The Healing Power of Turmeric

With an ancient history of use in traditional Indian cooking and medicinal remedies, the use of Turmeric as a digestive aid, pain reliever and tonic for purifying the blood, has been documented back beyond 6000BC, to a time when plants were the dominant source of medical treatment.

Known for its mellow flavour and aromatic nature, Turmeric was traditionally sought after for its healing properties as well as for its intense yellow pigment. Similar to the natural vivid yellow found in Saffron, the precious yellow pigment found in Turmeric was used historically to dye the robes of Hindu monks. It was not until modern times that it was discovered that the colouring fraction responsible for its benefits as a pigment were also responsible for the majority of the healing qualities of this versatile herb. Once it was discovered that the part of the herb responsible for this yellowing effect was also responsible for its healing effect, Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cookery alike came under the microscope, to discover how best to capitalise on the effects of this key active ingredient known as Curcumin.

Although well tolerated by the body, one must traditionally take a lot of Turmeric to receive a small, therapeutic dose of Curcumin, this active ingredient responsible for the majority of its healing actions. Found to be most beneficial in those that naturally consume large quantities of the herb in traditional dishes on a daily basis, the benefits of a high Turmeric diet can now be experienced by anyone, in the form of concentrated Curcumin extracts.

On the back of this, the traditional use of Turmeric has extended into the medical sphere on the back of new, emerging research into Curcumin, and how its action in the body can be improved. In fact, Curcumin has now surpassed the simple benefits found in the consumption of Turmeric in traditional foods, and has now been shown to benefit a range of conditions, from inflammatory bowel disease, to arthritis. In order to optimise these benefits, one extract (formulated using phytosome technology) allows Curcumin greater access to the cell in order to improve its benefit at a much lower dose than standard Turmeric.

Increased Curcumin Absorption

Studied for its effectiveness as an extract, Curcumin has been shown to benefit a range of conditions when it is properly extracted from the whole Turmeric plant and used in therapeutic doses. New extracts involving phytosome technology, assure that the Curcumin is not only well extracted from the Turmeric plant, but that it is more bio-available (i.e. more active) in the body than Curcumin found in standard extracts or the whole plant itself.

Joint Pain Relief

The role of Curcumin in joint pain relief has to do with its role as an anti-inflammatory affecting COX2 inhibition. This common anti-inflammatory effect is shared with many mainstream, pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medications. Interestingly though, Curcumin is free of gastric side effects such as high acidity and gastric erosion, side effects that are commonly caused by pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories. In fact, Curcumin has been extensively studied in its role of reducing the pain and inflammation associated with conditions that affect the digestive system, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Relief of IBS

Beneficial for a reduction in the pain and inflammation associated with medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Curcumin works by providing a reduction in symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, and is beneficial for conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Conclusion

Studied in modern times for its effectiveness as an extract, Curcumin has surpassed the simple benefits found in the consumption of Turmeric in traditional foods, and has now been shown to benefit a range of conditions, from inflammatory bowel disease, to arthritis.

Written by Amber Foley - BNat
Amber is a degree qualified naturopath with 10 years experience working with clients, as a lecturer, writer and naturopathic trainer. Her professional aim is to educate and empower people to understand the benefits of natural health through wholefood nutrition and herbal medicines, with clients and the general public.

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