Dubbed as the “Queen of Spices,” turmeric is a widely used spice which has a pepper-like scent. Also known as curcuma longa, the turmeric plant is popularly used in cooking curry because of its warm and bitter taste as well as its mild fragrance that can be compared to that of ginger and orange. It is also used to give ballpark mustard its bright yellowish tinge.
The actual “fruit” of the turmeric is extracted from the ground, meaning it is the Curcuma longa plant’s root. This has a ginger-like appearance with its tough brown skin. The only difference is their flesh whereas the ginger has a pale yellow tinge while the turmeric comes at a brighter shade of the color.
Like ginger, turmeric is also a widely used medicinal root crop. It is especially popular to the Chinese and Indians as a very potent but safe anti-inflammatory agent. The World’s Healthiest Foods also summarized its nutrient content which includes manganese, iron, Vitamin B6, copper, potassium and fiber. Because of these, the turmeric crop is used to treat several health issues including:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Bowel ailments that are characterized by inflammation such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can be treated using curcumin because the plant offers an inexpensive and effective treatment that can be tolerated well by the human body. Studies on the plant shows that it inhibits the NF kappa-B, a major cellular inflammatory agent, aside from acting as an antioxidant.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Pain caused by this ailment common in the elderly can be effectively relieved by curcumin. According to a study, the plant has the ability to neutralize free radicals that cause damage healthy cells throughout the body. These free radicals also cause inflammation of the joints which can be painful if left untreated. Since it acts as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, it effectively reduces the swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
- Since it acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals that damage cells, curcumin in turmeric can also be used to effectively prevent certain types of cancers including colon, breast, prostate and lung cancers. It also has the capability to destroy mutated cells and prevent them from breeding, thereby avoiding the spread of malignant cells in the body.
- Cystic Fibrosis. This ailment is fatal as it attacks the human lungs by filling it with thick mucus that cause life-threatening infections. The study published in the Science back in 2004 found that genetic defects that cause cystic fibrosis can be corrected by curcumin—a good news to the helpless 30,000 American youth affected by the disease. The most common mutation named the “DeltaF508” was found to react to curcumin in the turmeric. It is also found to be effective in inhibiting the release of calcium through the calcium channels, thereby allowing mutated the protein transmembrane conductance regulator or CFTR to exit from the body.
- Brain Diseases. Turmeric contains curcumin that was found to increase the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor that is one of the main drivers of the neurons’ capability to form new connections in the brain. This means that including turmeric in your daily diet would help decrease the risk of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. It also has been found to be effective in reversing other age-related diseases and make a person a whole lot smarter.
- Heart Disease. According to the website AuthorityNutrition.com, the curcumin in turmeric can aid in reversing a couple of steps in the heart disease process. This is because curcumin improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels called the endothelium. Those who experience what is called an endothelial dysfunction are a step closer to having serious heart ailments, and also has one of their feet already buried as heart attack has been dubbed as the biggest killer all over the globe.