Turmeric, known as the ‘wonder spice’ has exploded onto the superfood scene in recent years, but what’s the big deal about this vibrant yellow-orange root? Also named curcuma longa, this rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant forms part of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family and has been used as far back as 2000 BC in India and Asia. Popularly used in religious ceremonies and as a clothing dye due its spectacularly bright colour.
The phytochemicals found in turmeric that are responsible for its wide range of health benefits are called curcuminoids. Plentiful medical research and clinical trials have found that curcumin has a huge number of beneficial health effects via as much as 160 mechanisms and pathways in the body; such as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, antioxidant, immune boosting, and hepatoprotective and liver detoxifier.
Its quite unbelievable that just one root can have so many marvellous healing powers. Here are some of them:
Widely studied and proven to be hepatoprotective and a liver detoxifier. It also reduces hepatitis infection and aids in detoxifying carcinogens. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, curcumin stimulates the production of bile by the gallbladder. The liver uses bile to eliminate toxins; bile also rejuvenates liver cells that breakdown harmful compounds. It has thus been used for centuries to cleanse and rejuvenate the liver.
Supports natural healing process
Turmeric speeds up the healing of wounds and the body’s natural healing process.
Improves and stabilizes mood
Numerous studies have found beneficial effects when treating anxiety and depression with turmeric. After many positive clinical trials, well known practitioner brands such as Metagenics, have included curcumin in their latest mood balancing and anti-depression supplements such as ‘Inflamood.’
Soothes and regulates digestion
The Indian culture has used turmeric to flavour traditional dishes for centuries. However, flavour is not the only reason, it is fantastic in aiding digestion as well as has powerful anti-ulcer effects.
Being a great anti-oxidant, it fights free radicals and oxidative damage. In turn leaving us with healthier bodies, younger skin and reduces the effects of aging. Many women believe that turmeric is the secret to lasting beauty and longevity!
Regulates blood sugar levels
Recent studies done by the Clinical Nutrition Research centre in Singapore found that turmeric helps regulate blood sugar levels and has anti-diabetic effects.
Pain reducing properties
Massy University (New Zealand) recently concluded in a study that turmeric displays pain reducing effects, and was found very helpful in relieving joint pain brought on by exercise. Being a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a much safer and healthier long term treatment for pain than anti-inflammatory drugs which can have detrimental effects on the kidneys, especially over a long period of time.
Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine on the skin to treat bacterial infections, it has been proven today to be an effective antimicrobial. Trials have shown it to inhibit foodborne bacteria’s and well as inhibit growth of Helicobacter pylori.
Supports Arthritis symptoms
Remarkable anti-inflammatory properties leading it to be extremely beneficial in reducing arthritis pain and stiffness.
As inflammation is closely linked to tumour growth, curcumin is anticipated to exert chemoprotective effects on carcinogenesis, due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects. It is also beneficial in fighting breast cancer, cervical, oral cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer.
Don’t forget about Alzheimers disease
Although it is not yet a proven treatment for this degenerative disease, curcumin has shown to break down amyloid-beta plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease) in lab-based (in vitro) studies. It is also widely known that Alzheimers cases in India are some of the lowest in the world, and many believe this to be due to the high amounts of turmeric in the diet.
Turmerone, a potent volatile oil found in the root, has shown to stimulate stem cells to create new brain cells in animal studies. These studies are still in their early days, and are proving to provide a great new hope for Alzheimers and dementia treatments in the future.
When considering the ridiculously huge amount of beneficial health effects of this brightly coloured root, it’s no wonder everyone is going ga-ga over this spectacular medicine from mother earth. It’s wide array of medicinal properties are proving to have a life changing, or even world changing effect!