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Turmeric, the Golden Vitality Spice

April 10, 2015

Turmeric is an extraordinary spice.  With its vibrant, golden-orange color it will not only perk up your plate but also brighten your health.  Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is a perennial herb of the ginger family and is native to India and southeastern Asia where its use dates back nearly 4000 years.  The incredible actions of turmeric come from its underground root-like stem structure called the rhizome. 

 

Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic (Indian) traditions have countless uses for turmeric including strengthening bodily energy, relieving gas and abdominal pain, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, relieving arthritis, improving respiratory conditions and treating liver disorders.  Turmeric has particularly protective effects on the liver, kidney, stomach, cardiovascular and nervous system. 

 

Many of the beneficial implications of turmeric are attributed to its capacity to act as an antioxidant.  Antioxidants scavenge damaging compounds in the body called oxygen-radicals or free-radicals.  Being high in antioxidants and fiber, turmeric also works to regulate cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis. Turmeric has the ability to decrease inflammation and therefore can be especially useful in decreasing pain or swelling. Another remarkable asset of turmeric is its wound-healing ability. 

 

The production and flow of bile from the gall bladder is stimulated by turmeric, which can help the body to digest fats. This spice has even been shown to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth, especially when applied topically and exposed to light.  There are several researched modern applications of this wondrous plant, most notably in cancer prevention as turmeric has been found to impede upon the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer formation. 

 

Generous sprinkling of turmeric on your food can serve as an excellent boost of vitality and wellness!   Although turmeric is very well tolerated and safe, consult with your health care provider before taking in large quantities.  In cases of gallstones, use only after consultation with a physician.

 

References:

  • Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Turmeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2011. Chapter 13.

  • Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. : Textbook of Natural Medicine: Curcuma longa – Turmeric. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Chapter 87.

 

 

 

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