Turmeric, an ancient spice from the same family as ginger, is something that could be missing from your life. Turmeric contains some handy little things called curcuminoids, the main ones are curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These fellas are responsible for most of the anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and antioxidant properties that turmeric contains. This spice can be helpful as a natural therapeutic relief to tissue injury, arthritis, phlebitis, tuberculosis, fevers, allergies, sinusitis, fibromyalgia, gastritis, tissue irritation and autoimmune disorders (McMahon, 1997). Turmeric is also packed full of micro-nutrients that your body requires, like niacin, sodium, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins C, E, and K.
So lets simplify and break down 5 things turmeric can do for you:
1. It is an anti-inflammatory Although short-term inflammation can be necessary for the body, long-term (chronic) inflammation can work against your own tissues and cells (Singh & Aggarwhal, 1995). The curcumin, which I mentioned before, is so anti-inflammatory that it has matched effectiveness with some medical-grade anti-inflammatory drugs (Jurenka, 2009). Beau’s fibromyalgia was causing him a lot of pain one day (more than usual) and he was aching all over and felt like he was getting the flu, but had no other symptoms, so I made him a turmeric tea. Beau said that he used to mainly get the pain through his hips and he noticed that an hour or two after the tea the pain had just disappeared. He drinks it every day now.
2. Fights colds and flu Heat 1 cup of milk with ½ a teaspoon of turmeric (and then strain out the turmeric and drink the milk – it does not taste pleasant…) as a natural remedy to colds and flus. Studies have shown that the spice can help reduce the symptoms and severity of colds (Turmeric: the golden spice’, 2013).
3. Helps indigestion and weight loss There have been some studies which have shown that curcumin is able to help reduce symptoms of indigestion and bloating and acts as a natural thermogen. If you’re not yet familiar with the world of supplements a thermogen is a product that promotes thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a process that takes place when the central nervous system of the body burns fat in order to maintain it’s regular temperature. Increased rates of thermogenesis can mean increased body temperature but also greater fat burning and faster weight loss (Jin-Gyu, 2014).
4. Relief for arthritis and other joint inflammation The pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be relieved by the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric. In addiction to the pain relief because it’s a ‘natural pain killer’, turmeric has been found to also destroy free radicals in the body, free radicals can damage your cells.
5. Controls diabetes Turmeric has been found to moderate insulin levels, improve glucose control and increase the effectiveness of diabetes medications (Finney-Brown, 2011). It is still best to consult a medical professional before taking turmeric capusules for this purpose.
So there you have it! Five great things about turmeric, and there are way more too! The easiest way to have turmeric is half a teaspoon in a cup of boiling water (like a tea). The taste does take a bit to get used to, if you really can’t tolerate it try adding some cinnamon and/or raw honey.
Finney-Brown, T 2011, ‘Turmeric for diabetes’, Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, vol. 23, no.2, p 96.
Jin-Gyu, K 2014, ‘Beneficial dietary effect of turmeric and sulphur on weight gain, fat deposition and lipid profile of serum and liver in rats’, Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 774-779.
Jurenka, J 2009, ‘Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research’, Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 14, no. 3, p 277.\
McMahon, S 1997, ‘Tumeric: from kitchen cabinet to medicine chest’, Vegetarian Times, vol. 240, p 70.
Singh, S & Aggarwhal B 1995, ‘Activation of transciription factor NF-kB is suppressed by curcumin (diferuloylmethane)’, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 270, no. 44, pp. 24995-25000.
"Turmeric: The Golden Spice." Facts For You 8 Jan. 2013. General OneFile. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.