Turmeric is most often associated with curry dishes and yellow mustard. It's most active constituent is Curcumin (The pigment that gives turmeric it's notable yellow-orange color).
Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties; curcuminoids counteract free radicals, are highly antioxidant, and also help to relieve arthritis pain and stiffness (help with arthritis is most likely attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties).
Other Notable Beneficial Effects:
Aids in Digestion
Promotes and Regulates Proper Metabolism
(Adaptive: i.e. stabalizes both excesses and deficiencies)
Maintains internal flora
Inhibits Oxidation of Cholesterol
(Which may be Beneficial to Heart Health)
Supports Healthy Liver Function and Detox
Helps Protect the Liver from Internal Toxins
Helps Purify the Blood
Has Cancer Fighting Properties
Halts Cell Proliferation
Helps Destroy Mutated Cells
Inhibits Protein Synthesis
Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 gene factors. Other therapeutic factors indicate its' beneficial use for: Psoriasis, Cataracts, Gallstones, Cystic Fibrosis, Crohn's, and Type II Diabetes, among others.
I have turmeric powder in my spice cabinet. I often use it in soups, stews, lentils. There is a huge difference between curry powder and just plain turmeric powder. For one thing there is little if any curcumin actually in most curry powders. There is a ton of the heatlhy curcuminoids in turmeric powder. Be careful...it is very easy to stain most any surface with the powder. That's why they use it to color mustard.
I also, personally, take turmeric pills as a part of my supplement program. You can usually find turmeric as an ingredient in most liver supportive formulas as well as detox formulas. I take it a couple of times a week.
As always consult your physician, nutritionist, or health care provider before starting or changing any supplement regimen.