for that vibrant yellow color—you know the one that always ends up staining on your shirt!
Health Benefits of Turmeric
This amazing spice has several other health benefits and is used in many different treatments, including:
Research shows that turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties. Inflammation, if left untreated, can become a chronic health issue. And unlike aspirin or ibuprofen, turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys. – Dr. Mercola
Curcumin increases the production of enzymes that digest sugar and fat, and stops cholesterol from crystallizing into gallstones. Liberal use of turmeric in the diet has a similar, although less pronounced, effect. – Herbosophy
Blood clot/Atherosclerosis prevention
Both heart attacks and strokes are caused by atherosclerotic plaque buildup or high cholesterol levels. This plaque buildup leads to blood clots being formed and when a single clot breaks off from arterial walls and travels to the brain or heart, it can cause a stroke or heart attack. Studies have found that turmeric could reduce the adhesive abilities of blood platelets, thereby preventing them from forming clots. It can also relax blood vessels and minimize heart damage after suffering a heart attack. – Turmeric for Health
Relief for indigestion and IBS symptoms
Now, a new study conducted at the University of Reading has revealed yet another condition turmeric can help treat: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Researchers found that standardised turmeric extracts can provide significant relief from the IBS Symptoms such as abdominal pain and flatulence. – The Healthier Life
Curcumin in Turmeric
Turmeric owes all of these amazing health properties to one of its primary constituents, curcumin. This amazing phytochemical has been proven to have wonderful affects on the human body, and scientists right now aren’t completely sure why.
Turmeric has been of increasing interest to the medical community, as of late, because of its alleged connection to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies suggest that curcumin actually acts on the plaque build-up in the brain that contributes to the disease. Beyond the lab, some of the most supportive evidence comes from the simple fact that less than 1% of the elderly population in India, where the spice is consumed on a daily basis, develops the illness.
So, even though the jury might still be out as to why and exactly how turmeric acts on the body in such a positive way, I feel confident that when I shout, “pass the turmeric, please!” I’m making a wise health decision.
Jocelyn Eide is a writer-researcher from Montana, USA, and writes on a variety of insightful topics, including natural health. When she is not working, she is likely doing Yoga.