Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, native to tropical South Asia.
By the time we get turmeric as a powder, its rhizomes have been boiled for several hours, dried in hot ovens and ground into the deep orange-yellow spice.
People of the Indian Subcontinent have been enjoying the health benefits of turmeric for over 2500 years, where historians say that it was probably first used as a dye!
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a powerhouse of medicinal properties that cure everything from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. These are some of the health benefits of turmeric:
*turmeric was found to prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lungs of mice.
*combined with cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or cauliflower, turmeric prevents prostate cancer and stops the growth of existing prostate cancer.
*may prevent metastases in many different forms of cancer.
*may prevent melanoma and kill existing melanoma cells.
*has slowed the progress of multiple sclerosis in mice.
*reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
*may prevent or slow Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
*may stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
*it is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
*it is a natural liver detoxifier.
*it is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
*it boosts the effects of the chemo drug Paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
*may help in treating psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
*it speeds up wound healing, such as burns and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
*it is a naturally anti-inflammatory and works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without their bad side effects!
*it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
*may aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
*Chinese medicine has used it for depression.
If you can’t get used to the slightly bitter, earthy taste of turmeric, try it in curry powder. It’s the component that gives curry its yellow color. Aside from eating curried foods, turmeric can be taken in pill form.
You’re actually eating turmeric regularly in mustard! When I burn myself, I slather on a bit of American mustard bolstered by a good dash of turmeric from the spice jar and it relieves the burning right away.
A word of caution though, turmeric should not be consumed if you have bile obstruction or gallstones. Turmeric has been known to be a uterine stimulant, so if you’re pregnant, it is important to consult with a doctor before using turmeric medicinally! So that means it could induce labor – that might be a handy thing to know for some of us!
So, have you eaten your curry today?