Turmeric is a widely used herb; many use it medicinally, others in the kitchen or both. But what are its benefits and uses? And what makes it so popular? I’m going to tell you about it.
Curcuma longa, commonly known as turmeric is a very popular plant in Asian cuisine. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color food. However, the root of turmeric plant is widely used medicinally. It has a constituent called curcumin, often used to color foods and cosmetics due to its bright yellow color.
What are its medicinal actions?
- Anti-inflammatory: the constituent curcumin is responsible for the anti-inflammatory action thus reducing inflammation and making it useful in the treatment of muscle pain, joint pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, Chrohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), headaches, SLE, bronchitis, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc
- Anti-oxidant: curcumin can protect the DNA against breaks and oxidation which makes it useful in the treatment of different types of cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular health, protective for the body, etc.
- Anti-neoplastic: curcumin has been proven to have anti-cancer properties in the body. Either as part of a treatment protocol or as preventative.
- Lipid modulation: curcumin has shown positive results in decreasing total plasma cholesterol levels, decreasing LDL, decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL levels. It also helps decrease inflammation in the vessels hence improving cardiovascular health and decreasing risks.
- Anti-platelet: curcumin has been shown to prevent thrombus formation from platelet aggregation hence being beneficial for cardiovascular health.
- Anti-bacterial: curcumin has also shown effectiveness with treating infections.
- Anti-hepatotoxic: curcumin has been shown to stimulate Phase II detox activity in the liver helping excrete toxins out of the body.
- Carminative: curcumin has also been effective relieving gas/flatulence.
These above are only some of the actions and uses for curcumin. It has been proven to have multiple medicinal properties and that’s why is commonly known as The Golden Herb; however, having the right dose and source of curcumin is very important. Also, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine whether curcumin is safe for you or not and what would be the dose. Remember, every person is different and what works for someone (herb/dose) is not going to be the same for another person.
Dr. Yarilis Vazquez, ND
Naturopathic Doctor- SOPHIA Natural Health