A yellow-colored powder ground from the root of the turmeric plant. The turmeric plant grows in India and Indonesia and is related to the ginger family (it is a common ingredient in curries). Curcumin is a key chemical in turmeric.
Turmeric supplements are popular these days, but for one woman in Arizona, taking a turmeric supplement may have triggered an uncommon liver problem, according to a new report of the case.
The spice has been used for more than 5,000 years, and to this day it plays an important role in traditional cultures throughout the Eastern world.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of health conditions. These include chronic pain and inflammation.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is the main ingredient or most active component of turmeric, accounting for 2 percent of the spice. Curcumin has been used in traditional Indian and Ayurvedic medicine for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory compounds called curcuminoids, and these curcuminoids have been associated with a positive effect on various diseases, says Anya Guy, a Mayo Clinic dietitian.
Those diseases include Type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains, and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry.
It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, kinds of butter, and cheeses.
Turmeric is also used to stimulate digestion, boost liver function, and regulate menstruation. Additionally, some proponents suggest that turmeric can help prevent cancer.
As if its antioxidant, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective properties and resistance to harmful organisms aren’t enough, turmeric shows strong potential in many other applications. It’s a legitimate superfood, and researchers are studying it for dozens of possible health benefits. Here are just a few.
What Medical studies Say Related To Turmeric?
Several recent studies show that turmeric/curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and modifies immune system responses.
A 2006 study showed turmeric was more effective at preventing joint inflammation than reducing joint inflammation.
There are several chemical compounds found in turmeric, known as curcuminoids.
The active substance in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is what makes turmeric a “functional food,” defined by the Mayo Clinic as “foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.”
Curcumin Could Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
The antioxidant properties of turmeric have a direct effect on the cardiovascular system. Curcumin reduces the toxic effects of aggressive medical therapies, especially the way they affect the heart.
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world. Researchers have studied it for many decades and learned a lot about why it happens. Unsurprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated and various things contribute to it.
To date, the majority of curcumin studies in humans have been in populations with existing health problems. Perhaps this is because studies on healthy people can be challenging in that benefits may not be as immediate and measurable if biomarkers are normal at baseline.
Studies have shown that it may be helpful for memory, cholesterol and menopausal symptoms if taken by mouth.
Turmeric As An Antioxidant
Many of us know that antioxidants are beneficial, but what exactly do they do? Antioxidants promote cellular health by reducing free radicals and oxidative stress.
Helps Prevent And Manage Diabetes
Traditional medicines have used turmeric for diabetes for thousands of years. Several studies using animal and human models have shown that curcumin supplementation may have anti-diabetes properties.
Memory And Dementia
Turmeric is also being investigated to see if the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin may help support memory. So far, the evidence is mixed.
Another reason to supplement with turmeric curcumin is its immune-boosting benefits.4 Think of turmeric curcumin as your immune system’s health-promoting buddy.
BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Curcumin is not just an anti-inflammatory compound but also an immunomodulator[ix]. This means that it can modulate or modify how the immune system defends the body.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the body’s production of harmful free radicals and its ability to counteract their adverse effects. Antioxidants help restore this balance by inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules, allowing your body’s natural healing mechanisms to repair the damage.