Botanical Origins: Curcuma longa
Turmeric has a distinct flavor.
Turmeric is best known for reducing inflammation but can also help with brain function, antioxidants, and heart disease.
History and Traditional Uses for Turmeric
Turmeric is a rhizomatous plant in the ginger family. Turmeric is grown throughout the world but is native to India and Southeast Asia. The use of turmeric dates back over 4,000 years in the Vedic culture and then spread to other countries.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has medicinal properties. It is an effective anti-inflammatory, can help the brain produce more neurons, and even help lower the risk factors of heart disease.
Turmeric has been known for centuries to ease inflammation in the body. In 2011 researchers looked into the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis using turmeric. Participants consumed either turmeric or a placebo. Researchers concluded after four weeks that participants that had consumed turmeric vs. a placebo saw a significant decrease in inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Because turmeric is high in antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory, It helps fight oxidative stress and inflammation which, are precursors to heart disease. Studies indicate that the antioxidant property of curcumin can help cardiotoxicity as well as reduce cardiovascular complications from diabetes.
Researchers also discovered that curcumin reduces serum cholesterol in the blood, thus reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Turmeric is a powerhouse of health benefits and may even help reduce cancerous tumors and inhibit cancer cells from growing.
With its earthy flavor and aroma, turmeric is easy to incorporate into recipes. Its healing properties make it a potent spice. It may be one of the most popular spices in the world!
- Taty Anna1 , M.R. Elvy Suhana1 , S. Das , O. Faizah1 , A.H. Hamzaini Anti-inflammatory effect of Curcuma longa (turmeric) on collagen-induced arthritis: an anatomico-radiological study, Departments of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Radiodiagnosis, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, 2011.
Wongcharoen W, Phrommintikul A. The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases. Int J Cardiol. 2009 Apr 3;133(2):145-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2009.01.073. Epub 2009 Feb 23. PMID: 19233493.
Giordano, A., & Tommonaro, G. (2019). Curcumin and Cancer. Nutrients, 11(10), 2376. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102376