I was born to a family of great believers in health supplements and herbal medicines. Don’t get me wrong, we still subscribe to scientific medicine, but my parents have always kept an open mind when it comes to supplements and herbal medicines. They, of course, seek their physician’s advice before making space for a new supplement in their cupboard.
So, it didn’t surprise me when they came to me one day, gushing over this new supplement they discovered. It came in this jar, in a yellow, powder form with a very distinct odor. My father introduced it as turmeric.
He immediately told me all about it and how he and his friends have started taking it and have felt stronger and better. My father is a stroke survivor and is a cardiomyopathy patient. His cardiologist does not stop him from taking supplements as long as he does not skip his maintenance medication. As my father went on and on about how awesome turmeric is, he mixed a concoction and made me taste it. I did not like it. But, seeing as how eager and sincere his thoughts were about it, I decided to humor him and research about his new wonder “drug”.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric or Curcuma longa, is a plant that belongs to the same botanical family as ginger. It is also dubbed as Indian saffron or the golden spice. It is native to South Asia, but can also be found in a few other warm, humid countries.
Turmeric has a vibrant yellowish hue to curry dishes and can also be used as a natural dyeing agent for cloth. Curcuminoids are the main phytochemicals that give turmeric its most impressive and wide-ranging health benefits. In fact, over 9,000 medical and clinical research studies have shown that turmeric and curcumin yielded a wealth of positive information and results.
There are three main phytochemicals in the curcuminoid family that are responsible for turmeric’s health benefits: diferuloylmethane (or curcumin, the primary curcuminoid responsible for turmeric’s vibrant yellowish color), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. In addition to these three chemicals, turmerone is a potent volatile oil found in the root.
Like me, when most people hear turmeric, they immediately think “curry spice” and believe that it is spicy. Did you know that turmeric only gives the signature, yellow color and unique flavor, but it is not spicy at all? Turmeric is actually added to mustards, pickles and relish, both of which are not spicy, but flavorful. Turmeric is also used as a substitute for saffron.
What Are the Benefits of Turmeric?
- Eases Aches and Discomfort
If you’re like me who’s prone to little headaches, or some knee discomfort after working out, then turmeric is for you. This benefit is more noticeable on joint stiffness. It has been found by some studies that turmeric is also good for wound healing, burn pains, post-operative pains, inflammation-induced arthritic pain, neuropathic pain caused by constriction injury, orofacial pain, and sciatic nerve pain. With this benefit, turmeric is definitely on the shortlist of potent natural painkillers.
- Promotes Detoxification
Everyone is exposed to environmental and dietary toxins known as xenobiotics. These chemical substances and not generally present in the human body and are often linked to increased amounts of inflammation and higher risk of cancer. When we consume turmeric and its active compound, curcumin, it helps our liver efficiently detoxify the body and alleviate some of the effects of dangerous carcinogens.
- Improves Skin Health
Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are great for treating multiple skin conditions. It also improves the glow and luster of the skin, speeds up wound healing, calms the pores to decrease acne and acne scarring, and controls psoriasis flares. Just bear in mind that turmeric can stain the skin and cause an allergic reaction, so it is best to do a patch test first.
- Fights Obesity
Curcumin helps reduce the growth of fat cells as many lab results have shown. The researchers found that the anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin were effective in suppressing the inflammatory processes of obesity, leading to the reduction of obesity and its adverse effects.
These are just the top four benefits I have found most interesting, especially to those who are on their fitness journey like I am.
However, if (like me) you cannot stand drinking turmeric as a tea or concoction, I have good news for you! Nutra Botanics has come up with CURQLIFE, their very own turmeric supplement in easy-to-swallow softgels. Check it out here.