If you have ever eaten Indian food, I am sure you have encountered this colorful herb in your food. This herb is an extremely colorful root, and if you get it on your fingers, you will have an orange pigment stuck to your skin for days! Traditionally, besides using Turmeric in various cuisines in Asia, Turmeric has also been used as a coloring agent, due to its strong color.
In my practice I have commonly used turmeric to treat chronic ailments, particularly related to inflammatory conditions. Turmeric has lately undergone a lot of research, especially the healing constituent called curcumin, plus a range of healing antioxidants and nutrients.
Research has shown that Curcumin has a potent anti-inflammatory quality. Recent use to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis have shown remarkable effects, when used consequently over time. Also, I have seen great improvement on pulmonary inflammatory conditions upon taking turmeric for a period of time. In fact, in contrast to the NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen), while Curcumin doesn’t usually have as swift effect, the long term effect has proven as good (or in some cases even greater).
I would argue that the main effect of Turmeric is on the gut lining. We now know that between 70-80 percent of the immune system is located here in the gastrointestinal tract. Upon ingesting Turmeric, the anti-inflammatory qualities will therefore have a direct effect on lowering inflammation related to the gut lining. I would therefore advice those of you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive discomforts, to give Turmeric a shot.
Speaking of inflammation, I should also mention neurological inflammation. Recent evidence has linked the most common cause of dementia called Alzheimer’s Disease with the development of neurological inflammation. Due to Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory qualities, it has promising evidence in the treatment of dementia, and other neurological inflammatory conditions.
One main biological effect of Curcumin is how it mops up free radicals. These free radicals are created when we are exposed to chemical irritants, heavy metals, bacterial or viral infections to name a few. When these free radicals are gathered, they can cause havoc in the surrounding tissue. Therefore, supplementation of Turmeric in the diet can prove to be an important preventative measure in making sure you stay healthier, and have less free radicals roaming around in the body. This also explains why Turmeric is known to have a healing effect on the liver.
I would advise to first heat up turmeric before consuming it. This potentiates the effect of this herb. Also, there is evidence that show the importance of adding other herbs to turmeric, to have a symbiotic effect, and therefore a greater healing effect on the body. Adding piperine (from pepper) or tea (green/black) have shown a better absorption of the healing constituent Curcumin in the gut.
There are several ways you can ingest Turmeric. The most common turmeric extract have a 95% potency. You could also ingest Turmeric (Curcumin) capsules as a supplement. The clue nonetheless is to use Turmeric on a regular basis for its health rewarding effects.
One way to ingest turmeric is to have what in Ayurveda is called “Golden Milk”. We in the west have adopted another name, notably “Turmeric Latte”. So, a daily intake of Turmeric can do you a lot of good, both as a preventative measure, and also if you want to heal any inflammatory conditions. So Cheers!