The power of turmeric

turmeric

In the southern soil of India
Thrives a thick, beloved plant
Leaves of gold are tipped with rose hues
And its oil enhances chants

Sometimes called curcuma longa
Its roots promise love and health
Fragrant curries, healing powders
Indian saffron, sign of wealth

Warm and gentle is the fragrance
Earthy subtle undertones
Soon evolving to a sweetness
Therapy for weary bones

Brides are spread with its thick mixture
In the land of Bangladesh
Bodies gleaming golden ochre
Deep red henna hands enmeshed

But like every panacea
This spice has its bitter side
When combined with clove or ginger
Jekyll turns to bleeding Hyde

There are many healing flora
Flourishing in distant fields
Turmeric is one such blessing
In its golden orange yields

In the southern soil of India
Thrives a thick, beloved plant
Leaves of gold are tipped with rose hues
And its oil enhances chants. 

by Liilia Talts Morrison

Turmeric, the staple ingredient of curry, has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb; it is referred to as ‘holy powder’. It is a root belonging to the same family as ginger and its vivid orange flesh is responsible for colouring curry yellow. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to strengthen liver function and treat wounds and infections.

Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. In clinical trials its anti-inflammmatory activity has been shown to be comparable to drugs such as hydrocortisone and ibuprofen. Curcumin belongs to a chemical group known as curcuminoids which reduce inflammation by blocking prostaglandin activity.

Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant capacity boosts the immune system. It is full of potent biochemical compounds called polyphenols, as well as vitamins and minerals. It is is up to 10 times more potent than vitamins C and E and also enhances the production of glutathione, the body’s most abundant antioxidant.

Turmeric is also excellent for cardiovascular health by helping to prevent unwanted blood clots by its anti-platelet, blood thinning activity. It can be helpful in the prevention and treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, almost mustardy taste. It is best to consume it with black pepper  because alone it is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream; combining it with pepper enhances absorption by 2000%. Curcumin is fat soluble, so it always best to combine it with a meal containing fat.

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9 responses to “The power of turmeric

  1. Ha! Excellent post! I just shared a turmeric-based recipe on my blog, so this recap of the virtues of turmeric is very welcome and feels appropriate. I love how people ask my yoga teacher: my articulations hurt, I’ve got a cold, this is wrong, that is painful…, and no matter what their problem is, his answer is invariably: turmeric and/or ginger!

  2. Wonderful and so informative. An Indian friend of mine urged me to consume turmeric in hot milk with black pepper. I try to do this every day. I wonder what the shelf life of the powdered stuff is. I bought a large bag years ago and am still working my way through it. Do you know?

  3. When I was studying to get my certificate in herbalism about 12 years ago, the head of the program cited turmeric for absolutely everything~ stomach issues, skin issues, joints, chronic inflammation~ it became kind of a joke among us students. Now it seems like the scientific community is in agreement that turmeric is indeed great for us! It has to be the most researched herb in existence~ I love it! Thanks for the info on adding black pepper to it…I’ve been taking it straight for years so it’ll be interesting to see if adding the pepper does anything noticeable to me and my issues. :0)

  4. I have a friend who drinks a glass of warm water with shredded turmeric every morning, she swears by the stuff for everything!
    Thank you for writing this post, I think I might just follow her lead

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