Like many other spices, turmeric has a long and illustrious history as herbal medicine. This flavorful spice—also called golden spice or the Indian saffron—is cultivated primarily from the roots or rhizomes of flowering plants in Southeast Asian countries like India. Besides the yellow color it gives curry, it’s also well-known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric’s primary active ingredient, curcumin, is the reason for giving the spice the vibrant color it’s known for and its potential benefits to health and wellness. With that said, this article will outline some of the benefits of curcumin and turmeric.
One of the most recognized benefits of turmeric is that curcumin has the potential to fight inflammation. Given the proper dosage, some believe that it may even be a much more effective treatment than medications like aspirin and Advil. And because inflammation may contribute to various diseases, the consumption of turmeric could be helpful when it comes to the treatment of conditions like pancreatitis and arthritis. However, further research is still required.
For this reason, many make the herb a part of their dietary regimen, whether as a food ingredient or through consuming products like turmeric latte.
Some studies have shown that curcumin could potentially enhance endothelial function or the membrane covering the blood vessels and heart. This membrane is vital to regulating our blood pressure, with the low endothelial function being commonly associated with the risk of developing a cardiac disease. Thus, it’s possible that turmeric may aid in the protection of the heart by reducing the chances of heart disease.
But much like its anti-inflammatory properties, there needs to be more research to conclude whether or not curcumin can be an effective and safe alternative as a long-term treatment for those who have heart conditions.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, turmeric may be effective in easing osteoarthritis symptoms. A clinical trial that studied the potential impact of curcumin on people who suffered from knee osteoarthritis through supplements had shown positive results. After taking capsules containing nanocurcumin every twelve hours for six weeks, the group experienced a considerable decrease in stiffness and pain. This shows that turmeric has the potential to ease symptoms related to this condition.
Some believe that turmeric can protect the brain against Alzheimer’s and other specific neurodegenerative diseases because of its capacity to increase neurotrophic factors, a protein typically found in both the spine and brain. It keeps neurons healthy while regulating the communication of the nerve cells. And they can be critical for both memory and learning.
Keep in mind that research into its brain-protecting properties resulted from animal testing and studies, so more research is needed.
With all of its potential benefits, it comes as no surprise that more and more people are including turmeric-based products as a part of their diet. While many of the benefits still require more studies, the existing research shows that the herb holds a lot of promise.
Photo by Prchi Palwe
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