KNOW YOUR TURMERIC/CURCUMIN
The spice known as turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
Many high-quality studies show that turmeric has major benefits for your body and brain. Many of these benefits come from its main active ingredient, curcumin.
Read on to learn what the science says about turmeric and curcumin as well as their benefits and origin.
The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. It probably reached China by 700 ad, East Africa by 800 ad, West Africa by 1200 ad, and Jamaica in the eighteenth century. In 1280, Marco Polo described this spice, marveling at a vegetable that exhibited qualities so similar to that of saffron. According to Sanskrit medical treatises and Ayurvedic and Unani systems, turmeric has a long history of medicinal use in South Asia.
Ayurvedic Compendium, dating back to 250 bc, recommends an ointment containing turmeric to relieve the effects of poisoned food.
Today, turmeric is widely cultivated in the tropics and goes by different names in different cultures and countries. In North India, turmeric is commonly called “haldi,” a word derived from the Sanskrit word haridra.
Turmeric is a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which is native to tropical South Asia. As many as 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. Most of them have common local names and are used for various medicinal formulations. The turmeric plant needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Individual plants grow to a height of 1 m, and have long, oblong leaves. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and are reseeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season. The rhizome, from which the turmeric is derived, is tuberous, with a rough and segmented skin. The rhizomes mature beneath the foliage in the ground. They are yellowish brown with a dull orange interior. The main rhizome is pointed or tapered at the distal end and measures 2.5–7.0 cm (1–3 inches) in length and 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter, with smaller tubers branching off. When the turmeric rhizome is dried, it can be ground to a yellow powder with a bitter, slightly acrid, yet sweet, taste.
India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it. With its inherent qualities and high content of the important bioactive compound curcumin, Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world.
some of the known benefits of the curcumin:
- Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound
- Turmeric can increase the antioxidant capacity of the body
- Curcumin can boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Curcumin may lower your risk of heart disease
- Turmeric may help prevent cancer
- Curcumin may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease
- Arthritis patients respond well to curcumin supplements
- Curcumin has benefits against depression
- Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
Turmeric — and especially its most active compound, curcumin — have many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve heart health and prevent against Alzheimer’s and cancer.
It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
While these benefits are possible, they are limited at this time because of curcumin’s scarce bioavailability, and more research is needed.