The often overlooked importance of Turmeric
Turmeric is that orange spice, with a warm flavor often seen in Indian dishes and added to curry. Turmeric comes from the plant Curcuma longa and has been used for years in Chinese and Indian medicine. Curcumin, is the main bioactive component which you will often hear when it is being tested in medical studies.
The Indian Academy of Sciences states its biological actions as:
“antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, antifertility, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypocholesteremic activities.”
Common treatments Turmeric has been used for include IBS, jaundice, bruising and hemorrhage, menstrual pains, inhibiting cell growth (cysts and tumors) , colic, and many other conditions. Most popularly, in many studies this spice has been shown to have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects, for use with Rheumatism and post-operative surgery.
Even though it has been used in Eastern Medicine for many, many years he studies and research on Turmeric are still young, however many in America already supplement with their doctors guidance while being treated for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation.
Turmeric comes in a few different forms, obviously as a fresh and ground spice for cooking. For medicinal uses it comes as a capsule, extract, and tincture; often combined with Bromelain to increase absorption and anti-inflammatory effects (Univ. of Maryland Medical).
Recommended doses are as followed:
- Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
(Univ. of Maryland Medical).
***PLEASE consult with your doctor before you supplement with anything, as they do have interactions with prescription drugs, in this case especially blood thinners and stomach acid prescriptions.***
COOKING with Turmeric
This is actually one of my favorite spices. As a relative to Ginger it gives a very warm, slightly bitter flavor, most often used in curries. I add it to many dishes alone or with other complimenting spices, particularly like it on eggs, roasted or sauteed vegetables, rice, in sauces and dips even on popcorn. Just start with some basics and see what you think!
Turmeric and curcumin: biological actions and medicinal applications; Chattopadhyay, Ishita ; Biswas, Kaushik ; Bandyopadhyay, Uday ; Banerjee, Ranajit K (2004) Turmeric and curcumin: biological actions and medicinal applications Current science, 87 (1). pp. 44-53. ISSN 0011-3891University of Maryland Medical; http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/turmeric-000277.htm