Turmeric Health Benefits 

Tumeric-powder-on-a-plateTurmeric or curcuma longa, is a spice best known for its distinct aroma, flavor, and bright yellow color. You’ll often find it in chicken or pork curry, egg dishes, fish soups, and rice dishes.

Turmeric is the dry ground root of the curcuma longa plant, native to India and Indonesia and has been used for both its flavor and its natural healing benefits for centuries. Its root has a thick brown skin and bright orange flesh, while turmeric powder is a deep yellow-orange color and is often called Indian saffron. Turmeric has been used in natural medicine for thousands of years.  It gives yellow mustard its bright yellow color, and it is the main spice used in curry dishes. Alone, it has a bitter, peppery flavor and smells similar to a mixture of orange peel and ginger.

History of Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for nearly 5,000 years. First in Indonesia and India, where it became a valued Ayurvedic medicine for its health benefits. Use of this spice for both culinary and medicinal purposes began to spread over the centuries, first to China and the Middle East. The Middle East introduced it to European traders in the 13th century.  It is still principally harvested in India and Indonesia, but has spread to China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Jamaica and Haiti.

Properties of Turmeric

The primary ingredient is a substance called curcumin, which is non-toxic and gives turmeric its pigmentation and many of its health benefits. Each harvest of turmeric contains varying degrees of curcumin, but it and curcumin extract can also be purchased that has a specific curcumin content. It also contains the nutrients Manganese, Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium and dietary fiber.

Benefits of Turmeric

For centuries, it has been used to treat dyspepsia, abdominal pain, fever, and even worms. It helps relieve flatulence, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, and jaundice. Headaches, bronchitis, colds and other respiratory infections can be treated with this spice.

It has been shown to help detoxify the body, primarily the kidneys and liver, protects the liver from toxins, and stimulates the production of bile, which is needed to digest fat. This spice also protects the stomach from salmonella and reduces the occurrence of diarrhea.

It acts as a powerful antioxidant and neutralizes free radical damage, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing pain and swelling in arthritis. New research suggests the herb may also contain anti-carcinogenic properties.

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