Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric is known to the world as that yellow powder which many people don’t really know what kind of food to use it in, and as part of curry powder blends, that gives them the specific yellow color. Sometimes called “Indian saffron”, turmeric is also used in dishes traditionally made with saffron, as a cheaper replacement for that spice. Also, almost every mustard blend you have ever used has certainly contained it’s fair share of turmeric powder, besides the equally yellow mustard powders.

However, there is a lot more to this spice than meets the eye, and not many people are aware of how powerful turmeric can be for health when consumed on a regular basis. Here is everything you need to know about the turmeric plant, it’s properties and the best way to benefit from them.

The official scientific name for turmeric is curcuma longa and it originates from India. Because it is a rhizomatous herbaceous plant, it produces rhizomes much like a potato plant does. Since they are members of the same plant family, turmeric and ginger actually resemble each other more.

It is valued not just for it’s aroma, but also for it’s high value of curcumin (which also gives the plant and the color their names). The root of the plant is harvested, dried in hot ovens and then grinded into the powder we’re all familiar with. But turmeric is used in other forms as well, not just as a spice powder: it is also brewed in a tea or taken in a concentrated dosage in capsules.

The main health benefits of Turmeric

Although these benefits aren’t powerful enough to replace actual medication if you suffer from any disease where turmeric is considered to be an adjuvant, consuming a bit of turmeric regularly can help with a lot of potential problems. But keep in mind that neither turmeric nor any other plant supplement can take the place of a balanced diet and lifestyle, nor can they take the place of prescription drugs that have been recommended by a physician. That being said, the turmeric health benefits are rumored by some to be over 20 in number, but here are the most effective ones:

  • Internal Uses: Turmeric has internal uses for liver and gastrointestinal issues, lung issues, strains, wounds, sprains, and aches. Turmeric has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, antioxidant, and antiviral qualities when used consistently. This implies that consuming the plant on a regular basis can strengthen your immune system, shield you from oxidative stress, and help prevent the majority of diseases.
  • External Uses: Turmeric juice used topically works wonders for a range of skin ailments, including shingles, eczema, chicken pox, scabies, and allergies of all kinds. Turmeric supplements are sometimes given to dogs to help them heal from the different skin problems to which these animals are prone.
    Also, women (but some men as well, of course), use turmeric powder or broken turmeric capsules as an ingredient for a home-made facial mask with powerful anti-acne
  • Other potential turmeric health benefits (which are currently being researched): turmeric is currently being evaluated for alleged anti-cancer properties, for abilities to help with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, irritable bowel disease and arthritis. Bear it in mind that even if these trials will lead to inconclusive results, many of the other turmeric health benefits still remain.

How to use turmeric

If you are lucky enough to get fresh turmeric, you can grate a piece the size of your thumb (just like you would with ginger) and steep it in two cups of boiling water to in other to make a strong tea. You can also use grated fresh turmeric in a variety of recipes, just as you would use ginger, once again.

Naturally, consuming turmeric raw will provide you with a stronger dose of it’s health advantages. Simply add a small amount of this freshly grated pulp to your blender before blending any smoothie recipes. Some research suggests it’s effects are made more potent when combined with milk, so maybe you can dissolve a pinch of turmeric powder in your hot milk drink too, Other than blending any smoothie you create with turmeric with milk.

You can also access the health benefits of turmeric by taking supplements based on turmeric extract. The folk medicine of South Asia has prescribed this plant as a cure to liver and stomach ailments for millennia, and modern turmeric pills target this benefit as well.

According to the official NIH platform (the National Institutes of Health), the main turmeric health benefits described above are sometimes exaggerated, but should be taken seriously and pursued because some of them were backed up by science and further research is being made in other to confirm the rest. Nevertheless, the NIH warns that people should also be careful because turmeric can also have some side effects when ingested in excess amount of quantities.

The side effects of turmeric, when taken in excess quantity, can include nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. Some studies have confirmed liver problems in animals in case of over-dosing, but no such problem have been reported in humans (on the contrary, liver protection is one of the main health benefits turmeric).

Those who have gallbladder problems should also stay away from the plant because it can aggravate the illness. The NIH also advises you to communicate with your medical care providers and inform them if you take turmeric as a dietary supplement or as tea, so that they know how the plant may interact with the rest of your medical treatment.