Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, just like ginger!
It’s a perennial herb native to India, from where it has spread to be known all over the world both as a medicinal herb and a popular spice.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Turmeric is considered as a cleanser of the whole body and used specifically in the treatment of inflammation, wounds and skin ulcers, itching, gastric complaints, ringworm and colic.
Curcumin, one of Turmeric’s main chemical components, has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties.
The main uses of Turmeric in herbal medicine include:
- Arthritis: turmeric has been shown to be just as effective as hydrocortisone in treatment of acute joint pain (but without any troublesome side-effects!) as well as help reduce the need for other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Artherosclerosis: Curcumin deactivates platelet-activating factors (PAF) and in turn lowers the formation of cholesterol into plaques.
- Cancer: through deactivation of PAF, Curcumin stops the formation of new blood vessels within tumours, preventing them from spreading throughout the body. It also stimulates production of B and T cells as well as prevents damage caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.
- Cataracts: Curcumin has stronger anti-oxidative action than vit E, it can prevent cross-linking of the protein within the lens which leads to cataracts.
- Ulcerative colitis: Turmeric has been used for gastric discomforts for thousands of years. One of studies shown that 2g of Curcumin per day yields more positive effects than the standard treatment with sulfasalazine or mesalamine, as well as improves the overall clinical sore for the disease and occurrence of relapses.
Turmeric can have an impact on the heart tissue, gallbladder, liver and fertility. It can also reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs.
If you are not sure if Turmeric would be a suitable option for you, consult a herbalist.