Turmeric is a spice used commonly in many eastern cuisines, especially in Indian cuisine. It has a delicious taste and a specific aroma, and it adds a unique flavor to the dishes. Not many people in the Western world know that this spice has many other uses, other than culinary, and that it can be used to treat several different ailments.
Turmeric or curcuma is obtained from a plant belonging to the family of ginger, called Curcuma longa. It has a distinct peppery taste and characteristic yellow color. It is the most dominant spice in powdered curry mixes. Aside from flavoring, it is also used for conserving and for making mustard.
For centuries, turmeric has been used as one of the most important remedies in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, where it was, and still is, used orally and topically. In those traditional medicines, it is used as a topical antiseptic for cuts and scrapes, and, if taken orally, for gastrointestinal problems like cramping, nausea, vomiting, indigestion and similar.
The active components found in turmeric have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make this spice beneficial in treatment and prevention of arthritis, other inflammatory conditions and cancer as well.
Using turmeric for digestive problems and as an antioxidant
Turmeric can be used to treat specific ailments, like those associated with the digestive tract, or to prevent diseases and conditions associated with oxidative stress due to free radicals, where antioxidant properties of turmeric come in useful.
People who want to take turmeric for these purposes can use powdered turmeric or a tincture. If powdered, 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric should be boiled in 150 milliliters of water and drank twice a day. As for the tincture, 10 milliliters of it per day should be enough.
Turmeric for inflammation
Due to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can be used to treat symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, and other inflammatory conditions, for example eye inflammations.
For oral use, it is better to use extracted products like oils and tinctures, and not the teas, because active components of turmeric do not dissolve completely in water. Essential oil of turmeric can also be used topically for minor skin infections.
People with chronic inflammatory conditions are advised to take 3 to 5 grams of 95% turmeric extract per day.
In order to treat minor inflammations or to prevent them, or simply to improve the overall health and boost the intake of antioxidants, it is recommended to use turmeric as a spice in the meals at least twice a week. It goes great with vegetables cooked in coconut milk, it is essential in curries, and improves the taste of plain white rice.