Turmeric is a plant which originates from South Asia. For years, it has been used as a nutritional supplement, but it also has a long history of medicinal use which dates back to nearly 4000 years.
During the Vedic culture in India, 4000 years ago, back then turmeric was not only recognized as a spice which gives curry its yellow colour, but it was also used in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes.
Today, modern medicine has recognized the importance of turmeric leading to the use of this yellow powder in medicine, food and cosmetics.
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Turmeric contains bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids, which give this herb its yellow colour but importantly its medicinal properties. It has anti-inflammatory, choleretic, antimicrobial, and carminative actions as stipulated by the NCBI
In traditional medicine, including Chinese medicine, Japanese medicine and Ayurveda practices in India, (the science of long life), Turmeric has been used mostly for its inflammatory properties.
It is a documented botanical supplement for chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, allergy and chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD). Curcumin present in turmeric improves the function of the endothelium regulating blood pressure and blood clot which among other variables can lead to heart disease. Lifestyle: 10 heart-friendly foods to add to your diet.
Also, turmeric is used as a herbal medicine for chronic anterior uveitis, skin cancer, smallpox, chickenpox, conjunctivitis, wound cleansing and healing, sprains, swelling, liver ailments and to treat urinary tract infections.
When it comes to digestive disorders, turmeric is used for; abdominal pain and distension, to reduce flatus, jaundice and menstrual difficulties. It can also address dyspeptic conditions including loss of appetite, postprandial feelings of fullness as well as liver and gallbladder complaints.
In the intestines, turmeric treats diseases such as familial adenomatous polyposis and inflammatory bowel disease. Turmeric is also used to treat and prevent colon cancer/colorectal cancer.
Turmeric also protects brain functionality and lowers the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Check out the 8 foods that promote mental health.
Curcumin is a very strong antioxidant and is the main active ingredient in Turmeric. Although its content is about 3% by weight about it exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Since dosages of curcumin should exceed one gram per day for effective medicinal use, one can opt for supplements which contain a significant amount of curcumin. Such levels are difficult to attain just by using turmeric spice.
Modern in vitro studies reveal that turmeric is a potent antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer agent. Here are more spices that act as medicines.
Turmeric is a popular spice and it is used in foods to add colour, taste as well as nutritional value. It contains curcuminoids which give the spice the orange-yellow colour in addition to its health benefits.
Studies indicate that India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it.
It is used in manufactured food products such as ice cream, yoghurts, orange juice, baked products, dairy products as well as in curry powders.
It is also a significant ingredient in Ethiopian, Indian, Swahili as well as Asian cuisines.
Benefits of using turmeric in food include improved digestion, overall strengthening of the body, reduction of gas as well as bloating. Turmeric stimulates bile production, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
It can also regulate menstruation, dispel worms and dissolve gallstones.
When mixed with milk or water it can treat colds, sore throats and intestinal disorders.
In addition to health benefits, Indians attributes skin benefits to turmeric a reason why it is used as an integral skincare ingredient in pre-weddings. Turmeric paste is applied to the skin of the bride and the groom as it makes the skin glow as well as curb harmful bacteria from entering the body. These everyday foods will improve your skin health.
Turmeric is also used to purify blood which helps keep the skin in good condition, as well as a remedy for skin conditions. In some parts of India, women use turmeric paste to remove superfluous hair a process that leaves the skin feeling soft, and looking bright.
Turmeric is also used in making sunscreen as well as face creams due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Find out more about other benefits of turmeric here – 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
Here are some other spices you should be taking regularly – ginger, cloves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and garlic. Also check out Turning to nature for relief: 8 common spices that act as medicines.
Feature image via Hiltonherb