1. Health Benefits of Turmeric
1. Turmeric is High in Antioxidants
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural compounds that inhibit oxidation and can neutralize free radicals in our bodies.
How are Antioxidants Anti-Inflammatory?
Antioxidants interfere with the inflammatory process of the body. Inflammation and oxidative stress occurs due to an imbalance in the body. Antioxidants produce a defense mechanism that prevents and slows the formation reactive oxygen species (which play a role in forming inflammation).
What Antioxidants are in Turmeric?
Curcumin, the yellow pigment that gives turmeric its color, is the major component of the spice and is why turmeric is considered a superfood. Curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
How do the anti-inflammatory agents in turmeric help arthritis?
The Arthritis Foundation recommends turmeric as a supplemental herb to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness as an effective agent against rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and joint swelling. While turmeric is still under ongoing investigation as an anti-arthritic agent, turmeric has proven in numerous studies to fight the production of inflammation in joints as well as fight bone destruction.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - In a study that randomized the medicating of patients that had RA with curcumin and/or diclofenac sodium (also known as voltaren, which is used to treat arthritic inflammation) the curcumin group showed the most improvement. Patients experienced significantly more of an improvement in their Disease Activity Score and their American College of Rheumatology scores, which essentially monitor all aspects of inflammation and soreness. Also, curcumin proved to be safe and did not present any side effects for all forty five patients. Curcumin has also proven to be beneficial in having preventative effects for joint inflammation.
Osteoarthritis - Curcumin has been deemed beneficial for osteoarthritis but still needs future research. The bioavailability of curcumin is promising, but it is believed that this natural component of turmeric combined with other products could increase its efficiency. In a study of a curcumin complex with 50 osteoarthritis patients, curcumin was deemed a good long term treatment for OA management because of its tolerability. This curcumin complex decreased joint pain and also improved joint function. In another study curcumin proved as beneficial as ibuprofen as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis, without the side effects.
Joint Swelling - This ancient anti-inflammatory has proven to decrease swelling and alleviate pain. The benefit of turmeric as a treatment for arthritis is that typically arthritis has to be treated for life, and turmeric is a natural way to supplement without side effects. Curcumin has been proven to be beneficial as a anti-inflammatory by multiple routes of administration: topically, orally and through inhalation. This means the spice can be used as a topical ointment for joint pain as well as a supplement.
How are the antioxidants in Turmeric beneficial for your skin?
The antioxidant properties of curcumin in turmeric are important for your skin because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Turmeric has played a role as a skin product since ancient times, both for health and religious ceremonials. In Hinduism turmeric is applied before wedding ceremonies as a natural exfoliate to ensure the bride will have sparkling, soft skin for the wedding day. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin alleviates redness and irritation of skin. Turmeric has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that helps clear acne scars through its inflammatory properties and reduces the oil produced by your sebaceous glands.
How do the antioxidant properties of turmeric benefit eye health?
The main component of Turmeric, curcumin has successfully been proven to treat inflammatory conditions of the eye in clinical trials. Curcumin acts on the immune system cells of the body. In a study that tested diabetic rats, because diabetes can possibly be linked with glaucomas, curcumin prevented the loss of alpha-crystallin which is a major lens protein that assists in the refractive index in the lens. Essentially, the consumption of curcumin proved to help prevent the loss of eyesight in diabetic rats. In a human study, orally dosed curcumin proved to rival the only available treatment for chronic uveitis, corticosteroid therapy. The treatment of curcumin proved as effective as the corticosteroids, and also did not have the side effects of the steroid treatment. Curcumin has proven to be beneficial for eye health and retinal disease because of its potent antioxidant content, it’s anti-inflammatory properties, and its important role in ensuring proper cell function.
How do the antioxidant properties of turmeric benefit wound healing?
In India turmeric has been used as a paste to treat wounds since ancient times. In modern day turmeric is still used and being incorporated into various medical treatments. The extract of curcumin has proven beneficial in therapy of effected wounds when added to an alginate foam, because of its impressive antimicrobial properties. Curcumin has been proven to inhibit FtsZ protofilaments, which are essentially a framework for bacteria cell growth. By inhibiting bacterial cytokinesis, curcumin can play a role in wound healing by putting a stop to the bacteria’s growth. Curcumin has been proven to stop the formation of several strains of Staphylococcus. Not only does curcumin put an end to bacterial grown, but it also has been proven to increase collagen synthesis, meaning that the cells surrounding a cut will encourage closure of the wound and speed healing. By preventing bacterial growth, speeding the rate of healing, and fighting inflammation, turmeric is a natural medicine with multiple benefits.
How does curcumin fight vaginal infections?
Curcumin has microbial properties that helps it fight vaginal infections in women. Its antiseptic properties allow curcumin to fight issues such as yeast infections.
Turmeric is high in antioxidants that help fight aging and illness and contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.
2. Disadvantages of Turmeric
1. High doses of curcumin could interfere with pregnancy
Curcumin is safe to eat during pregnancy in foods such as curry, women who are pregnant are recommended to avoid taking turmeric supplements.
How can curcumin interfere with pregnancy?
Taken in large doses, curcumin can stimulate the uterus which encourages menstrual flow. If pregnant, avoid taking turmeric in large doses to avoid any potential health problems.
Does curcumin act as estrogen?
No, curcumin actually has been proven to be anti-estrogenic, especially in the way it inhibits growth of cells. In one study that monitored the testosterone levels in rats when administered extremely high doses of curcumin, the rats experienced a testosterone increase by 257%. The main anabolic steroid that a human body produces is testosterone, which has anabolic effects. Anabolic effects promote muscle growth. Curcumin is naturally anabolic. Curcumin does not function as an estrogen.
How does curcumin affect male reproduction?
Curcumin has been proven to have some spermicidal properties when taken at medicinal doses. Curcumin can block sperm function. Curcumin inhibits the motility of sperm.Studies have not reported lasting effects, but it is best to avoid taking curcumin when trying to get pregnant. Curcumin inhibits anything that grows fast, such as cancer cells, but that would include sperm.
What about for breast-fed infants?
There is not enough data yet to make conclusions on taking curcumin supplements while lactating.
Turmeric can interfere with pregnancy in both men and women. You should not take medicinal amounts of turmeric if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
3. Turmeric Recipe in Video
4. About Turmeric
Turmeric is a nutritional super food that makes for a perfect addition to a dish by adding a boost of nutrients, flavor and color. This root is quick to cook, and is enjoyed raw as well. Try some of these recipes and integrate turmeric’s benefits into your life.
5. Turmeric VS Ginger
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family. It is a rhizome, meaning that it is an underground, horizontally grown stem, as opposed to a true root.
Why do your articles continuously call turmeric “curcumin”?
The most important chemical components of turmeric are compounds called curcuminoids. The most known and studied of the curcuminoids is called curcumin, which is the main constituent of turmeric. Curcumin is the power content of turmeric which gives it all of its impressive benefits.
What kinds of turmeric can you buy?
There are 30 different varieties of turmeric. The most famous varieties of turmeric are the: Local Haldi, China Scented, Thodopuza, Alleppey, and Red Streaked. The significances between the varieties tends to be how long the crop takes to grow till harvest, and slight variations in color - and most importantly, the curcumin content.
What you will typically see in the store will include:
The root of the Curcuma longa has tough beige or brown skin. The interior of the root is typically orange, which is what gives the spice its coloring.
This powder is bright orange or yellow, and is produced by grounding the dry turmeric root.
What is the best “quality” of turmeric or “curcumin”?
Basically, you want to make sure that your turmeric doesn’t have any additives or fillers. Some companies will essentially dilute an herbal supplement. Avoid products, turmeric or not, that have magnesium stearate as an ingredient; it is a magnesium salt that has lubricating properties. It is thought to interfere and harm your cellular processes. If you are purchasing a supplement, try to buy vegetable based capsules as opposed to gelatin. The goal is to find a label with 100% turmeric - basically you don’t want to ingredient list to have any additives or chemical preservatives. The only exception to this rule is if the product also contains piperine. When adding piperine, or pepper, to turmeric, you increase the absorption rate.
What is “organic” turmeric?
Organic turmeric is any turmeric grown not using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, ionizing radiation, and it is not genetically modified. In the United States a way to determine if turmeric is organic is if it has a green USDA organic sticker.
6. History of Turmeric
Turmeric and Ginger are members of the same family. Both are tropical plants that are well known for their roots that have amazing health and flavor properties. Both turmeric and ginger are anti-inflammatory, but while turmeric is known as a painkiller, ginger is used to treat nausea. In taste, turmeric is bitter and has an earthy flavor, opposed to ginger which tends to be spicy and refreshing. In appearance, their outer root layer may look similar- but turmeric is known for its intense dark orange coloring that makes it resemble saffron. Ginger tends to be a lighter yellow to white.
7. Q&A About Turmeric
Turmeric’s History - A Potent Spice with Healing Powers
This ancient spice gives color and flavor to curry dishes, but also has limitless potential in the health field.
Origins of Turmeric
While the specific origins of turmeric are uncertain, it is thought that Turmeric originated from Southwest India. There are two cities that are known for their turmeric, and they still thrive in the production of the spice. Both the cities of Sangli and Erode are known as “Turmeric City”. Specifically, the city of Erode in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Erode is also known as “Turmeric City” or “Yellow City” due to its huge production of turmeric. In Western India the city of Sangli in the state of Maharashtra in also known as “Turmeric City” because of its huge production and trade of turmeric.
It is thought that Turmeric has been used medicinally for over 4,500 years. Archaeological finds of ancient pots near New Delhi have uncovered remnants of turmeric, ginger and garlic from 2500 BCE. In has been a major part of the ancient Siddha medicine and the ancient Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Turmeric has a variety of names, most commonly known also as Curcumin in Western cultures. Turmeric has such a significant role in Indian culture than it has different regional names based on language and state.
2500 BCE - Evidence shows that ancient pots near New Delhi have remnants of turmeric, ginger and garlic.
250 BCE - Turmeric is mentioned as a treatment for poisoned food in Sushruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium, an ancient Sanskrit text.
700 AD - It is estimated that turmeric reached China by around 700 AD. Turmeric grew in popularity in China, and held an important role in Traditional Chinese medical practices.
800 - It is estimated that Turmeric reached East Africa by 800 AD.
1200 - It is estimated that Turmeric reached West Africa by 1200 AD.
1280 - Marco Polo visited China along the Silk Road and described turmeric as surprisingly similar to saffron.
1700’s - It is estimated that Turmeric reached Jamaica by the 18th century.
8. Nutritional Information
How do you pronounce turmeric?
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
Curcumin is the yellow pigment that gives turmeric its color and also the constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its health benefits. Curcumin is the most studied chemical compound of the curcuminoid family.
Are curcumin and turmeric the same thing?
Yes and no. If you have turmeric in its natural state, it does contain curcumin. Curcumin is an extract of turmeric, it is the antioxidant that gives turmeric so many of its benefits. However, you can take curcumin supplements, which does not have the other properties of turmeric. You can also use turmeric essential oil, which does not have the properties of curcumin.
What does turmeric taste like?
Earthy and bitter.
What is turmeric related to?
Turmeric is related to ginger.
How much turmeric is produced in the world?
India is the largest producer of turmeric at 80% of the world’s production. Yearly estimates for Indian production are at 4.5-4.8 million bags of turmeric at 60 kg each.That is 634,931,315 pounds. Or almost 40 eiffel towers.
This is the nutritional information for 1 tablespoon (6.8 g) of ground turmeric!