Turmeric is an Asian spice often used in foods such as curry dishes. The most valuable part of turmeric is a substance called curcumin. Some estimate that there are at least 150 different health benefits associated with turmeric. Although not all have been approved by scientific research, the spice has been used in ancient medicines including Chinese and East Indian Ayurvedic medicines for thousands of years.
For more modern purposes turmeric is often used as an essential oil in perfumes. Its resin is used safely for flavorings and colorings in common foods such as curry powders, mustards, butter and cheese. The use of turmeric for medicinal purposes varies widely. There has been ongoing scientific research studying the potential therapeutic benefits of the spice. Several studies have already concluded the compound curcumin and other compounds in turmeric were found to be effective at reducing inflammation. Other health benefits may include boosting the immune system, protecting the heart from heart disease, and lessening the effects of autoimmune diseases on the body.
There is a long list of other benefits that many have purported that turmeric and its derivative curcumin have. An article on Mercola.com states further benefits of the spice- “curcumin in turmeric helps protect your brain and detoxes heavy metals like iron.” Other medicinal uses for turmeric include reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis; and healing digestion issues such as heartburn, stomach pain, ulcerative colitis, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and loss of appetite. For skin conditions turmeric has been used as an application for pain, ringworm, sprains & Swelling, bruises, acne, and infected wounds. It is also used as a mouth rinse for gum disease.
Although turmeric is a spice used extensively in cooking, if too much is ingested there may be side-effects. The side-effects associated with turmeric are generally mild. They can include stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea. It may also make gallbladder problems and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) worse. One of the properties in turmeric may also slow the blood clotting process. Use of turmeric with anti-blood clotting medications should be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Research into the healing benefits of turmeric are ongoing. Initial reports show the spice has several already widely recognized health benefits such as being used as an anti-inflammatory product. Other studies now being conducted are looking at other benefits of the spice. One study suggests that turmeric may be able to reverse cognitive decline and dementia in Alzheimer’s disease. Another study is looking into the possible use for aids patients. The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of turmeric could possibly help their bodies heal wounds, inhibit infection promoting enzymes and proteins, reduce infected cells, and block multiplication of infected t-cells.
The many benefits of turmeric and curcumin make this spice a super food. With its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties it can be used for a wide range of health benefits, with very little to no side-effects. Healing may be as easy as a cup of turmeric ginger tea.