The Sacred Root Used Throughout the World
Used internationally as a staple spice in cuisine, an element of holistic medicine, an offering in religious ceremonies, and even a colouring in cosmetics, turmeric has been providing the world with countless uses and immense health benefits for thousands of years. The scientific name for the plant is Curcuma longa, a well-known perennial belonging to the ginger family of Zingiberaceae.
Turmeric’s beautiful bright yellow root has led to its nicknames “the golden spice” and “Indian saffron.” It has graced countless cultures around the world with its gorgeous colouring, unique aroma, and unmistakable flavour. Available in a natural state of the whole turmeric root or in powdered, pressed, extract or supplement forms, turmeric can provide countless benefits that improve the body’s ability to heal itself and prevent illness.
A Brief History
Native to the southwest of India, turmeric root has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years. Turmeric’s benefits and usage has spread recently around the world to contribute to the body’s naturally preventative and healing abilities in regards to countless ailments. The Turmeric plant is thought to have arrived in China around c.e. 700, and the earliest record of the plant is in one of the first Ayurvedic scientific and medical documents, the Sanskrit text Compendium of Caraka (written between the fourth-century b.c.e. and the second-century c.e.), which recommended turmeric as an efficient approach for food poisoning.
Turmeric became a staple of the culture and cuisine of India, where they utilized the root for multiple applications. People in India became such devout believers in the root’s protective powers that they became planters and suppliers. India now produces more than 80 percent of the world’s turmeric root, with more than 3,000 studies published in peer-reviewed journals in the last twenty-five years showing the amazing health benefits of turmeric. This potent root has made quite an entrance into the Western medicinal world.
Turmeric’s Unique Chemical Profile
Turmeric contains more than 100 astounding chemical compounds that contribute to its ability to help improve health problems from stomachaches to respiratory issues. These chemical compounds are what make turmeric unique. Most importantly, turmeric contains curcumin, which is a polyphenol. Polyphenols are organic chemicals that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are also present in other foods and beverages, such as epigallocatechin in green tea, capsaicin in chilli peppers, and resveratrol in red wine and fresh peanuts. Curcumin is what gives turmeric root its beautiful yellow-orange colour. In addition Curcuminoids, which are the group of chemical compounds responsible for the additional health benefits of turmeric, include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Turmeric also contains volatile oils, including tumerone, artumerone, and zingiberene.
Curcumin is the part of turmeric that has been studied most frequently for its uses as a dietary supplement, in food colouring. And for cosmetics purposes. One study conducted by the Asian Coordinating Group for Chemistry showed that turmeric extracts may have antifungal and antibacterial properties. The National Institutes of Health lists more than eighty studies that are extensively evaluating turmeric in order to continue discovering its potential benefits for various ailments. (Visit https://clinicaltrials.gov for updated information on these studies.)
Turmeric’s unique chemical composition of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals provide the body with:
+ Improved immunity
+ Protection against cell damage
+ Prevention of health problems
The Special Benefits of Turmeric
The turmeric root possesses natural oils, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and phytochemicals that combine to support the health of tissue and organs in almost every area of the body. Phytochemicals, in particular, are naturally occurring plant compounds that boost the healthy functioning of cells, tissues, organs, and systems. These compounds include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, analgesics, and a wide variety of protective, preventative, and health-promoting derivatives that help support the natural functions of the body.
The powerful phenols contained within the flesh of the turmeric root are a variety of curcuminoids: curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdesmethoxycurcumin, which not only help combat germs, bacteria, and viruses, but also help aid digestive processes, support immunity, improve energy, maximize metabolic functioning, cleanse the blood, enhance blood sugar regulation, and heighten mental processes.
It is these compounds that are responsible for turmeric’s numerous health benefits. Turmeric also contains quercetin, which is a plant pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their color. Together these antioxidant components in turmeric scavenge free radicals which can damage cells.
The Health Benefits of Turmeric
- Help Your Immune System Combat Illness
Antioxidants are a key component when it comes to maintaining good health. Researchers have studied natural alternatives that can improve the body’s ability to prevent the development of some disease conditions. Turmeric is one of the most researched and studied natural alternatives and has proven benefits.
By combating chronic inflammation, which is a known contributing factor to the development of illness, turmeric promotes the body’s ability to maintain a healthy condition. Its potent antioxidants also support the body’s natural immunity to oxidative changes—changes that can cause poor conditions to develop and progress.
- Provides Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Inflammation is a common cause of pain and discomfort, and can contribute to the development of serious illnesses. While many people opt to treat their inflammation with prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, these treatment options can fail to provide relief and can have serious side effects. For those with contraindicated health problems or those taking prescriptions that NSAIDs can interfere with, an all-natural option can target discomfort more safely and effectively.
Chemical compounds in turmeric, such as curcumin, combine with vitamins and minerals that support the body’s natural processes of fighting inflammation, making it one of turmeric’s greatest health benefits. In addition, it is potent and able to provide benefits that are comparable to or exceed that of synthetic alternatives (according to a 2014 Clinical Interventions in Aging article). Furthermore, turmeric root or its extract can be used topically or orally to fight inflammation inside and out. Powdered turmeric, when dissolved in water and applied with a compress to the site of swelling, can provide immediate and long-lasting improvement. If it is ingested orally in a powdered or compressed pill form, turmeric supplementation can also target inflammation in the cells, tissues, and muscles. naturally. A topical solution can also be applied to the site of muscle soreness, sprains, swelling, joint inflammation, and even general aches and pains! Best of all, these applications can be used as often as necessary to overcome the discomfort.
- Boosts Immunity
You probably know that your immune system is responsible for protecting the body from the development of illness and disease. Few people realize, however, that a significant portion of the immune system is directly related to the digestive system. Ridding the body of waste while retrieving and absorbing essential nutrients from whole foods, the digestive system disperses the essential elements of the diet throughout the body. With such importance being placed on nutrition for the body’s optimal health, it’s easy to see why the digestive system plays such an important role… making the quality of the diet consumed something that literally supports or degrades the body’s immunity.
Knowing that nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals support the body’s immune system, researchers started delving into specific natural foods and spices that are especially good at maintaining, protecting, and boosting immunity. Turmeric has proven to be one of the best foods for this purpose. It provides the body with antioxidants; it has anti-inflammatory properties; and antibacterial, and antimicrobial compounds (including curcumin). These benefits help support the digestive system’s ability to function at its best and also enhance the immune system’s protective capabilities. A simple addition of a small 1⁄2 teaspoon of turmeric to your daily diet can provide the body with these protective immunity-boosting benefits for greater health naturally.
- Balances Hormone Levels
Hormones are involved in every imaginable process that takes place in the brain and body. Coursing through the body with ease, these hormones are necessary to support life functions of all kinds. Digestion, muscle contraction, nervous system functioning, sleep, and mood can all be attributed to a specific interaction of hormones, and that’s why hormonal balance is so essential to the quality of health and well-being. Researchers know that lifestyle factors and diet definitely play a major role in the maintenance of hormonal production and balance, but there are times when genetics and mutations throw off hormonal balance. While many drugs attempt to restore hormone balance, the scientific and medical communities have begun looking into how natural alternatives such as turmeric may benefit hormone regulation without synthetics.
Turmeric is able to supply an ample amount of nutritive support to the body’s hormonal production processes.
+ Improves immunity by supplying phytonutrients
+ Cleanses the blood of toxins
+ Supports the health of organs involved in hormone production
One simple teaspoon per day of turmeric root is an easy, safe approach to promoting hormonal balance.
- Encourages Proper Digestion
One way that turmeric benefits the body is by aiding the digestive system. Your digestive system consists of multiple parts that work together to move and process the food you eat. From the saliva in the mouth (which starts the dissolution of food), to the muscle movements of the oesophagus (which pull food into the intestines), to the release of bile by the gallbladder (which breaks down food), digestion is an intricate process. Because there are so many organs and functions involved in digestion, the process can easily be disrupted, especially if you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to support those organs and their functions. The enzymes, acids, and excretions that are needed for digestion to be performed properly are only produced when adequate amounts of the nutrients they depend on are provided in the diet. Since most people find it difficult to adhere to a squeaky-clean diet of whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and grains to ensure maximum nutrient availability, you will be happy to discover that turmeric can help.
With turmeric’s assortment of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can deliver nutrition the digestive system needs to support enzymatic reactions, acid production, muscle movement, and optimal nutrient absorption. All of turmeric’s benefits combine to promote healthy digestion each and every day!
- Promotes Fat Loss
The body requires specific nutrients to perform each function involved in fat burning. These functions include:
+ Increasing metabolism (improving calorie burn)
+ Regulating blood sugar levels and minimizing insulin resistance
+ Regulating hormone production and levels (ensuring cortisol and other fat-retaining hormones are kept in check)
+ Improving the communication between the digestive system and the brain via neurotransmitters to ensure feelings of satiety are experienced appropriately
If you add turmeric to your daily diet, whether it’s a turmeric supplement that contains curcumin or powdered turmeric root, the essentials required for each of these processes are delivered to the proper organs via the bloodstream, thereby promoting the successful functioning of each system.
When each system is optimized, you’ll find that your:
+ Food is properly digested
+ Bile production is balanced
+ Energy levels are higher
+ Feelings of fullness come easier
+ Calorie-burn rates are higher
All of these benefits lead to increased fat burn, as verified in a Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry article in 2015! With turmeric’s blend of vitamins, minerals, and potent phytochemicals, the body’s natural processes involved in fat burning are supported and optimized. Turmeric tastes great in teas, smoothies, snacks, and meals, so it’s a very versatile and delicious ingredient that can maximize flavour and fuel fat burn. Therefore, if you’re hoping to lose fat without the pills, potions, and products that promise but don’t deliver, opt instead for the natural servings of turmeric and its associated health benefits that can help you lose fat fast and healthfully!
7 Manages Arthritic Discomfort
Arthritis is pain and inflammation that occurs within the joints. Millions of people suffer from this excruciating condition, seeking relief in physical therapies, medicine, and lifestyle changes. While many things can be done to minimize the pain of arthritis, such as receiving cortisone shots, following daily prescription medication regimens, and taking painkillers, the underlying cause of the inflammation is rarely targeted. All of those treatments still leave the arthritis sufferer with “flare-ups” that are aggravated further with synthetic pharmaceutical drug use which can wreak havoc on the body by interfering with normal functioning of the body’s systems. Mood swings interrupt sleep patterns, and heart complications are just a few of the commonly experienced side effects of pharmaceutical medications intended to treat joint problems. This is where the health benefits of turmeric come in. By opting for a turmeric regimen, an arthritis sufferer may experience improvements safely and naturally.
When to Be Careful with Turmeric: Side Effects
Turmeric is generally a very safe ingredient and supplement. However, talk with your doctor before beginning any routine that includes it. Here are some specific situations that require extra attention before using turmeric:
+ Eating turmeric in foods is safe during pregnancy, but turmeric supplements may not be.
+ Individuals with gallbladder problems might find that turmeric exacerbates this issue.
+ Turmeric might slow blood clotting. Therefore, individuals with bleeding problems or an upcoming surgery should be cautious.
+ Curcumin might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes.
+ High amounts of turmeric might affect iron absorption.
+ Turmeric might decrease testosterone levels and sperm movement, which could affect fertility.
+ High levels of turmeric might increase the production of stomach acid, which could be problematic for those with reflux or ulcers.