What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant. In India, turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a powerful, natural remedy and medicinal herb.
An ingredient in most curries and mustards, turmeric has a long history of being used as more than just a spice. Turmeric’s yellow pigment has been used as a dye. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine traditions use turmeric in treatments. Turmeric has also held a place in religious ceremonies across India for centuries.
Today, supplement makers say turmeric may be useful for people with inflammation or joint pain, or for those who want to take antioxidants, which turmeric contains. Turmeric is also purported to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers, gallstones, wounds and eczema, and aid digestion.
The turmeric plant, or Curcuma longa, is an herb closely related to ginger. It’s cultivated in tropical climates across Asia for its rootstocks, which supply the flavor and pigment of the plant. The rootstocks — which grow underground, but are more of a stem than a true root — can be ground into a paste, or dried and ground into a powder.
Turmeric powder is a bright yellow powder made by dry grinding of mature turmeric rhizomes (underground stems). The use of turmeric for coloring and flavoring food, for cosmetic purposes and for medicinal properties dates back to the ancient Vedic culture of India. Used in most Indian curries, this spice has almost no calories (1 tablespoon = 24 calories) and zero cholesterol. It is rich in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
The wide range of turmeric health benefits come mainly from its main ingredient, curcumin. This widely researched component of turmeric is highly therapeutic and is used in various drugs and pharmaceutics. Boosting immunity is one of its properties.
Boosting Immunity – Curcumin has a huge therapeutic value and boosting immunity is one of the most important properties of curcumin.
According to studies, Jagetia and Aggarwal at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, reported – “Interestingly, curcumin at low doses can also enhance antibody responses. This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system.”
Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant Property – Free radical causing oxidative damage of DNA and proteins are associated with a variety of chronic diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Curcumin plays an important role in curbing these conditions. Curcumin down-regulates certain inflammatory transcription factors such as kappaB, enzymes such as cyclooxygenase 2 and 5 lipoxygenase, and cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) and hinders the development of these diseases.
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