Let's Talk Turmeric

Author: ANCP   Date Posted:3 May 2016 

We’ve all eaten a delicious curry at some stage in our lives, whether it’s a tasty Thai curry with coconut milk, or a sumptuous Indian curry, but have you ever wondered what gives them their vibrant yellow colour? Wonder no more; it’s an amazing spice called turmeric.

Traditional Turmeric   

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in a huge variety of ways. Originally turmeric was cultivated for use as a dye. It was commonly used to dye Hindu priests’ robes, cloth, thread and many more items. It has even been used as the colouring in some mustards. Turmeric has been used in cosmetics, for religious and ceremonial purposes - and of course as a spice. In India, it is widely used as a flavour and spice, as a medicine and in religious and cultural ceremonies. 80% of consumer turmeric is grown in India. 

This wonderful herb has played an integral role in both Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, where it is commonly used for inflammation and digestive disorders. Turmeric has also been used medicinally for thousands of years for numerous health conditions, including poor digestion, parasites and intestinal worms, liver and gallbladder conditions, asthma, menstrual pain, sprains and bruises. It has also been used topically for psoriasis.

Research has now shown that curcumin (one of the active ingredients in turmeric) has a major anti-inflammatory and pain relieving action. When used topically, this pain relieving action is due to the curcumin acting to deplete substance P - the neurotransmitter which transmits pain signals from the nerve endings. Used internally, curcumin acts on multiple anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the body.  

Interesting Facts on Turmeric

Did you know that turmeric belongs to the same family as ginger?

The part of the turmeric plant which we use for both cooking and medicine is the rhizome - an underground root-like stem. Sometimes turmeric is referred to as Indian saffron. Marco Polo, the famous explorer, even remarked on the similarities between turmeric and saffron. In cooking, turmeric is often used as a cheap alternative to saffron due to their similarities in colour and faint bitter tang. Turmeric was also used to make a special turmeric paper to test alkalinity after chemists in the 1870’s found that it turned a reddish brown colour when exposed to alkaline chemicals. Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant, with activity is twice as strong as resveratrol.  

Now let’s find out what turmeric can do in our body!  

Curcumin The actual compound that gives turmeric its vibrant yellow colour is called Curcumin. Curcumin is the major active ingredient in turmeric and the majority of studies performed on turmeric and its components have focused on curcumin. These studies have shown numerous health benefits for curcumin. Some include curcumin’s potent antioxidant properties, its strong anti-inflammatory action, its protective and supportive gastrointestinal effects and its role in lowering total cholesterol levels as well as helping to raise high density lipoprotein (HLD), the good cholesterol. This action also contributes to curcumin and turmeric’s beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.

Arthritis and Turmeric

Studies on turmeric and curcumin have shown significant health benefits for a variety of conditions but one of turmeric’s major health benefits is for arthritis. Both turmeric and curcumin have a potent ant-inflammatory action in the body. Curcumin works on multiple inflammatory pathways in the body, giving it a powerful anti-inflammatory action. Turmeric and curcumin have been shown to be beneficial for both acute and chronic inflammation. This anti-inflammatory action not only helps relieve symptoms of arthritis, it can also help with other inflammatory conditions in the body.

Recent studies on the effectiveness of curcumin for arthritis have demonstrated significant results!

They revealed curcumin can act on many of the body’s inflammatory mechanisms to reduce inflammation, rather than just targeting one. Curcumin improves mobility and functionality in osteoarthritis. It has been clinically proven to help reduce the impact of osteoarthritis on social and leisure activities. It decreases pain, swelling and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and even improves walking time, joint swelling and decreases morning stiffness.

Although turmeric has potent benefits in the body, it's traditionally been very difficult to absorb, meaning that high doses needed to be used. However, new technology has allowed the active curcumin to be bound to easily-absorbable phospholipids, making it much easier to get an active dose of this potent spice.  

Turmeric’s action in the body:

• Anti-inflammatory

• Antioxidant

• Antimicrobial

• Protects and supports the cardiovascular system

• Protects liver health

• Supports digestive and liver health

• Immune modulating  

What turmeric may help:

• Arthritis

• Pain, swelling and inflammation

• Irritable bowel syndrome

• Inflammatory bowel disease

• Flatulence

• Cardiovascular health

• Healthy cholesterol levels

• Menstrual pain

The health benefits of curcumin could be yours! Keep your eyes peeled for our new exciting curcumin product called Curcumin Anti-inflammatory Pain Reliever.