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Turmeric is an extremely popular herb that is used in hundreds of recipes. It is most well-known for coloring rich Indian curry. This spice not only tastes great, but provides some powerful health advantages, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and skin and digestive benefits!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a common household spice that is sometimes referred to as the Golden Spice. It is derived from the Curcuma longa plant in India, which is part of the ginger family. It is the main spice used in curry dishes but it can be added to everyday foods and drinks. It can be mixed into smoothies and tea, or sprinkled on scrambled eggs and vegetables! This amazing spice has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years, and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer benefits! The components of the plant responsible for its healing benefits are the curcuminoids (curcumin) and volatile oil. Curcumin is responsible for most of the benefits of turmeric, However, it is more bioavailable in turmeric than it is alone. This is because the other components of turmeric make it more digestible so you can benefit more from the herb than pure curcumin!
Properties of Turmeric
Inflammation is a normal body response that occurs when tissues are damaged. The cells of damaged tissues release chemicals that cause swelling. This inflammation is characterized by dull pain, redness, and heat. Turmeric has been shown to decrease inflammation because of the curcumin component. A study found that turmeric was able to reduce the inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic inflammatory condition. They concluded that the curcumin may help to raise anti-inflammatory factors and lower pro-inflammatory factors.
Antioxidants exist in many different forms, including phytochemicals such as flavonoids and vitamins, including vitamins C and E. Curcumin is also a natural antioxidant because it has a chemical composition that indicates that it has free radical scavenging abilities. Antioxidants neutralize damaging molecules called free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress (damage) to cells. By stabilizing free radicals, antioxidants protect against damage to our DNA, cells, and tissues. A study found that turmeric powder was able to decrease oxidative stress in rats and that it had stronger anti-oxidant effects than ginger.
Body Benefits of Turmeric
Oral and topical treatments of turmeric have also been shown to help treat various skin conditions. This may be because inflammation is a response found in many skin conditions. A clinical trial found that topical and oral turmeric treatments were able to treat acne by reducing the number of acne lesions. They proposed that the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric were responsible. Another study found that a cream containing turmeric was able to help treat patients with atopic dermatitis, including reducing symptoms of redness, scaling, and itching. Other studies have also shown turmeric treatments improve pruritus, psoriasis, and radio-dermatitis. One study even showed that turmeric oil was able to inhibit fungi-induced ringworm episodes in guinea pigs!
Turmeric primarily targets the digestive tract when it is ingested. The anti-microbial effects may help to promote beneficial bacteria growth in the intestine, which can help reduce stomach discomfort. Turmeric may also help to relax smooth muscles and increase the secretion of stomach mucous which will help to promote digestion. Turmeric has also been shown to help reduce the severity of irritable bowel disease. Irritable bowel disease is a common chronic condition that is characterized by stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. It can be caused by gene variations. A study found that turmeric extract was able to help reduce inappropriate transportation of nutrient molecules by the cells that line the digestive tract. It may also help to decrease inflammation caused by inappropriate transportation of molecules.
For cancer prevention
One of the reasons that turmeric may be able to help prevent cancer is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Many cancers arise from environments of constant inflammation and therefore reducing inflammation may help reduce the development of cancerous cells. Turmeric has also been shown to help decrease the development of skin, breast, oral, and colon cancers. A study also found that turmeric inhibited cell division and induced cell death of cancerous cells in human leukemia.
This exotic and colorful spice may be worth incorporating into everyday meals or beauty regimes to reap some of these remarkable benefits!
To learn more about the benefits of turmeric, click on the articles below: