Turmeric, scientific name Curcuma longa, is one of the most well-known, and commonly used Ayurvedic spices in the world, often giving a bright yellow color to curries and rice dishes. It is used both internally and externally for health and healing. It has also been extensively researched by modern scientists wishing to discover whether turmeric really offers all the benefits that Ayurvedic medical practitioners claim.
The jury is in, and numerous studies have shown that turmeric, and in particular, its active ingredient curcumin, can have significant health benefits when used correctly, with few risks of side effects.
A powerful antioxidant
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that can help ward off disease and reduce the daily wear and tear on the body that scientists believe to be the main cause of aging.
Our many bodily functions create waste products. One of the main ones to watch out for is free radicals. They steal electrons from any source they can find in order to complete their own outer ring. The theft of these electrons weakens cells, leaving them prone to malfunction or even mutation, which can lead to cancer. The process of theft is known as oxidative stress.
Consuming antioxidants can stop this process of theft, because they have extra electrons they can easily spare, protecting your cells and DNA from attack.
Turmeric also soothes inflammation, a major cause of rheumatic conditions such as arthritis, and heart health issues. It improves circulation and can help relieve pain. It is applied to the joints to relieve aches and pains. Turmeric paste is also used to soothe and beautify skin.
Turmeric also soothes upset stomachs and promotes healthy digestion. It stabilizes blood sugar and supports liver health.
Brain and nervous system effects
Turmeric is used to support focus and concentration, and can help with cognitive issues. It enhances mood and has a calming effect on the nervous system.
In addition to supporting the joints, it also supports one’s overall physical strength. Yogis in particular use turmeric to support flexibility and strength.
The immune system
It helps balance the energies in the body and supports a health immune system. It can also be used as part of a rasayana, or longevity tonic.
Potential side effects
It is a wonderful remedy for many ailments, but it is not for everyone. Side effects to watch out for include:
Increased risk of bleeding
Increased liver function tests
Low blood pressure
These usually occur only if used in high doses. It is not recommended for pregnant women due to potential miscarriage.
Try adding turmeric to your diet and see how refreshed and vibrant you will feel.