Turmeric is a plant related to ginger and grown throughout India, Central America and parts of Asia. It goes by other common names such as Indian saffron and it’s scientifically known as Curcuma longa. Turmeric rhizomes have been used in traditional medicine and feature heavily in Ayurveda to treat various conditions like breathing problems, rheumatism and fatigue. It’s still used frequently these days for the treatment of inflammation, arthritis, stomach and liver problems, skin issues, cancer and more.
Turmeric is often used as a spice in cooking and an ingredient in curry powder. It holds anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-mutagenic qualities, which provide many health benefits and treatment of different conditions. The active ingredients in turmeric are curcuminoids, which give that vibrant shade of yellow that is used to color food and cosmetics. Curcuminoids, particularly curcumin, are powerful anti-inflammatories and provide strong antioxidant properties.
Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory, and it works by blocking NF-kB, a molecule that plays a large part in the cause of inflammation in cells. It also neutralizes damaging free radicals and promotes the activity of antioxidant enzymes, which offers further pain relief. As such, turmeric is used for a variety of different pains, like eczema, headaches, menstrual cramps and more.
Turmeric can easily be added into different recipes to gain these benefits, but for a more concentrated effect, you can add a tablespoon into smoothies, soups, tea or even just mix it into a glass of milk. To use topically, combine a tablespoon or two of turmeric with the same amount of coconut oil, then mix together until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas and allow it to soak in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing off.