13 Turmeric health benefits and medicinal properties
December 23, 2018
Although it is mainly known for its use as a spice in traditional Asian cuisine, turmeric health benefits and properties, are just as important; For example, it is said to be a natural anti-inflammatory and useful in aiding weight loss.
In recent years the scientific research around turmeric has intensified, but in terms of turmerics health benefits, it’s still relatively early days from the western worlds perspective.
If you’re looking to star using turmeric for its medicinal properties, then you have come to right place. Here, I’ll delve deeper into the medicinal and cosmetic advantages of this wonderful golden spice.
What is turmeric? What is it used for?
The Curcuma longa is a plant of the Zingiberaceae family , which also includes ginger and cardamom. The extract of the root (or rhizome) of turmeric can be used for both gastronomy and for natural medicine.
The name turmeric was derived from “Kurkum” which means “saffron” in the classical Arabic language. This name is due to the fact that, like saffron, this spice has an intense yellow color and is frequently used as a coloring and seasoning for foods such as rice, meat, sauces or soups. It is also a common component of many curry.
To take advantage of turmerics health benefits and properties, it’s typical to consume it as a tea, although in recent years the extract has been commercialized into the form of capsules. So, for those who don’t relish the idea of downing a spoonful of turmeric, the capsules may be a better option.
Due to its supposed healing properties, turmeric has been used since ancient times in South Asia, where the plant originates from. Both medicine from India and traditional Chinese medicine use turmeric in numerous natural remedies.
Benefits and healing properties of curcumin
There has been some scientific research that suggest that turmeric has various healing properties. However, a lot of these studies have been equally contradicted by experts. So in essence, there is no singular conclusive evidence of the health benefits of turmeric.
That being said, a spice that has been used for as long as this one for its medicinal properties is certainly worth looking into, and trying for yourself.
In the studies that have found benefits in taking turmeric, many of these potential benefits have been attributed to curcumin, one of the chemical components of turmeric.
1. Weight loss and turmeric
There has been some research that indicates that if used as a condiment, turmeric could contribute to weight loss. This happens by turmeric inhibiting the growth of fatty tissue and hindering lipogenesis, which is the conversion of sugars into fatty acids.
The jury is still out on whether turmeric helps with weight loss, this is because scientific evidence is still inconclusive. However, on a personal level I have noticed that when I drink turmeric tea, my belly does appear to get noticeably slimmer. Does that mean it will work for you, I can’t say, but it certainly does no harm to try it.
2. Turmeric for skin
Chances are that even if you haven’t heard of turmeric as a medicinal aid, you may have come across some mention of turmeric for skin conditions.
Among the positive skin properties turmeric exhibits are:
Reduction of wrinkles and inflammation of the face
The improvement of oily skin
The inhibition of the growth of facial hair
The prevention of acne produced by bacteria and viruses
The exfoliation of the skin and the elimination of dandruff.
3. Turmeric for digestion
While turmeric has been added to foods for years due to its intense savoriness, it has also played a role in digestion. This is due to turmerics high antioxidants and it’s anti-inflammatory nature, which helps in (to put it bluntly) moving things along, along with reducing flatulence.
Now western medicine has started to look further into this benefit of turmeric, in the hope that it will help millions of people who suffer from gut permeability and gut inflammation. It is these two factors that determine your gut health.
Turmeric is said to help digestion, particularly high-fat foods, relieving gas, bloating or heartburn. It is also said to be useful for treating digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and dyspepsia, consisting of discomfort in the upper belly area after meals.
4. Turmeric prevents the reappearance of ulcerative colitis.
Research that was published in the journal Food & Function in 2012 has eluded to curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, reducing the inflammation of ulcerative colitis. These findings were limited since they were based on animal studies and only small observational studies on humans.
However other studies claim that turmeric is not beneficial for stomach ulcers due to it increasing stomach acid and potentially aggravating existing symptoms.
For a simple way to take turmeric, add it to soups, stews, chicken dishes, vegetables, or rice.
5. Reduces arthritis pain
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help control the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric is used to reduce pain, inflammation and joint stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
6. Improves the function of the immune system
Whjen it comes to diseases and viruses, immunity is your body’s natural defense. With a strong immunity, it can really reduce the chances of you getting ill.
Nutritionists and health experts often focus on the importance of having a good immune system. It’s the pinnacle of of good health – It fights coughs, colds, and chest congestion, stopping more aggressive diseases and ailments from taking hold.
Research published in the journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science), states that curcumin, within turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that helps boost immunity.
7. Protect the heart
Heart disease is incredibly complex, since there are so many things that can contribute to it. However, Curcumin could potentially reverse many steps in the heart disease process (a).
So what tends to cause heart disease? It has been known for years that endothelial dysfunction is a major instigator of heart disease. When this does not function, it creates an inability for your endothelium (a lining within your blood vessels) to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and other factors.
A major benefit of curcumin concerning heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium. One study found that it to be as effective as exercise, while another shows it to work as well as the drug Atorvastatin (b, c).
Along with this, curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation, which plays a major role in heart disease.
8. Help prevent cancer
If true, the antioxidant properties of curcumin and other constituents of turmeric would protect the cells, which has sometimes been linked to a reduced risk of some types of cancer, particularly of the breast, prostate, colon, duodenum and skin.
As for the treatment of cancer, this effect would not replace pharmacological therapy in any case but, in any case, could be used as a complement. Turmeric may also be effective in alleviating the adverse effects of cancer medications and chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.
9. Prevents neurodegenerative diseases
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties attributed to turmeric could be beneficial in preventing and reducing the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s dementia and multiple sclerosis.
10. It is beneficial for the liver
The medicinal properties of curcumin would also be related to the protection of liver diseases. Among these are fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis or gallbladder problems.
11. Improves breathing
It has been said that turmeric expands blood vessels, so it has been used by Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma and bronchitis, as well as the common cold and cough.
12.Is a natural antidepressant
Although it is not clear how this effect occurs, studies with mice show that turmeric regulates the levels of neurotransmitters involved in depression (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine).
This property is very similar to that of antidepressant drugs and it has even been suggested that turmeric may be more useful than some of them, although the data currently available does not allow us to confirm it in any way.
13. Regulates the menstrual cycle
Turmeric is attributed various healing properties related to menstruation . In addition to helping to normalize irregular cycles and the level of hormones, it would increase the flow and reduce pain, such as that which occurs in premenstrual syndrome.
How to take turmeric?
Turmeric tea is the most popular way to take it, beyond the recipes that contain it. In these cases turmeric powder is used as an ingredient to prepare an infusion and can be combined with ginger or other ingredients.
Some people consume this “healing remedy” in the form of a capsule. However, with the exception of certain places, it is not a very common mode of administration.
On the other hand there are numerous recipes with turmeric as a key ingredient , for example certain sauces. In addition, as we have said, turmeric is one of the main spices of curry, and in recent years turmeric latte and other preparations have also become very popular.