Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is an ancient spice that has remained popular in India and Asia since 2,000 BC. The spice is a prized component of the culinary traditions of these cultures. Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and its roots impart a vibrant yellowish hue to curry dishes. Turmeric root is also used as a natural dyeing agent for cloth.
Curcuminoids are the main phytochemicals that give turmeric its impressive and wide-ranging health benefits. Amazingly, over 9,000 medical and clinical research studies have evaluated turmeric and curcumin and yielded a wealth of positive information.
There are three main phytochemicals in the curcuminoid family that are responsible for turmeric's health benefits: diferuloylmethane (or curcumin, the primary curcuminoid responsible for turmeric’s vibrant yellowish color), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. In addition to these three chemicals, turmerone is a potent volatile oil found in the root.
8 Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric contains an abundance of antioxidants that support cellular health. But what does that mean for you? Here are some of the most well-researched benefits of turmeric and the curcuminoids that it contains.
- Promotes Balanced Mood
- Helps Wounds Heal
- Eases Aches and Discomfort
- Encourages Balanced Blood Sugar
- Soothes Irritated Tissue
- Loosens Stiff Joints
- Encourages Normal Lipid Levels
- Supports the Stomach Lining
1. Promotes Balanced Mood
Could turmeric be a potential new option for stabilizing mood? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported promising results with turmeric for supporting a balanced mood. Two groups were studied. The first group received curcumin daily, while the other received a placebo.
After eight weeks, the mood and anxiety score tests completed by all of the participants showed significant symptom improvements compared to placebo.
2. Helps Wounds Heal
Cut your finger? Curcumin may accelerate the wound healing process by soothing irritation and oxidation. As more research evaluates turmeric's ability to support the body’s natural healing abilities, it could be used for a wide range of applications.
One exciting study demonstrated how applying turmeric topically helps wounds. The results showed that turmeric supported collagen synthesis, improved wound contraction, and increased tissue strength and cell proliferation around the wound. Turmeric also showed antioxidant properties that help the healing process.
3. Eases Aches and Discomfort
Turmeric may ease knee discomfort. People who took turmeric experienced relief on par with more conventional options. The turmeric group also enjoyed more relief from joint stiffness, and further, reported fewer side effects than those following mainstream-oriented action plans.
Other experts have looked at how turmeric supplementation may help postoperative discomfort and fatigue. Patients taking turmeric experienced significantly less discomfort compared to placebo.
4. Encourages Balanced Blood Sugar
A review on how curcumin influences blood sugar and diabetes found abundant evidence that it promotes normal blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. It appears to interact with the production of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.
Curcumin positively influences insulin-producing cells within the pancreas, Beta cells (or B-cells) and Islet cells, in relation to imbalanced blood sugar. It also promotes a normal response to inflammation, which otherwise can contribute to the development of diabetes.
5. Soothes Irritated Tissue
Turmeric is known to soothe excess irritation and promote a normal response to the body's inflammation. The swelling response is a healthy and natural mechanism the body uses to usher soothing compounds during times of crisis or repair. Most people in today's toxic, stress-laden environment are under constant pressure. The tissues in the body become irritated, red, and swollen as a result.
6. Loosens Stiff Joints
A clinical study published in Phytotherapy Research set out to determine the effectiveness of turmeric for active joint discomfort. One group received the standard-of-care medication while the other received turmeric. Patients were given symptom score sheets to assess results. Turmeric outperformed the other option on all levels and was relatively free of side effects.
7. Encourages Normal Lipid Levels
Turmeric's ability to encourage normal lipid profiles have been studied since the 1990s with varying levels of benefits. Some studies show an impressive reduction in lipid profiles for turmeric-supplemented groups. In one study, group participants were given either curcumin from turmeric in small or large servings; a control group was given vitamin E only.
After just seven days, the researchers found that small servings of turmeric produced the most favorable and balancing effects on lipid profiles. Most importantly, these studies show that turmeric is consistently safe and has a very low risk of side effects.
8. Supports the Stomach Lining
India has used turmeric in curry dishes as a taste and color enhancer for centuries. One reason for its longstanding popularity is because of its soothing properties on digestion. Researchers tested the protective effects of turmeric on the stomach lining against acidic substances that normally would induce stomach ulcers.
When turmeric essential oils were administered first, it protected the stomach and reduced damage. Turmeric also appears to offer some impressive protection for stomach ailments.
Supplementing with Turmeric
There are a lot of turmeric supplements on the market; some better than others. Only purchase organic products from reputable companies. Because turmeric is so popular, you'll find many low-quality products produced under questionable circumstances.
If you're in the market for a high-quality supplement, Global Healing's certified-organic liquid turmeric extract contains black pepper with piperine for optimal absorption of the curcuminoids. The feedback has been incredible.
I'd like to hear from people who've supplemented with turmeric. How has it affected your life? Leave a comment below and share your experience.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.