Turmeric, a household spice in India, is a perennial plant that belongs to the ginger family. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a polyphenol that gives this spice its yellow pigment as well as its distinct flavour (slightly bitter yet peppery).
The health benefits of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
It has anti-bacterial properties: Turmeric is an effective anti-septic agent useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. Studies show that when freshly peeled and ground turmeric is mixed with ethanol and centrifuged, it forms a potent mixture to inhibit growth of bacteria. Therefore, turmeric is used as an external healing agent to prevent infection from spreading in cuts and wounds. Since turmeric is a good antiseptic agent, it can also be used to cure varied skin disorders.
It’s an anti-inflammatory agent: Many studies have revealed that curcumin present in turmeric has the same anti-inflammatory properties as many potent drugs. Turmeric is thus recommended in the case of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and disturbed bowel syndrome.Its anti-inflammatory properties is also beneficial in treating arthritis.
Helps treat digestive disorders: Curcumin present in turmeric has carminative (relieve flatulence) qualities. Studies suggest that it is also an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
Keeps the heart healthy: Among the many benefits of turmeric is that it has antiplatelet activity. This herb has the ability to reduce blood clots, aiding blood circulation. This action can provide protection against heart attacks and strokes. Turmeric also reduces blood cholesterol levels, keeping heart problems under check.
Keeps diabetes under control: Turmeric helps lower blood sugar levels, and is thus beneficial to those with diabetes.
Helps fight cancer: Some studies reveal that curcumin present in turmeric destroys cancer cells responsible for some types of cancer such as prostate, skin and breast cancer. Curcumin’s anti-oxidant properties also helps fight free radicals, thus preventing cell damage that leads to cancer. Turmeric can boost effects of certain drugs used in chemotherapy to treat cancer. In fact it’s also known to reduce certain side effects of these drugs.