Turmeric has been used as both a food and medicine for thousands of years. It's orange pigment is due to the curcumin content, which is also one of the main active phytochemicals in the plant.
Turmeric is a staple in Indian, and other Southeast Asian cooking, and is thought to provide adaptogenic, and general health-promiting effects in these regions.
There has been a lot of study on turmeric in recent decades investigating its effects on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, and as an antibacterial and antiviral. Turmeric has shown promise in all of these areas.
The major problem with turmeric is its low bioavailability. Cooking the root for long periods of time such as with curry, or soups, can improve this bioavailability in the gut, but is still far less than 50% bioavailable. This is an issue when trying to use turmeric for systemic conditions, and requires a large amount of the herb to have any effect whatsoever. Combining turmeric with other herbs like black pepper (the piperine content) has shown dramatic improvements in bioavailability.
- Inflammatory conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Cardiovascular System:
- Hypercholesterolemia *Hypertriglyceridemia
- Gastrointestinal System:
- Poor digestion
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrom (IBS)
- Improvement of gastric function
- Improvement of hepatic function
- Preventatively for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Fatty liver disease
Turmeric is mainly used in cooking, and as an antinflammatory agent. The potency of turmeric is bellieved to be increased after cooking, which has been shown to have some merit due to the increased biavailability after cooking for long periods of time.
Turmeric is a potent antinflammatory, especially in the diegestive tract and is commonly used to treat inflammations throughout. It is especially useful for chronic inflammatory conditions like IBS, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and other inflammatory (and often idiopathic) conditions. It is also used as an adjunctive cancer therapy for its potent antioxidant, and antinflammatory activities.
Turmeric comes from Southeast Asia, but is now cultivated throughout the topics.
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Constituents of Interest
- Sesquiterpene ketones
- Curcuma (France)
- Kurkuma (German)
- Gelbwurzel (German)
- Cúrcuma (Spain)
- Gurkmeja (Sweden)
A member of the Zingiberaceae family, it is closely related to ginger. The Zingiberaceae family contains 50 genera and 1600 species.
Level Of Research:
Clinical Applications Of Turmeric:
The potent antioxidant and antinflammatory activites of turmeric make it useful for treating inflammation, especally in the digestive tract, as well as throughout the body. It has shown srong potential as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and cardiovascular disease, and can be used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Turmeric is considered to be very safe, even in high doses over a long period of time.
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For a list of references, visit the full turmeric monograph.