Its yellow color and its characteristic flavor have earned it a prominent place among the condiments used in kitchens around the world. But far from being just a gastronomic spice, turmeric has also been used in natural medicine for centuries, especially in India, where it is part of Ayurveda medicine or in China, where it forms part of its traditional medicine.
In the West, it began to be used as an anti-inflammatory remedy (in fact, it is one of its most well-known benefits, although the list is really broad) and, more recently, associated with its use in the fight against some types of cancer.
Turmeric: Origin and Properties
It belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae and is closely related to ginger (in fact, they share many properties, besides the appearance and color of part of their product), turmeric originates in Southeast Asia and is included in the list of plants classified as perennials.
Also known as the saffron stick (because its name derives from the ‘kurkum’, meaning saffron) or yuquilla.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. The same is obtained from the rhizome of the plant and is responsible for giving the characteristic yellow color to this plant, in addition to the “cause” of many of the benefits that moderate consumption and in amounts indicated by specialists, contributes to improving our Health.
Turmeric : Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits
As we said at the outset, the list of advantages that turmeric brings to health is very broad, but we will focus on the most prominent and the most habitual, whose benefit has really been demonstrated:
1.An Anti-Inflammatory: It is the best-known use of this Asian plant. In fact, in the West began to be used by this property. Something that is explained due to its high content of curcuminoids.
For this reason, turmeric is usually recommended for cases of arthritis, as it avoids joint stiffness, improving joint movement, colitis, intestinal diseases, menstrual pains or carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar such health problems.
2.Digestive Problems: Turmeric is a plant that facilitates digestion, so its use is very frequent to avoid problems such as gas, improve cases of constipation or diarrhea, lack of appetite, slow digestion or chronic gastritis, among others.
3.Protects the Liver: Due to antioxidant properties and hepatoprotective components, this plant has been used to treat, problems related to the liver.
It is s also helpful in treating treat cases such as removal of gallstones; improve (or avoid) the problems of cirrhosis, fatty liver or high cholesterol, among others.
4.Antidepressant: Turmeric is also a natural antidepressant and without side effects. It is one of the most common uses of this plant in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is used, as we said, to treat cases of depression, as well as affective disorders or problems affecting the nervous system or our natural mood in general.
5.Anti-Cancer: studies have shown, that urmeric has at least 10 anti-tumor properties, which means that not only reduce the symptoms in a person which has already contracted the disease, but also helps prevent the extent of it. Some of these properties include beta-carotene, curcumin, curcumin, terpineol or lemon.
6.Cardiovascular Protector: and it has been shown that moderate, but continued consumption of this plant in our healthy and balanced diet also improves heart health, decreases triglycerides and cholesterol.I is due to antioxidant enzymes, as well as the Vitamin C.
7.Improves Immune System: It increases the defenses of our immune system, protecting us, for example, against possible virulent colds, attacks asthma or bronchial problems, in general.
How to use Turmeric
When buying it, it must be taken into account that, today, it can be found in practically any commercial area, but not to be confused with tartrazine , which is of chemical dye and the non-natural origin and is usually only used as a colorant.
The best way to take advantage of the properties of this plant is to use 1 to 3 tablespoons ground turmeric at in cooking, for example, meat, fish or vegetables and do so only a minute before putting out the fire, so that it does not lose its properties.
It can also be added to raw recipes, such as homemade mayonnaise, gazpacho or when we make homemade hamburgers or beat eggs for an omelet. In the latter two cases, the number of tablespoons is not recommended to pass from one.