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Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its characteristic golden yellow colour, but did you know that it is also nutritionally rich, and a traditional anti-inflammatory?  Read on to find out more about the health benefits of turmeric.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has tough brown skin and deep yellow-orange flesh.  It has been used for centuries in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as a strong anti-inflammatory to treat a wide range of conditions including, but not limited to, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, haemmorhage, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

Nutritional Qualities of Turmeric

Turmeric is a great source of iron and manganese.  It is also rich in vitamin B6, dietary fibre, and potassium.  The volatile oil in turmeric is a significant anti-inflammatory, but even more potent than the volatile oil is the yellow-orange pigment which is called curcumin.  Studies have shown curcumin to be comparable to strong drugs such as hydrocortisone, as well as over the counter anti-inflammatory agents.  However, unlike these drugs, curcumin does not produce toxicity within the body.  Curcumin also provides the body with curcuminoids, which are believed to be antioxidant, and antibacterial, as well as being anti-inflammatory.

Conditions that Turmeric Can Help

Turmeric has been used to help with the following conditions:

  • Digestive disorders – curcumin helps to induce the flow of bile and this helps to break down fats.  It can also help in the treatment and management of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Arthritis – curcumin is an anti-inflammatory that helps to relieve the aches and pains that are associated with arthritis.
  • Cardiovascular conditions – curcumin can help to prevent the oxidisation of cholesterol in the body and, as oxidised cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up as plaque that can cause heart attack or stroke, preventing new cholesterol oxidisation can minimise the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
  • Cancer – turmeric has been shown to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer, and can help to prevent and block the growth of cancers such as breast cancer, and colon cancer.
  • Bacterial infection – the volatile oil in turmeric acts as an external antibiotic, thus helping to prevent bacterial infection in wounds.

Turmeric also lowers histamine levels in the body, protects against free radical damage, protects the liver against certain toxins, and improves circulation by stopping the blood platelets from sticking together.


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