The aroma of different spices on every street and household tempts you to eat something rich and flavourful. No wonder, India is the king country of spices. Visiting the temples in India takes you back to the beautiful ancient Indian era with mild Turmeric aroma mixed with varied colorful flower fragrances in the air.
Isn’t it, a peaceful divine feeling in itself?
For more than thousands of years, Turmeric, the yellow-colored spice has been an important part of Indian culture, food and medicines(Ayurveda - Indian medicine).
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is often termed a Golden spice or Indian saffron. It belongs to the ginger family.
Curcumin is the active ingredient found in Turmeric and has potential biological properties.
Turmeric is the most common spice used in Indian cooking. It is warm and dry in nature and has a bitter taste.
Interesting facts about golden spice, Turmeric
- It has been documented that turmeric has been used in Vedic Indian culture for more than 5000 years.
- India produces 80% of Turmeric and is the largest exporter in the world.
- Turmeric is used in various cosmetics, as it is found to enhance the glow of the skin.
- Turmeric has great importance in Indian weddings wherein, it is applied to both the bride and groom before the wedding to keep them protected from any infections and to calm their nerves to ease anxiety and stress.
- Turmeric has proven anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
In recent years Scientists have grabbed their attention to study turmeric and its profound medicinal effects.
Important and surprising discoveries of Turmeric in relation to the human health
The most profound effect of Turmeric is found in the treatment of Arthritis.
The active ingredient Curcumin present in turmeric plays an important Anti Inflammatory role by blocking some types of enzymes and cytokines that are responsible for the inflammation in the joints. This may help in the reduction of inflammation of joints caused in Rheumatoid arthritis.
Research studies have shown there has been no change observed in the cartilage or swelling in osteoarthritis, however, the good news is that there is a significant reduction of knee pain in osteoarthritic conditions. It means that Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric can act as a painkiller!!
The Curcumin present in turmeric has been found to reduce fat tissue and promote further weight loss by suppressing certain inflammatory markers which are found elevated in overweight and obese people. Turmeric has shown detoxifying effects in research studies. It can help in flushing out the toxins that are built up in the liver and since the liver metabolizes fat, there are high chances of weight loss through turmeric’s detoxifying property.
The research studies showed that Curcumin in turmeric improved memory and attention span in individuals. It has been discussed that the anti-inflammatory property of Turmeric could be the main reason for to reduction of brain inflammation which is found in patients with depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientist has found that The BDNF protein (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is important in promoting the life of neurons and thereby play a crucial role in memory and improvement in memory with its optimum levels.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and depression have low levels of BDNF. Surprisingly, animal studies have proved that Curcumin present in turmeric may increase the levels of BDNF.
It has also been found, old people in India are less prone to Alzheimer’s disease and have better cognitive function whereas the staple diet is turmeric.
Turmeric for Skin:
Curcumin found in turmeric has shown astonishing effects in healing wounds. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties help in the fast recovery of wounds.
Turmeric has also been found to be effective in the treatment of scabies (mites causing skin rash) and psoriasis (itchy, red, scaly patches on the skin). Studies have shown that recommended dosages of Turmeric can reduce the episodes of flare and inflammation caused by psoriasis.
Turmeric has also shown a role in the treatment of acne. It has been observed that the anti-inflammatory effect of Turmeric can reduce the inflammation caused by acne and has also shown its effects in the reduction of pores and scars caused by acne. The antibacterial property of Turmeric may also reduce the acne caused by bacteria.
Considering, the benefits of Turmeric, its bioavailability in the body is equally important and research has found that black pepper plays an important role in this regard.
Why the combination of Turmeric and black pepper is considered as best?
It has been observed that Curcumin from turmeric is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream and remains less available for its benefits.
Research studies showed that black pepper can help Curcumin absorption. Piperine, the compound found in black pepper enhances curcumin absorption by up to 2,000% by making it easier for curcumin to pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream thereby enabling the benefits of Curcumin to the human body.
What is the best way to eat Turmeric?
Turmeric in a powdered form cannot be eaten on its own. Due to its dry texture, it can lead to choking hazards. It should be mixed with a liquid or a curry or can be mixed with honey along with black pepper powder. It can also be taken in the tea form.
Turmeric tea has shown beneficial effects in boosting immunity, as turmeric’s Curcumin has a role to play in the regulation of the immune cells. It can give great relief from cold and sore throat by promoting its antibacterial and antiviral effects and reducing the histamine levels in the body.
Are turmeric supplements good?
Turmeric supplements are good as they are formulated with the right dosage amount along with piperine for maximum absorption. Turmeric supplements are found to be safe for most of the population, however, people on blood thinners (anti-coagulant) treatment should confirm with the doctor before starting the turmeric supplements. It has been observed that turmeric has a blood-thinning effect. Therefore a patient on anti-coagulant and turmeric supplements can suffer from excess bleeding.
Turmeric used in cooking has proved no harm to any individual yet.
The ancient Indian spice, Turmeric is now understood as an interesting and beneficial spice by today's scientific world but we must not forget to be thankful to our ancestors from India for this scientific discovery more than 5000 years ago!