Since 2000 B.C., the spice turmeric has remained one of the most used and popular spices in Asian cuisine. Also known as Curcuma longa, it is an ancient spice with a long history in the practice of traditional healing or Ayurveda in India. It is a plant with a vibrant yellow colour and is also used as an agent to dye cloth.
The main phytochemical that gives turmeric its impressive medical reputation is curcuminoid. This compound has received over 9000 clinical research and medical studies worldwide. Because of its reputation as being an effective remedy back in the old days, scientists are evaluating how much more benefits and positive effects turmeric can yield.
It has been found that there are three main phytochemicals found in turmeric curcumin. They are diferuloylmethane, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. In addition to these agents, turmerone (the phytochemical in turmeric studied in many cancer research today) is another potent volatile oil that can be extracted from its root.
It was also discovered that there are 160 pathways and mechanisms in the body that curcuminoids can support and communicate with. This wide range of processes includes tissue health, cardiovascular health, brain health and many more. Because of its versatility, curcumin is not just a famous spice, it has also taken over the shelves of many health and food stores, selling it in tea bags, as capsules, facemasks, paste, health drink, among others.
To explain further why turmeric is a spice you should always include in your diet, here are some of the well-researched benefits of turmeric curcumin.
Heals Skin Wounds and Cuts
This is perhaps the oldest use of the turmeric paste. A 2014 study published in the September issue of Life Sciences stated that turmeric, particularly its potent compound curcumin has the characteristics to accelerate the healing process of cuts and wounds. It also helps soothe skin irritation and oxidation.
Alleviates Pain and Discomfort
A study of how turmeric eases knee pain and discomfort from arthritis was published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging. This study showed impressive results for how turmeric helped patients experience pain relief and how its effects are on par with conventional pain medications. In fact, those who took curcumin reported to have more relief from joint stiffness and they seem to be in a better mood than their counterpart. It was also mentioned that those who took curcumin had lesser side effects than the patients who used the conventional option.
Another study of turmeric supplementation on postoperative patients was published in the Surgical Endoscopy December 2011 issue. It was found that patients who took turmeric had less discomfort and fatigue compared to the placebo group.
Balances and Promotes A Better Mood
The Journal of Affective Disorders reported that turmeric showed promising results in supporting and balancing the mood when a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study was done on two groups of patients. In this study the first group had daily curcumin supplementation while the other group took placebos. After 8 weeks of observation, it was proven that turmeric does help in promoting a better mood based on the anxiety and mood tests completed by the patients.
Soothes Irritated Skin
Turmeric is also an ancient beauty scrub used in countries like India and Thailand. In India, turmeric body scrub is applied on brides days before their wedding to give them a more glowing skin. Apart from that, turmeric also helps soothe irritation caused by bug bites, allergies and toxins. This is the reason turmeric is the main ingredient of some special Ayurvedic formulas such as ubtan body scrub. Turmeric is also uses in Mukha lepam, an Ayurvedic facial intended for skin whitening purpose.
Since turmeric has been known to have anti-inflammatory effects, this immediately addresses internal and external inflammation problems. According to the 2007 issue of Advances of Experimental Medicine, the soothing effect of turmeric is due to its ability to suppress irritation-causing enzymes like cytokines.
Encourages Normal Cholesterol Levels
The ability of turmeric to encourage normal cholesterol levels has been hypothesized and studied in the early 90’s. More recent studies have found that turmeric curcumin does have a positive effect in normalizing cholesterol levels.
A November 2011 issue of Phytotherapy Research published a study on the investigation of turmeric’s effects on lipid levels. Three groups were studied, a controlled group which was given Vitamin E supplementation, another group with low doses of turmeric and a third group received large doses of turmeric.
The study stated that the low dose of turmeric showed the most favorable effects in balancing the lipid profiles in the body. This work also proved that turmeric is safe with consistent use and has a low risk in side effects.
Loosens Stiff Joints
One of the issues with older adults is stiff joints. Even with a good diet and an active lifestyle, knee problems are always associated with old age. According to an article published in the November 2012 issue of Phytotherapy Research, a study was conducted to determine how turmeric can be effective in alleviating joint discomfort.
Two groups were studied, one group had the standard care medication while the other received turmeric. The symptoms of the patients were assessed and it was found that turmeric had outperformed the standard care medication based on the symptom score sheets of the patients.
Helps Prevent Diabetes
The Journal of Endocrinology (November 2014 Issue) published a novel investigative study about the effects of turmeric on Beta cells (B-cells) and islet cells – the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. According to the study, turmeric showed positive effects on the sensitivity of the islet cells and B-cells in controlling blood sugar levels.
There are many ways to include turmeric in your life routine. You can drink it as a tea, use turmeric curcumin supplements, add turmeric powder in your food, and mix it with castor or coconut oil for skin and other beauty regimens.
There are numerous related products found in the market nowadays. But due to its popularity, there are low-quality products sold under questionable circumstances. So if you are looking for a quality product, make sure it is made in the US and read more reviews from customers on merchant’s websites.
Katrina Rice is a mom and a freelance writer. She strongly believes in the concept of holistic wellness through healthy and natural living, traveling and immersing one’s self in new activities. A self-proclaimed health enthusiast, she hopes to inspire more people to do the same.Top 7 Reasons Why Turmeric is The Ultimate Spice You NeedMay 3, 2017October 12, 2017