Turmeric is known by its botanical name, Curcuma longa. Growing to more than 3 feet in height it’s both a flowering plant and a rhizome, or the roots. The wonders and benefits of turmeric and its phenols, the bright yellows that comprise curcumin have considerably impacted the health of many individuals. Not only as a number one healing herb but also as an alternative medicine. With uses in Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese medicine, even Hawaiian shamans use turmeric in their religious and medicinal practices.
The many uses of turmeric were initially discovered more than 5000 years ago by people in India. A member of the ginger family it’s used as a natural Ayurvedic medicine because of its many original anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Turmeric is the Golden Spice
Ayurveda comes from the ancient Indian system which means “Ayur” life and “Veda” as science or knowledge. The healing effects of the Golden spice then reach China by 700 A.D. and continued to East and West Africa from 800 and 1280 respectively. Turmeric is sacred and vital in Hindu religion as it is used for weddings, fertility treatments as well as a dried amulet for personal protection. In Buddhism Turmeric is linked to luck, fertility, and sunshine.
A Member of the Ginger Family
Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a member of the ginger family of plants. The main component and primary source of curcuminoids are the roots or rhizomes. Grown throughout India, the plants are now grown worldwide and concentrated in the tropics as they require lots of water for cultivation.
Turmeric and Curcumin
Curcumin, the curcuminoid component, has many traditional medicinal uses and is a primary anti-inflammatory compound. In classical and Eastern medicines curcumin was given for arthritis. Arthritis is a byproduct of inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, including the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2. You may recognize this enzyme by its other name Cox2, and of course, Cox2 inhibiting drugs are big sellers at major pharmaceutical companies.
Since you are on our blog that is just for information – and is not for medical advice. If you’re interested in looking for them. There are clinical studies that are small but have shown a better response in adults using curcumin for pain relief of arthritis and arthritis-related symptoms. And while we’re on the subject of non-medical advice.
Turmeric and Turmerone
So far scientists have just been looking at curcumin. Plants and roots are complicated structures, and there are many relationships between compounds that we don’t fully understand currently. There’s always a place for the addition of a single ingredient, especially as it relates to a complicated personal, medical, or pharmacy situation.
We can’t emphasize this enough. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any supplements if you are taking prescribed medication.
As more is being discovered about whole plants and whole food supplements, there are other relationships between compounds and antioxidants, that may have further benefits. One of these recent discoveries is a compound called AR-Tumerone. This is a bio-active component of the turmeric rhizome. In a German study (on rats) using stem cells (and brains) they were able to show some very significant growth of neural stem cells. Basically, they re-grew brains at a very rapid rate. Don’t try this at home!
Is a Turmeric Supplement Worth It?
In our opinion yes. There is evidence out there for improved inflammation responses. And most of us are eating way too much sugar every day. Sugar is a significant cause of inflammation (more on this later).
Where possible look for an organic and or the whole food turmeric version. Unfortunately, there are some imposters out there who may be adding lead to bulk turmeric stocks.
So, if you see any turmeric that looks reddish, instead of a golden yellow, throw it in the trash. Unless you are taking a combined supplement with turmeric and other compounds – it may a sign of unwanted additives.
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