Turmeric, also known by its botanical name Curcuma longa, is a common Indian spice used to make those oh-so-delicious curries. But did you know that turmeric also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic tradition for digestion and pain? Turmeric is actually related to ginger. The rhizome (underground stem) is the part often utilized for its medicinal qualities. The active constituents are a group of compounds called curcuminoids (most supplements are standardized to 95% curcuminoids). One of these, curcumin, is what gives turmeric its golden yellow color and is probably responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Turmeric is believed to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme; this is similar to the action of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
A comprehensive review of several hundred turmeric studies by James A. PhD was published in 2007 in Alternative & Complementary Therapies. He concluded that turmeric seemed to do better than many conventional drugs for such diseases as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and cancer. Not to mention, it did so without the side effect profile of the pharmaceuticals. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding studies to investigate the active compounds in turmeric, in an effort to better understand turmeric’s health effects in humans. Whether you want to add some warm spice to your food, soothe indigestion, or balance inflammation, consider adding more turmeric into your diet. Here are two simple recipes from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to get you started:
As always, let me know what you think and feel free to share any other tasty turmeric recipes...
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Great recipes there! Yes, there is abundant research now to back up the incredible benefits of curcumin, which include anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer, to name just a few. I recently devoted a blog post to the subject on my blog: