Scientifically called Curcuma longa, turmeric is one of the most studied herbs in science. It grows in India and several other Southeast Asian countries. Turmeric powder is yellow and is often used as a coloring agent in South Asian cuisines. In fact, most often, we enjoy turmeric when flavoring and coloring our favorite Indian dishes. It is technically in the form of a root, but most often is used in its dried powdered form.
The benefits of turmeric are largely due to its phytochemistry. The compounds in turmeric called curcuminoids have several advantages for human health. It also contains volatile oils called turmerone,
Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. One ounce of turmeric gives around a fourth of your daily requirement of manganese and over a fifth of your daily requirement of iron. In addition to manganese and iron, this herb is also a wonderful source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin C.
Turmeric has also been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in both Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The curcumin boosts the brain-derived Neurotrophic factor which is linked to improved brain function and a lowers one’s risk of brain diseases. It also dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the body. To be particular, turmeric boosts the activity of the body’s antioxidant enzymes and is itself a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
Perhaps the boldest claim that involves turmeric is the fact that it can help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer. Researchers have been studying turmeric as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. Studies have shown that an ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals. Although no evidence has shown this can for sure treat cancer in humans, it gives us hope that such an ingredient has some impact on the growth of cancerous cells.
Skin and Hair Benefits
Compounds in turmeric prevent hair loss and can help treat scalp-related conditions like dandruff. In particular, mixing turmeric and olive oil and using this in your hair can eliminate dandruff and improve scalp health. Just mix equal parts of both and leave it on your hair for 20 minutes before shampooing. The list of benefits to the skin is even longer: turmeric can aid in acne treatment, prevent wrinkles, cure stretch marks, soothe burns, treat skin pigmentation, heal cracked feet, aid in exfoliation, and help treat psoriasis.
Overall, there is no doubt that turmeric has superb benefits. Not only does it positively impact your health, but it also adds flavor to your favorite dishes. If the taste isn’t for you, there are also turmeric supplements that you can easily buy on sites like Amazon.