Turmeric is not just a quintessential spice in curries, but it has a plethora of health benefits too. Turmeric can be used to treat everything from liver problems to digestive ailments to even ringworm and itching. Curcumin, the main compound present in turmeric has excellent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. As a result, turmeric often rivals results produced by anti-inflammatory medicines, while its antiseptic properties make sure that it helps speed up wound and infection healing. The antioxidant properties of turmeric make it very useful for detoxifying the liver and for keeping bad cholesterol levels in check.
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant. The turmeric spice comes from the turmeric plant. It is generally used in Asian cuisine to add flavor to dishes and curries, as well as in butters, mustard, and cheeses. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Asia, and is a major part of Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, and traditional Chinese medicine. Although typically used in its powdered and dry form, it is also often used fresh, like ginger.
Turmeric is an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin B6, and fiber as well as substantial amounts of magnesium and Vitamin C. Curcumin, the major component of the spice turmeric, has several noted therapeutic effects. Turmeric also contains health benefiting essential oils such as turmerone, zingiberene, cineole, and p-cymene. Turmeric does not contain any cholesterol, but it is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which help control cholesterol levels. Turmeric contains high amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium.
Curcumin, the main component in turmeric, has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, studies have found that it is so powerful that it is capable of matching the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at the molecular level. It blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. Turmeric can thus help combat inflammation.
Curcumin present in turmeric has been found to be very effective in interfering with cancer development in the body. It can also help boost the effects of chemotherapy. It has been noted that this cancer prevention ability of turmeric becomes even stronger when used in combination with freshly ground black pepper.
Turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties have been instrumental in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric also contains anti-oxidants which destroy the free radicals in the body that damage the cells and lead to arthritis. People suffering from arthritis are advised to take turmeric on a daily basis.
Turmeric, if consumed raw when suffering from digestive problems, can be very effective in successfully treating them. The major components of the spice stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, instantly making the digestive system more efficient. Turmeric has also been known to alleviate symptoms of gas and bloating.
Turmeric is often used in the treatment of patients who have pre-diabetes to prevent or delay the onset of Type-2 diabetes. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds present in curcumin. Turmeric helps keep insulin levels in check and also boosts the effects of the medications used for treating diabetes.
Lipopolysaccharide is a substance present in turmeric which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties which help stimulate the human immune system. Not only does it improve the functioning of the immune system, but it is also very helpful in treating colds and coughs.
Turmeric is capable of increasing the production of certain vital enzymes which detoxify the blood in the liver by breaking down and reducing the toxins. By improving blood circulation too, turmeric is instrumental in promoting good liver health.
Turmeric helps accelerate the body’s metabolism rate, thus helping the body burn a greater amount if calories, leading to weight loss. Turmeric is also useful in reducing fat mass, which is important in diet-induced weight loss. Additionally, since the curcumin in turmeric lowers bad cholesterol levels, turmeric can act as the ideal weight-loss supplement.
Turmeric keeps skin healthy in more ways than one. It helps reduce oil secretion by sebaceous glands, thus inhibiting the growth of pimple-causing bacteria. Long-term usage of turmeric on the skin can also clear scars caused by acne. The antioxidants present in curcumin have been known to fight signs of aging such as wrinkles and pigmentation by curbing the growth of free radicals.
Turmeric has excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This makes it extremely useful when used for the purpose of quick and efficient wound healing. Studies have found that turmeric is capable of healing wounds completely within a very short period of time.
Turmeric is used not only as a spice, but it also widely used in the treatment of certain ailments such as arthritis, joint pain gallbladder diseases and other kidney problems. Turmeric is often applied topically to the skin to treat pain, ringworm, bruising, infections and other inflammatory skin conditions. The essential oil of turmeric is used in the cosmetic industry as an ingredient in scented soaps and perfumes. In food and manufacturing, the resin obtained from turmeric is used as a flavor and color component in foods.
Turmeric is generally very safe and has no side effects when used optimally. People with turmeric sensitivity can have mild stomach upset or diarrhea. Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects; however, some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea.
Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, and traditional Chinese medicine. Turmeric has its origins in Southern India, and till date, this region continues as the world's largest producer of turmeric. India is the largest exporter of turmeric in the world, followed by Thailand, Latin America and Taiwan. Indian turmeric is considered the best in the world market because of its high curcumin content. Turmeric is a perennial plant, which means that it can be cultivated throughout the year. It requires temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Though turmeric thrives in different types of soil ranging from light black loam, red soils to clayey loams, rich loamy soils having natural drainage and irrigation facilities are the best. Turmeric cannot stand water stagnation or alkalinity.