What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that has been consumed for thousands of years in India and China. It is used extensively in cooking for its rich flavor as well as its deep yellow- orange color, but it is also considered to be a key medicinal herb used for many health conditions.
Curcumin, one of the ingredients in turmeric, is believed to help reduce inflammation. Various studies have suggested that turmeric may help with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, colorectal cancer, various skin diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, colitis, stomach ulcers, high cholesterol, muscle sprains, swelling, diabetes and even viral infections. It can also be used an an antiseptic for cleaning wounds.
Many believe that turmeric promotes the health of the liver protecting against liver diseases. Others also believe that it stimulates the gallbladder, reduces cholesterol levels, relieves painful menstruation, helps with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, diabetes and Chrohn’s disease.
As you can see, the list is quite long in what turmeric supports with the human body. Basically, what other food substance has this kind of track record?
The reason it helps so many health issues is primarily because of its anti-inflammatory properties. But it also is an antioxidant with anti-viral, anti-bacterial , anti-fungal and anti-cancer potential. Another huge benefit in using turmeric is that it is believed to produce fewer side effects than commonly used pain relievers. Curcumin produces no known toxicity.
According to an article published in the National Institute of Health: Turmeric is considered a safe, nontoxic, and effective alternative for many conventional drugs due to its distinguished therapeutic properties and multiple effects on various systems of the body. Its role in the treatment of cancers is very promising.
The Role of Turmeric with Alzheimer’s Disease
Various studies have shown a lower rate of Alzheimer’s Disease in India. When comparing adults aged 70 to 79 years old in India with adults of the same age in the United Stated, adults in the United States have a 4.4 higher rate of Alzheimer’s.
A study conducted at UCLA found that curcumin may help boost the immune system to clear the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease. (The formation of the beta-amyloid plaques along with inflammation and oxidation is believed to be a key contributing factor to the disease.) Alzheimer patients treated with curcumin when compared to those not treated with curcumin showed an impoved ingestion of the plaques. In summary curcumin may support the immune system to clear amyloid protein.
The Role of Turmeric in Oral Health
Turmeric has shown to provide value even in oral health.
Dental Pain – Turmeric has been shown to eliminate pain and swelling with dental pain when an aching tooth is massaged with roasted ground turmeric.
Periodontal issues can be helped by applying a turmeric paste twice daily. Turmeric can also be effectively used as a mouth wash to help with plaque.
How to Make Use of Turmeric
Turmeric can be swallowed as a capsule, applied as a powder in cooking, made into a paste or ointment so it can be easily applied to the skin or it can be made into a tea. As you can see, there are many ways to make use of this incredible herb. There are no standardized doses recommended, however, some practitioners recommend taking a teaspoon of the powdered spice with each meal. Enagic, the manufacturer of Ukon, recommends taking 5 capsules daily.
For Best Absorption
One of the issues with curcumin is that it is not easily absorbed. To maximize absorption it is best to combine fall turmeric with spring turmeric. Spring turmeric is higher in minerals and essential oils while fall turmeric is higher in curcumin. When the spring turmeric is combined with the fall turmeric, they end up working together synergistically. With the combination, the body is able to absorb much more of the curcumin.
How to Select it
If you want to buy it fresh, I would recommend always buying organic. Unfortunately, much of our produce available in the stores today has been irradiated. Buying it organically still doesn’t mean it hasn’t been irradiated, but it is less likely. Also, if you can find it at an ethnic market, it is more likely to be of a higher quality. Also, the color of the turmeric does not determine the quality. The color can vary depending on the variety of the herb.
You Want Turmeric not Curry
Since curcumin in the turmeric is the key ingredient, you will want to buy turmeric rather than curry powder. In a study analyzing 28 different spice products labeled as turmeric or curry powders, curcumin was found to be substantially higher in the turmeric powder. The curry powder samples had relatively small amounts of curcumin present.
Turmeric tea is another way to enjoy this incredible herb and benefit from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features. My suggestion for all of you early morning coffee drinkers – try switching to tea. You may fall in love with it and end up reaping a huge health benefit in the process.
The Raw Ingredients Needed
Enagic sells Tumeric (Ukon) tea or you can make your own. Personally, I prefer using Enagic’s tea because every plant based product is only as good as the soil that it is grown on. When I go to the store to buy turmeric, unless I find out which farmer the store buys from and then find out what the farmer does with his or her soil, I have no idea of the quality of the turmeric I’m purchasing. It could be turmeric with very limited nutritional value.
If you want to make your own, then you have the choice of using the whole root or a ground or powdered version.
How Do you Make the Tea?
Bring your water to a simmer (preferably using Kangen Water), then add peeled and minced ginger root, turmeric and cinnamon, sliced oranges and sea salt.
2 cups water
1 inch fresh minced ginger root
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
When serving add: orange slice, honey and juice of one lemon.