Turmeric root

Curcuma longa

Photo by Ulrich Prokop (Scops 11:28, 11 February 2007 (UTC)) via Wikimedia Commons

Description

Turmeric, a ginger-like plant, has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to aid digestion, soothe fevers, treat jaundice and other liver-related illnesses, heal wounds and treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. Modern medicine confirms that turmeric contains compounds that have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Turmeric is also believed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Parts used

The root, or rhizome.

Constituents

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.

Medicinal uses

Researchers studying the effects of curcumin in relation to Alzheimer’s disease noted that elderly people living in India, where turmeric is consumed in high quantities, experienced a far lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease than their equivalent age group in the United States, where the spice is rarely used. Further research shows turmeric’s ability to remove the build-up in the brain of amyloid plaque, which is believed to put people at risk for developing the condition.
According to well-known holistic health practitioner Dr Andrew Weil, turmeric reduces the carcinogenic compound that forms when meat is fried, grilled or boiled by up to 40%. He also promotes it as effective in treating melanoma and halting the spread of breast cancer.
Turmeric is recommended to:

  • Improve general wellbeing.
  • Improve liver function.
  • Help in the management of diabetes.
  • Relieve obesity-induced glucose intolerance.
  • Reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries.
  • Support health in patients on multi-drug regimens for conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
  • Treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as muscular pains such as fibromyalgia.
  • Assist in reducing inflammatory reactions and relieve pain caused by headaches and cramping.
  • Help prevent and treat heart disease.
  • Lower bad cholesterol and increase food cholesterol.
  • Promote recovery from urinary tract and fungal infections.
  • Preliminary studies show that turmeric could be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers.
  • Improve white blood cell count after radiation treatment.
  • Help heal minor wounds and burns, and treat psoriasis and other skin disorders (when applied topically).

CAUTION

Talk to your medical practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
Few ill-effects of consuming moderate amounts of turmeric have been reported, but if you plan to use concentrated doses of curcumin, consult your medical practitioner before starting to prevent any interference with medication or other components of your treatment.

Flora Force Products containing Turmeric

Domestic & culinary uses

Turmeric & other spices
Turmeric has a warm taste and is generally used to flavour and colour curries, mustard, cheese and, of course, fragrant yellow rice.
Photo by Dharmadhyaksha (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cultivation

Turmeric is a tropical plant that does well when given abundant heat and moisture. It will grow well in any region that has a temperate summer, and will die in the winter. Plant in late spring.

Information in our herb library is intended only as a general reference for further exploration. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and does not provide complete dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription medicines. Accordingly, this information should only be used under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified health practitioner such as a registered homeopath, naturopath or phytotherapist.