The Rise of Turmeric

Turmeric has been steadily on the rise in health circles. More health professionals are recommending it, more recipes contain it, more restaurants are including it on their menu. And yet for many communities in Asia, turmeric has been a principle spice used in medicine for much of the last 4000 years. Indeed, Marco Polo in his 1280 expedition to India and China discussed the benefits of what is known in many Asian circles as ‘the golden spice of life’. Typically, we in the Western world are only now cottoning on to the health benefits of this salubrious spice.

This pungent, bitter spice contains an earthy aroma and gustatory hints of orange or ginger. Its brilliant golden yellow colour also adds to many foods a boldness and vibrancy pleasing to the eye. But not only does it contain a marvellous colour and add a richness of flavour to foods, its chief drawcard is the plethora of health benefits it brings.

A chief component of turmeric is curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. A recent review in the Journal Molecules said of turmeric, that “chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and most chronic diseases are closely linked, and that antioxidant properties of curcumin can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases”.  In Herbal Medicine (2011), the authors state that, “the activities of turmeric include antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumour, antioxidant, antiseptic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, radioprotective and digestive activities”. Turmeric is also an attractive option because it has no known negative side-effects.

Decades ago, interest in turmeric and curcumin intensified as researchers began asking why India has some of the lowest incidences of lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer in the world – up to 13x less than that found in the New Zealand. They traced the cause to India’s high curry powder consumption, which has turmeric as a core ingredient. India today produces almost all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes roughly 80% of it.

The following list shows the benefits of turmeric that are supported by some promising clinical evidence:

  • Helps to prevent cancer
  • Eases arthritis symptoms
  • Calms digestive troubles and promotes gut health
  • Supports heart health
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Aids in fat-burning and weight loss
  • Helps prevent Alzheimers, Parkinsons
  • Helps fight Multiple Sclerosis, Cystic Fibrosis
  • A natural anti-depressant
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Helps skin conditions like eczema, acne, wrinkles
  • Lowers blood glucose levels, aids Diabetes
  • Soothes tension headaches
  • Supports healthy liver, bowel, pancreas
  • Lowers cortisol levels, reduces stress
  • Helps pain relief
  • Improved immune function
  • A powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-oxidant

The beneficial effects of turmeric are best seen over a long period of time. Turmeric may be taken either in its powdered form as a spice in cooking, or as a supplement in extract form. To get the best out of your turmeric in food, consume with a good oil or fat, and with freshly cracked black pepper. However, the supplement form provides a stronger dose and is often more practical when you need to consume more than what you can get through food. At Chiro Balance we provide turmeric as a supplement at below retail rate – just ask one of our friendly CA’s!