Turmeric is a ginger-like, herbaceous plant of Asian origin, being cultivated in India, southern China, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Africa. It is used in Indian cuisine as a spice, with a bitter, aromatic flavor. The root is also used for therapeutic purposes.
Turmeric benefits and properties
Turmeric is a herbaceous plant of Asian origin, related to ginger. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, it has a hard brown shell and an intense orange core. It is used as a spice for various meals, with a delicate flavor and a relatively neutral taste. Its smell is not as pungent as ginger’s and very subtle.
Turmeric is a very effective natural nutritional supplement with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is particularly useful in the natural treatment of arthritis. If you can’t find time to cook every day, it can be administered very conveniently as tablets.
Turmeric is also known as “Indian saffron” due to its intense yellow-orange color. It has been used over time as a spice, healing remedy, but also as a good dye. Turmeric is best known among the ingredients used to make curry, but it is also the one that gives the bright yellow color of mustard. Turmeric originates in Indonesia and southern India, where it has been grown for more than 5,000 years.
Turmeric (turmeric) has long been used by the Chinese and Indians as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual pain, blood urine, hemorrhage, toothache, contusions, chest pain and colic.
Turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium.
The turmeric root contains: volatile oils, sesquiterpene (alpha and beta turmerone, alpha-curcumene, zincziberen), monoterpenes, a yellowish color called curcumin, mineral salts, water soluble peptides (peptide turmeric) and polysaccharides.
Turmeric has collagogenic action, stimulates the release of the bile, increases the ability of the liver to eliminate toxins, antimutagenic action, anti cancerogenic action, inhibits the development of cancerous tumors and metastases (breast, stomach, colon, lung, skin) anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, improves circulation, antiatherosclerotic, platelet antiaggregant, prevents vascular thrombus formation, prevents infarction, purifies blood, reduces cholesterol, prevents Alzheimer’s disease and its effects by dissolving microplates forms between brain neurons, increases the mobility of joints, tendons, reduces swelling, fever, calms cough, sore throat, soothes bronchial secretions, hemostatic action, healing.
Ground to powder – half a teaspoon three times a day mixed with fruit juice (carrot, apple, oranges, grapes) or vegetables.
Infusion from the root – made from a teaspoon of root to a cup of water, you can eat 2 cups a day.
Tincture – administer 15-20 drops a day.
Turmeric herbal preparations or spice intake are indicated for circulatory disorders, haematomas, luxations, contusions, muscle fever, hepatobiliary diseases, flatulence, jaundice, bleeding, ulcerative haemorrhage, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis , respiratory infections, cancer, rheumatic diseases.
Research shows that volatile oil in turmeric has an anti-inflammatory role. But even more powerful than volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin.
In many studies, the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin have been shown to be comparable to those of powerful drugs such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, as well as anti-inflammatory substances that are given only on prescription, such as motrin . Unlike drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulceration, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin is not toxic.
Although (short-term) acute inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term) and acts against its own tissues. Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor to many common diseases. Curcumin can inhibit many molecules that cause inflammation.
Remedy for rheumatoid arthritis
Clinical studies have highlighted the fact that turmeric has very strong antioxidant effects. Being antioxidant, turmeric can neutralize free radicals (chemicals that can circulate through the body and that seriously affect healthy cells and cell membranes).
That’s why turmeric turmeric is recommended in many diseases, especially arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for painful joint inflammation and possible damage. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in turmeric explains why many people with rheumatoid arthritis relieve pain when using spice frequently.
In a recent study of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shorter periods of stiffness in the morning, prolonging walking time and reducing swelling of the joints.
Turmeric can prevent cholesterol oxidation. Oxidized cholesterol damages blood vessels and accumulates in the arteries, often causing heart attack or strokes. Preventing it can help slow down atherosclerosis and heart disease caused by diabetes. In addition, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6, which prevents the increase in homocysteine levels. Homocysteine, an intermediate product of an important cellular process called methylation, is directly responsible for damaging the walls of the blood vessels. High levels of homocysteine are considered an important risk factor in the deterioration of blood vessels, in the formation of atheromatous plaques and in the onset of heart disease. A high intake of vitamin B6 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, in which 10 healthy volunteers consumed 500 mg of turmeric daily for 7 days, it was noted that not only the oxidized cholesterol level in the blood decreased by 33%, but also total cholesterol decreased by 11.63%, while HDL (good cholesterol) of participants in the experiment increased by 29%! (Soni KB, Kuttan R).
Help your liver increase its ability to remove LDL cholesterol by using turmeric (curcuma) for delicious fish, meat, lentils or curry rice pilafs, but also for condimenting onions, potatoes or cauliflower or as a main flavor for soup vegetable cream. Serve with lettuce, bell pepper and broccoli. Make sure you use turmeric, not ready-made curry mixes. Recent studies indicate that turmeric (and therefore curcumin) is used in minimal amount in curry mixtures.
Protects those predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease
There is increasing evidence to suggest that turmeric provides protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies show that among Indian elderly people who frequently use turmeric such as spice, the incidence of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s is very low.
Research conducted at UCLA, whose results were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (December 2004), was confirmed by other studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (April 2006) and provides a new insight into the mechanisms behind protective effects of turmeric against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease occurs when a protein fragment called amyloid-B accumulates in brain cells. Oxidative stress and inflammation occur as well as plaque formation between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, thus disrupting the normal functioning of the brain. Amyloid is a general term for protein fragments that the body normally produces. Amyloid-B is a protein fragment delineated from another protein called the amyloid precursor protein (APP). In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer’s disease, fragments accumulate, forming heavy, insoluble plaques between brain cells.
The UCLA researchers first conducted a tube test where turmeric has been shown to inhibit aggregation of the amyloid-B protein and to dissolve it more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Moreover, the researchers found that turmeric crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to the small species of amyloid-B. Once coupled to turmeric, amyloid-B protein fragments can no longer solidify to form plaques. Turmeric not only binds the amyloid-B protein, but also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, providing additional protection for brain cells.
Consuming turmeric – recipes and recommendations
- Add turmeric to mashed potatoes to achieve a bold yellow color
- Adding turmeric to milk won’t not change the taste too much.
- Mix brown rice with raisins and caju and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
- Although turmeric is generally a basic ingredient in curry powder, there are people who want to add a little more of it when preparing curry.
- Turmeric should not be used only in curry. This spice is delicious and healthy for sausages, steamed steamed cauliflower and green beans or Mexican vegetables.
- For a rich, low-calorie flavor, try mixing turmeric and dehydrated onion with a little mayonnaise rich in omega-3 and salt and pepper. Serve with raw cauliflower, celery, sweet pepper and broccoli.
- Turmeric is a great spice that can be used to add an extra flavor of lentils recipes or croutons to cream soup.
- Give the salad dressing a yellow-orange shade by adding some turmeric powder.
- Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the blood and therefore we also need to eat black pepper because it contains piperine, a natural substance that improves curcumin absorption by 2000%. If you can not consume cooked dishes with black and turmeric pepper, but you still want a natural anti-inflammatory treatment, then you can swallow whole pepper whole grains along with a nutritional supplement based on turmeric (curcuma).
You can buy turmeric either in the form of powder or as capsules.
10 new uses of turmeric:
- Turmeric gets rid of acne
Mix 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera juice with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. Apply this paste to affected areas, let it work for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off. Repeat this procedure 2-3 times a week.
- Turmeric whitens teeth
Dip the toothbrush in olive oil, then use turmeric powder. Wash your teeth with this mixture for 3 minutes, then rinse well. Repeat this trick 2-3 times a week.
- Turmeric strengthens hair
A mask made from 50 milliliters of vegetable oil mixed with 1 spoon of turmeric is applied to the roots of the hair and left to act for 30 minutes. Rinse afterwards. It is recommended to apply it 2-3 times a month to get results.
- Turmeric relieves joint pain
Make a paste by mixing 1 teaspoon of turmeric with 1 spoonful of honey and 2-3 garlic cloves. Then apply the paste to the painful area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every day for two weeks.
- Turmeric helps you lose weight
Mix a glass of milk with half a teaspoon of turmeric to obtain a drink that has the role of accelerating metabolism and reducing appetite. It is recommended to have a glass in the morning and one in the evening.
- Turmeric helps in healing wounds and burns
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric with 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder and a little water. Apply the paste to a surface wound followed by a patch.
- Turmeric gives your skin an attractive glow
Make a mask by mixing 1 teaspoon of turmeric with 1 teaspoon of milk and 1 teaspoon of honey. After a steam bath – hot water bowl mixed with essential oils, apply this paste to your skin and neck, letting it work for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and repeat the treatment once every two days for one month.
- Turmeric has an anticancer effect
Use as often as possible this dressing: 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric mix with 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a little freshly ground black pepper. You can add a little lemon juice to make a perfect dressing for any salad. Green tea drank afterwards amplifies the effect.
- Turmeric strengthens immunity
Mix 1/3 cup of turmeric and 2/3 cup of water in a saucepan, leaving the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. After cooling, pour the mixture into a hermetically sealed jar and store it in the refrigerator. Use 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture daily in a glass of warm milk, and optionally add a little honey.
- Turmeric relieves sore throat
Mix a glass of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Gargle three times a day with this mixture to reduce inflammation and sore throat.
A very simply recipe using turmeric
Now that you know what turmeric is, if you do not want to use it for food, but you want to enjoy its benefits, you can consume it as it is in the famous golden milk. The recipe for so-called golden milk is a simple one and involves 2 steps, if you choose a product that contains only turmeric (no other spices in the composition).
The first step concerns the preparation of the turmeric paste:
- half a cup of water;
- 1/4 cup of turmeric powder;
- half a teaspoon of pepper (ground)
All of the ingredients mentioned are mixed in a container placed on a heater set to medium, until a paste is obtained. This can be stored in a refrigerator in a sealed jar, but not more than 3 weeks.
Add pepper because it contributes to a better intake of curcumin in the body, increasing the absorption rate of this substance.
Once the paste is ready, you can mix a teaspoon of it with warm cow’s, almond, coconut or soy milk, a teaspoon of coconut oil, and honey for a better taste. Once the golden milk is ready, enjoy it in the evenings, the day of the day when drinking is recommended.
Precautions and contraindications
Used in large quantities, turmeric root can cause gastric irritation, and in areas where it is traditionally used to spice foods, the incidence of gastric ulcer is much more common.
People undergoing anticoagulation therapy should use caution and seek the doctor’s advice.
Turmeric is considered safe when used in culinary preparations. Turmeric and curcumin-based food supplements are considered safe when complying with the warning on the labels. However, administration of high doses over long periods may cause digestive disturbances and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People with gallbladder stones or biliary obstruction should seek medical advice before using Indian saffron products.
It is also recommended that people with diabetes contact their doctor before using turmeric supplements. Turmeric may reduce blood sugar. Administered at the same time as diabetes medicines, turmeric can lead to hypoglycaemia.
Although turmeric foods are considered safe, pregnant and lactating women should not use turmeric supplements.
Because Indian safflower can cause blood thinning, administration should be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. Tell your doctor or surgeon if you have used turmeric supplements.