Herb of the Month - Curcumin!
Author: Lia Pellizzeri Date Posted:1 August 2016
The Cleverness of Curcumin.
Curcumin, the active ingredient of Turmeric, is a mighty clever herb that has been around for centuries! Widely used by both the Indian Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine systems, it was commonly employed to treat predominantly inflammatory and digestive disorders. In actual fact, Curcumin is a bit of a misnomer, and refers to the active ingredient discovered by Harvard College laboratory scientists in Turmeric rhizomes, and consequentially published in 1815 - that is indeed responsible for these medicinal effects.
The ancients were definitely onto something, as this amazing herb is proving to be one of the most scientifically-backed natural medicines to date with boundless benefits and uses… let alone it being a delicious culinary staple!
Curcumin Cred. When it comes to:
This is definitely one area Curcumin is coming into its own, with studies demonstrating its potent anti-inflammatory effects and thus pain-relieving qualities. Its interference in the body’s inflammatory processes inhibits the enzymes responsible for setting up a full blown inflammatory response, not only reducing associated pain but improving such things as joint swelling, stiffness and the levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.
As a dietary supplement, Curcumin may enhance the activity of digestive enzymes – it basically stimulates the gastric juices in order to better break down the food we eat, increasing the absorption of nutrients in the gut. Furthermore, it has demonstrated great usefulness in a range of digestive disorders.
Loving your Liver
You may have heard about Curcumin’s antioxidant capabilities? Although these play a myriad of roles in the body, it has a very marked effect supporting liver health. It has a stimulatory effect on the gall bladder and subsequently bile flow, making it not only great for the liver but for cardiovascular health.
CURRY AND BEYOND
Although it’s very difficult to eat enough Turmeric to exert the pharmacological effects of its active ingredient Curcumin, it can still add therapeutic value when added to your diet regularly, so here’s some easy ways to add tasty turmeric to your culinary repertoire:
- A couple of teaspoons at the beginning of any stew or sauce, whether it be curry or bolognaise, will lend a lovely golden hew and imbue it with a humming savoury note without adding too much flavour. Just be careful you add the spice just before you add liquids in, as frying it off too much can burn the turmeric and turn it slightly bitter.
- A warm cup of turmeric milk at night is soothing and calming and oh so easy to do, simply whip up a paste of honey, a pinch each of cinnamon and turmeric, and a tablespoon of cocao. Stir through warmed milk and enjoy an Ayurvedic version of a hot toddy.
- Add some grated fresh turmeric to any smoothie, it might change the colour slightly but will not affect the taste at all. All the health benefits with none of the spice flavour!
|Written by Lia Pellizzeri|
Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues. Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.
She loves using herbal and nutritional medicine to treat ailments and lives by the philosophy of “there is no such thing as too much tea.