Turmeric has been around for thousands of years, and it is sure being talked about a lot these days. Is it worth the hype? You decide!
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. The underground stem is generally the part of the plant that is most widely used. It is native to Southeast Asia and is grown primarily in India. The underground stem of the plant is used in traditional medicine and as a culinary spice. The plants are dug up and the main stem is retained for replanting in the spring, while the finger stems are harvested for use. After harvesting, turmeric may be used fresh or cured for drying.
Turmeric has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial in the treatment of a myriad of health conditions. In India, an ointment base on the spice is used as an antiseptic. The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to be active against anemia, cancer, diabetes, digestion, food poisoning, gallstones, indigestion, IBS, parasites, poor circulation, staph infections, and wounds. In countries with poor water supply, turmeric has been used as an ingredient of a treatment used for dysentery. Turmeric has also been used in tooth powder or paste. Turmeric has been used for many conditions in traditional medicine in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It can be prepared in various ways and is said to alleviate asthma and coughs. Hot water extracts of the dried stem have been taken to reduce inflammation and is also used to counteract the ageing processes. Turmeric water is an Asian cosmetic applied to impart a golden glow to the complexion and made into a paste for skin conditions.
In modern days, turmeric is generally used as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it very important to consider as an addition to your diet and supplements. Inflammation has long been a well-known symptom of many infectious diseases, but molecular and epidemiological research increasingly suggests that it is also closely linked to a wide range of non-infectious diseases, and maybe even all of them.
Supplement vs. Diet
In most cases, I am a proponent of adding everything naturally through what I eat on a daily basis. I add turmeric and honey to my coffee every morning! However, I have found out recently that most studies suggest turmeric is absorbed at a much higher rate, perhaps 2000% more when taken with black pepper. This would be much easier to accomplish through a supplement. I am not going to be able to eat a meal every single day with turmeric and black pepper.
As with any new supplement, be sure to consult with your doctor to be sure turmeric is right for you. With all the possible benefits, it is worth a trip to the doctor!
If you are looking for a functional medicine doctor in Twin Cities, please reach out to schedule a consultation!