A Little Background on Turmeric
Many spices all around the world can have healing properties. Once consumed, they can provide numerous– even miraculous— health benefits. Because spices are usually formed from natural herbs, plants, and seeds, there is no question as to why they have been used in so many natural health remedies throughout the course of history.
Turmeric is a widely known spice that comes from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa. Curcuma longa is a plant that has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes in Indian and Asian cultures dating back nearly 4000 years. The use of turmeric has been practiced around the world and has evolved into a common herbal substance modernly utilized in many different ways. The spice can be incorporated by adding it to dishes; however, it is seen to be more beneficial in its supplemental form. The supplemental form contains larger amounts of curcumin versus its spice form, and curcumin is where most of turmeric’s benefits come from (more info on that below). Turmeric may even be used in the form of an extract for topical treatment.
How Turmeric Works
Turmeric is thought to have many therapeutic properties that increase energy levels, heal wounds, improve digestion, and decrease inflammation. Turmeric’s main active ingredient, curcumin, provides many benefits to the body and the brain. Curcumin gives turmeric its distinctive, bright yellow-orange color and is full of antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals and prevent damage to the cells. Studies show that ingesting ground turmeric with black pepper will activate curcumin properties, making it more beneficial to the body by increasing its bioavailability rate, thus making it easier to consume.
The daily intake of turmeric is shown to provide the body with many benefits. Since turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it acts as a strong immunity booster. Studies show it can even help in the prevention of cancers by inhibiting mutations, detoxifying carcinogens, and decreasing cell proliferation. This has been seen in specific data on colon, prostate, gastric, and breast cancers. Some evidence suggests that turmeric will not only be used as a preventative measure but may one day be used as a treatment for cancer.
Inflammation benefits include stimulating the function of bile, resulting in improving fat digestion. The anti-inflammatory properties that are found in consuming turmeric can help heal inflammatory digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and easily upset stomachs. It is also shown to have many prebiotic properties that lead to positive influences on gut health and the gut immune connection. Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fiber that feeds probiotics, usually resulting in improvements within the digestive and immune systems.
There are many benefits shown by using turmeric as a topical treatment in the form of an extract. It makes the skin more radiant and supple by improving elasticity, reducing redness, and preventing excess wrinkles. Further studies have shown many benefits to skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. There have been numerous findings on the positive impact that turmeric may have on the skin— resulting in many skincare companies including turmeric in their topical formulas.
The Bottom Line
Making turmeric a part of your everyday life may bring benefits to your health in many ways. There are numerous ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle, by using it in your cuisine, as a topical treatment, or by supplementation. Before deciding to use herbal supplements, consult with a trusted healthcare provider to discuss your health conditions or possible interference with prescription drugs.
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