Turmeric comes from the root of a plant called Curcuma longa in the ginger family. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a medicinal herb and a spice. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It is also the main ingredient in curry powder. But even though turmeric is a popular kitchen staple, it has also made its way into the world of science and medicine. Keep reading to learn about the potential health benefits of turmeric.
The Importance of Turmeric
Turmeric interests the medical and scientific world because of its vast potential health benefits and because it is the major source of the polyphenol (antioxidant) known as curcumin. Turmeric’s antioxidant properties help in the management of inflammation, pain, and many other health challenges.
Turmeric also helps in the management of exercise-induced muscle soreness and helps in fast recovery and performance of inactive people. It helps to protect, maintain, and support the immune system because of its natural antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Turmeric may also help to ease chronic pain, but it is mostly used as a pain reliever for arthritis (chronic inflammation of the joints) in particular.
Other potential health benefits of turmeric include protecting the liver from toxins and promoting a healthy response to internal challenges. As a supplement, it has been used to support normal digestive, liver healthy, breast milk production, and respiratory health. Turmeric may also help delay aging and fight age-related diseases.
Try Turmeric for Yourself
Turmeric is considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin, but it may cause a yellow stain from the curcumin itself, so be careful using it topically. Curcumin and other bioactive compounds in turmeric help fight off free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can hurt your DNA and cause premature aging or skin damage.
In addition, many people also mix turmeric with water or milk to ease an upset stomach or a sore throat. On the up side, it passes through the body quickly, but if you use it too much, you might have an upset stomach.
When you are on medications, avoid taking turmeric so that you do not experience possible complications in your health. Or talk to your doctor first to see if it is right for you.
If you’d like to try turmeric for yourself, you can get it in a variety of forms – raw turmeric root that you can blend in smoothies, turmeric powders that you can use for cooking or baking, or turmeric supplements that may help various health issues.