TURMERIC – Natures Golden Therapeutic spice

Turmeric is a spice that has grown in popularity and interest over the last few years, though it has been revered as a therapeutic spice for over 4000 years, namely in India and the Asian subcontinental culture. Its name means “blessing of the earth” and it has many remarkable therapeutic qualities. 

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, we know it as the golden yellow root, that is ground to a powder and used in cooking, taken directly to support health and even as a food and clothing dye. The active part of the root and that which gives it its distinctive colour are curcuminoids. 

The evidence mounting for Turmeric as not only a spice to flavour food, but for its direct health benefits on the body is immense (over 6000 citations!). There has been much focus on one of its components “curcumin” and this is often found isolated in supplemental form. 

However, when taking Turmeric as a whole spice to support our health, there is much synergistic action between the 300 plus compounds present, just as they are in Nature to complement the properties of each other. 

Known, therapeutic actions of Turmeric on the body include….

  • It’s a potent antioxidant (one study showed whole Turmeric extract to have outstanding antioxidant activity compared to a combination of fruits and vegetables)
  • It’s anti - inflammatory (supporting the joints, muscles etc)
  • It has immunomodulatory properties
  • Supports lung health and the upper respiratory tract
  • It stimulates production of bile from the gallbladder (to aid the digestion of fats)
  • It supports the body’s detoxification processes by enhancing the action of the liver and its hepatoprotective (protects the liver)
  • It supports wound healing
  • Its anti-microbial
  • Its anti-arthritic
  • It enhances circulation (supporting heart function and blood circulation)
  • Its currently being researched to support Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  

Cooking using the whole spice to benefit from the whole spectrum of curcuminoids, resins and other oils is an easy and palatable way to take your daily dose of Turmeric. Research is now suggesting that certain additions to this cooking process can greatly enhance its absorption and bioavailability, further boosting its therapeutic properties. These include: 

  • The addition of black pepper
  • The addition of fat (traditionally milk, ghee, coconut milk or oil)

Using these 2 ingredients alongside the Turmeric allows the body to absorb the curcumin more efficiently - whilst significantly enhancing the taste. 

What’s not to love about Turmeric….it has no known toxicity, its completely safe, tastes great and supports mind and body!

Karen Carman   BSc (Hons), DNN, Dip CNM, Dip A.E.T, S.A.C. Dip, MBIAET, MBCMA

Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist