Turmeric, scientifically known as Curcuma longa, is an herbaceous plant in the ginger family. When not used fresh, turmeric is typically dried and ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice (think curry). The spice has an earthy, slightly bitter, slightly peppery hot flavor and a mustardy smell.

Aside from its culinary background, turmeric (often called the “Queen’s spice) has been used for thousands of years in folk and traditional medicine. Turmeric is known to contain a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems. It has been used as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, and gallbladder disorders. It helps with heartburn, headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, and menstrual problems. It can be used topically as a treatment for sores, and basically for its antimicrobial properties. Other uses include depression, water retention, worms, kidney problems, insect bites, bruising, and eye infections.

Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, which are known for their strong anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant qualities. These properties may provide relief for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, as well as diseases that stem off of inflammatory issues, such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndromes, and Alzheimer’s. Curcuminoids can inhibit the molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.

Turmeric can help prevent and inhibit prostate cancer, and even destroy existing cancer cells. It also has a preventative effect against tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, breast carcinomas, and colon carcinomas.

Turmeric can be used to help treat diabetes by helping to moderate the body’s insulin levels. It is also effective in helping reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. However, it is best to consult with a health professional before taking turmeric capsules, as it can cause hypoglycemia when combined with other medications.

Turmeric is also loaded with many healthy nutrients, such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, E, and K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Given the numerous health benefits, adding this herb to your diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your wellness. If you choose the powder form, it will not only act as a health booster, but also add a delicious spice to a variety of dishes! It can also be taken in pill or capsule form.

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For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner before use to discuss effects and possible interactions.