The Amazing Powers of Turmeric
Guest blogger Katie Pande – Senior Herbalist at Pukka Herbs – reveals the hidden powers of turmeric.
A real superhero
Turmeric is well known as a spice used in Indian cuisine. In fact, its traditional Indian uses span far beyond this. It’s been used for centuries to help keep the skin pure, the blood clean and the life long. For instance, in traditional Indian herbal medicine turmeric has been used to help maintain healthy blood, skin, circulation and as a nourishment to feed the whole body. Could the key to the population of India having one of the lowest rates of chronic degenerative diseases in the world be due to their huge consumption of this incredible spice?
So why’s turmeric so special?
Part of the reason is down to the characteristically strong yellow colour of this incredible root. These yellow pigments are collectively known as curcuminoids. The root is also brimming with essential oils knowns as tumerones. The curcuminoids and turmerones work together within the body as powerful antioxidants, helping to attack nasty free radicals which can damage and age our bodies. They also stimulate a healthy inflammation response whilst enhancing circulation, protecting the brain, rejuvenating the liver and targeting pain.
What can turmeric do for me?
- Turmeric actively inhibits inflammatory pathways within the body, making turmeric a first choice for inflammations of the musculoskeletal system and the digestive system.
- Research has shown that turmeric impacts upon certain pain receptors within the body. It has been demonstrated as being particularly effective for chest and abdominal pain, frozen shoulder and menstrual cramping.
- Turmeric contains some very potent polyphenols, also known as antioxidants. These have the ability to protect cellular DNA and repair any existing damage from environmental carcinogens, for example.
- Turmeric has a significant action upon the heart and the circulation. It will improve the flow of blood to the heart and encourage anti-platelet activity, reducing the risk of plaque build up in the arteries.
- Turmeric also improves blood flow through the liver, improving the efficacy of liver detoxification pathways but also stimulating cellular repair mechanisms in damaged liver cells. This improvement in blood flow and quality impacts significantly upon the quality of the skin, and turmeric can therefore be an excellent remedy for any afflictions of the skin.
- In the digestive system, turmeric helps balance levels of bacteria, supporting a healthy digestive environment.
Finding the right turmeric supplement however relies on consumers being informed about the roles of curcumin, together with the role of turmerones (only present if volatile oils retained) and other factors (such as piperine) which dramatically increase absorbability.
More about the author
Katie is a qualified Medical Herbalist, and member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), currently practicing in Shaftesbury. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine and a BSc (Hons) in Plant and Environmental Biology.