Turmeric is the spice used in curry powder, and it’s the ingredient that gives curry its yellow color. It’s been used for centuries as part of Ayurvedic Medicine, originating in India.
Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine, practiced in India initially, but has now gained popularity in many parts of the world. There are many health benefits of using turmeric, we’ll go over those in more detail, in this article.
Starting with the basics, turmeric belongs to the Ginger family, and has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation in the body. How? Well, it reduces swelling in the affected area, thanks to the chemicals that can be found in this spice.
One of these chemicals is called Curcumin, and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of arthritis in some people. People use turmeric for the following conditions:
- Heartburn (dyspepsia),
- Stomach pain,
- Intestinal gas, Stomach bloating, Loss of appetite,
- Jaundice, Liver problems,
- Gallbladder disorders,
- Bronchitis, Colds, and Lung Infections,
- Menstrual problems,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Water retention,
In spite of all the numerous uses of turmeric in Ayurvedic Medicine, and the benefits of using this spice, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has found turmeric to only be “Possibly Effective” in treating stomach upset/indigestion, and osteoarthritis.
Daily consumption of turmeric has been shown to improve stomach upset and in some cases, dyspeptic symptoms (commonly known as indigestion). Some studies have shown that consuming turmeric extracts can reduce pain in patients with osteoarthritis in the knees, and other studies even indicated that turmeric can be as effective as Ibuprofen in pain reduction properties.
However, please be careful when taking turmeric as a medicine for any of the diseases above, especially if you’re pregnant and / or breastfeeding, have
Gall bladder or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). In some cases, turmeric could worsen the symptoms. Turmeric also impacts the time in which blood clots, slowing it down. This could increase the risk of bleeding, and make it more difficult to stop bleeding. This is why you should make sure to stop taking any turmeric supplements at least 2 weeks before you have any form of surgery scheduled.
If you’d like to use more turmeric in your kitchen, a good way to start is adding it to rice. It will give it a lovely yellow color that you often see in Biryani dishes as well as a nice aroma, especially when used together with coriander and cumin.
You can use turmeric in stews, soups and main dishes, I invite you to experiment and see what works best for you and your family. Start off adding just a little to your cooking, and increase the amount as you go along, to adjust the flavors and tastes of your meals.
Watch the video below, from Dr. John Douillard, a well known Ayurvedic expert, who talks about the benefits of turmeric and the best way to use it for maximum health benefit.
He’s going to explain how turmeric can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and talk about its anti-inflammatory properties. He’ll also give you advice on how to consume the spice in its natural form, and how to increase turmeric absorption into your body by up to 2,000%.
In India, turmeric on its own, as well as curry powder (which includes black pepper) is a traditional spice, and the average Indian consumes up to 2.5 grams of it on a daily basis. It’s been speculated that this is the reason why India has one of the lowest rates of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer, compared to other countries.
For more information on this topic you can check my list of references below.
Would love to hear your comments and how you are using turmeric in your kitchen and home.