Terrific Turmeric

Posted on August 18, 2020

You’re probably more familiar with Turmeric as that heavenly spice which lifts the flavour of curry’s and other gourmet delights. It’s that golden ingredient which adds character to cooking but did you know what else it does?

Turmeric actually belongs to the ginger family; it’s native to South East Asia and India and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Recently, Turmeric has been the topic of scientific studies with a focus to discover more health benefits and how it may form part of natural medicines for a number of chronic illnesses.

A little bit of science is needed to fully understand how this botanical beauty is applied for health and well-being. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in Turmeric. Sometimes, you will see an expression of ‘curcuminoids’ in Turmeric since there is more than one form of this compound. When Turmeric is crushed and all of the goodies extracted, Curcumin is around about 3% of the active ingredients.

Now some school of thought suggests that while Curcumin is a potent antioxidant in its own right, others suggest that you need the other compounds in Turmeric to work synergistically with curcumin to obtain the full benefit’s. Let’s not argue the toss with both schools and accept that whatever is going on with Turmeric and Curcumin is very exciting.

Ok, the end of the science class and now on to how Curcumin/Turmeric (let’s just call it curcumin for the time being) can help to deal with aches and pains. Inflammation is no fun; we see this in a number of forms and for those suffering rheumatoid arthritis it’s a daily battle to stay on top of this disease. It’s common for sufferers to take daily doses of things like ibuprofen, aspirin or diclofenac; all of which help the cause, but long-term use of these chemicals does come with its own set of problems in particular, stomach disorders.

The scientific boffins have always pondered the anti-inflammatory power of curcumin and in their studies found that it may be just as effective as common over the counter medications at reducing inflammation (without the fear of side effects).

Shouts of hooray go up in celebration of Turmeric and its power to relieve inflammation however, there is an important caveat to keep in mind. On its own, Turmeric with is Curcumin cousins is not well absorbed by the bloodstream and unfortunately this does not support the amount needed to get that inflammation under control. But, there is also good news and that is, a compound in black pepper called ‘piperine’ seems to enhance the body’s ability to absorb curcumin from the bloodstream and that is why when you buy your bottle of Curcumin you must check if it has piperine as an ingredient.

A little bit more science, the experts have shown that curcumin combats the inflammation process by blocking a molecule called NF-kB which is the little guy responsible for turning on genes associated with inflammation.

There’s so much more amazing information available for Turmeric/Curcumin. Researchers are looking at other diseases such as joint tenderness and swelling, itching, kidney problems and possibly working favorably with blood lipids.

Our focus today has been more towards curcumin as an aid for helping with painful joints and arthritic conditions. As we age, the problem does seem to get worse however; with a positive approach to using natural compounds such as Turmeric/Curcumin; you can take actions that may just provide that measure of relief you are searching for.

One final note; NO, eating beef curry every night with lashings of Turmeric is not going to do much for you apart from satisfying your appetite and providing immense gastronomic pleasures.

Always speak to your healthcare professional when your symptoms worsen or persist.

Stay safe and be healthy