It is only relatively recently that the medicinal properties of turmeric have become known about widely in western society, but in Asian countries such as India, this has been common knowledge for thousands of years. In fact, this innocuous looking yellow powder has an essential role in India’s natural Ayurvedic medicine. If you would like to learn about Tumeric health benefits side effects and culinary uses, this article should provide you with useful.
To start with, it is interesting to know a little about the history of this incredible herb. Turmeric is actually a perennial shrub which is common in tropical regions of the Asian continent. It is a common ingredient in a lot of Indian cuisine, as well as being found in mustard. In Ayurveda, turmeric is thought of as a symbol that is associated with prosperity, it is considered a cleansing herb for the body. Also, it has been used by traditional practitioners of medicine as a treatment for infections, fever, arthritis, dysentery, and liver problems. It is not just in India that the herb has been used for millennia, traditional Chinese medicine also uses turmeric for a number of treatments.
Turmeric Health Benefits
If you are wondering how this simple herb can be so beneficial for health, the answer is because it contains an active ingredient known as curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful compound that has many therapeutic benefits, though also a pungent flavor and strong color. In various research studies, curcumin has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and stomach soothing effects.
One of the biggest turmeric health benefits is it’s anti inflammatory properties. It is believed that turmeric reduces inflammation in the body through the lowering of histamine levels, and it has been suggested that it stimulates adrenal glands to produce more of a hormone that can combat inflammation. It is this property which makes turmeric a good choice for people suffering from rheumatoid conditions that impact upon joints, such as arthritis.
As it harbors numerous antioxidants, curcumin can help to combat various systemic conditions. Antioxidants are often described as being disease-fighting compounds that can minimize free radical levels in the body. It is free radicals that can cause damage to various cells in the body, and are in fact partly responsible for certain cancers and premature aging.
Various trials have shown that turmeric is also beneficial for liver health. It is thought that curcumin protects the liver against damage from various toxins, for instance alcohol. In individuals with liver cirrhosis, turmeric can be an extremely useful medicine.
Another positive health effect of this yellow herb is its anti-platelet activity. It is known that by regularly taken turmeric, blood clots and thrombosis are kept at bay, this has a knock on effect on blood circulation, as well as reducing the chance of stroke and heart attack.
In today’s society, millions of people suffer from digestive ailments. Conditions such as IBS, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers are caused by a combination of poor diet and high stress levels. Curcumin helps the pancreas to produce more bile therefore helping in the digestive process. A diet of curry is far healthier than lots of junk food.
Numerous independent laboratory studies have indicated that turmeric has positive anti-cancer activity, and that it can directly destroy certain cancerous cells though, as yet, the actual process that is involved has not been ascertained. There is a lot of ongoing research into the possible usage of this herb as a treatment for leukemia. As the number of cancer victims is at epidemic levels, a lot of hope is resting on this common herb.
It is also possible to use this herb to treat various conditions of the skin such as psoriasis. Bathing in turmeric water is a practice that is prescribed to people with skin conditions in India on a regular basis, but it needs to be stated that this activity can give the skin a slightly yellow hue.
Turmeric Side Effects
Though the list of Turmeric health benefits is long, this does not mean that turmeric should be used excessively on a daily basis by everyone. It is important to be aware of potential side effects of curcumin before you start to increase your consumption of this herb. To start with, it has been claimed that prolonged use can lead to various gastrointestinal problems such as an upset stomach. This in part depends upon whether gastritis and ulcers have caused serious damage to the lining of the stomach. Also, it should be understood that not all turmeric is of the same quality.
There is no official recommended daily allowance relating to the consumption of turmeric as it has never been classified as an essential nutrient. Independent naturopaths have suggested that if used as a supplement, around 400 to 600 micrograms a day is the optimum amount. As is often the case, some independent experimentation should be used to find a suitable dosage.
It is suggested that people with extremely toxic livers, painful gallstones, heart disease, and obstructive jaundice should avoid the use of this herb. Also, women who are pregnant or breast feeding should discuss with their personal physician whether turmeric would be a suitable supplement to use. If using anti-clotting medication such as warfarin, curcumin may cause the blood to become too thin therefore it should be avoided.
Turmeric can be bought from supermarkets in a powder form or from health food stores as supplementary pills. The best option is to use the powder, it can be added to a variety of dishes so that it is absorbed fully.
Usually we think of this yellow herb as forming a part of Indian curries, after all the color is what gives such dishes their unique appearance. You can also use turmeric in western cooking, for instance when making an omelet or scrambled eggs. The flavor of turmeric is not unpleasant, in fact it works well with other spices and herbs.
At the end of the day, most herbs that are used in traditional cooking are included not just for taste, but also for their health giving properties. If you are constantly prone to illness, adding turmeric to your diet may give you a new lease of life.