If you have an eye on nutrition, by now you’ve heard that Turmeric is being widely researched for a variety of conditions. It is the latest and greatest of herbs. This humble spice, best known as one of the ingredients used in curry dishes, is also responsible for ballpark mustard’s yellow color. It’s been utilized for quite some time in Indian and Chinese societies for the anti-inflammatory results it provides when dealing with a wide array of medical conditions. Turmeric also shows great promise in fighting various forms of cancer.
Turmeric, a perennial plant of the ginger family, has a long history of use as a traditional medicine across Asia. In recent years, Western scientists have conducted numerous studies on turmeric and the trio of yellow pigments that it contains known as curcuminoids. The curcuminoids (sometimes simply called “curcumin,” after the most famous of the three) are antioxidant polyphenols known to function as potent anti-inflammatories.
How does Turmeric fight cancer and inflammation?
Curcumin’s antioxidant properties help contain the free radicals which can damage our cellular DNA if left free to roam. This antioxidant protection is even more evident inside the colon where we see a quick cell turnover, basically more or less every three days. Mutated cancer cells are annihilated which prevents them from spreading to other parts of the body.
According to Natural News Different studies have shown that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects are at least on par with certain prescription drugs or over-the-counter ones such as Motrin. The main difference to consider is that turmeric doesn’t leave toxic products in the body. There are also great reasons to be optimistic based on studies related to inflammatory bowel diseases.
In India, turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically, as a paste, to heal sores, basically for its supposed antimicrobial property. In the Auyurvedic system (since c. 1900 BCE) turmeric was a medicine for a range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders. A fresh juice is commonly used in many skin conditions, including eczema, chicken pox, shingles, allergy, and scabies. This is one versatile herb.
How do I use Turmeric?
Turmeric has a subtle earthy flavor, but beware that it can stain hands and clothing.
- Make longevity tea–Dr. Andrew Weil notes that people in Okinawa, the Japanese island nation with the world’s longest average life span, drink turmeric tea daily. To make your own, boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, allow to simmer for 10 minutes, strain, and add ginger and/or honey to taste.
- Add a dash of turmeric to brighten up otherwise bland-looking food. Chefs and home cooks alike can benefit from adding it to eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, cauliflower, or anywhere else a bit of vibrancy is desired.
- Make your own curry powder blend. Check out this link by Food Network star Alton Brown.
- Whisk ¼ tsp in to vinigarettes or pizza dough.
- Add ¼ to ½ tsp. to hot oil before sauteeing vegetables, and potatoes
As you can see, this is an herb you’ll want to add to your spice rack and use frequently.
I’m sure you’ll want to try this weeks recipe for a super simple Turmeric Veggie Dip — even kids like it!
Note: Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form, but use with caution and consult with your doctor first. It’s strong stuff. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is unsafe during pregnancy, can make gallbladder problems worse, can make stomach problems such as GERD (or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) worse, and can slow blood clotting and might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Bottom line, use it in foods.