Turmeric (also known as curcuma longa) is an herb that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is a close relative of ginger. Turmeric is the rhizome (or root) of a tropical plant, and also goes by the name Indian saffron. Native to South Asia, turmeric has been used for thousands of years in cuisine and medicine throughout many different cultures, particularly Indian. Turmeric is commonly used to flavor curries, mustards and other dishes, and the deep, orange color is also used to dye fabrics, food and cosmetics.
Turmeric can be used for many different purposes like heartburn, stomach problems, diarrhea, bloating, jaundice, irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder issues, high cholesterol, fatigue, headaches, fever, menstrual cramps, depression, diabetes, kidney inflammation and much more. Turmeric contains essential vitamins and minerals like manganese, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, copper and potassium.
The myriad of benefits that come from turmeric are thought to come from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, specifically the presence of curcumin, the main active ingredient. Curcumin is a powerful phytonutrient with antimicrobial, wound-healing, hypoglycemic, anticancer and neuroprotective properties. These properties make turmeric an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, as the curcumin is purported to block cytokines and enzymes that cause pain and inflammation.
There are many different ways to include turmeric in your diet. Golden paste is a common way to ingest it, and this can be made by mixing turmeric powder with water and heating it up on the stove until it forms a thick paste. Golden paste can be added to various recipes, or stirred into warm milk. Turmeric has a very fast rate of metabolism, and is poorly absorbed by the body. Adding black pepper can boost the bioavailability of turmeric thanks to a compound called piperine, which makes it easier for the body to absorb it. Simply add a teaspoon of ground black pepper to your turmeric to gain these effects.