Turmeric curcuma longa is a plant from the same family as ginger that is very common in asian cuisine. The most commonly used part is the root, fresh or dried and made into powder, it used to be a staple in our kitchen, that is, when we used to have a kitchen. Now on the road, we try to carry some with us always; with the level of effort we submit our bodies riding, running, kung-fu-ing and what not, turmeric help us in optimizing the recovery of the tissues. I first started using it and learning about it’s medicinal properties during my time in India and quickly became a basic ingredient in my recipes. It is a key element in ayurvedic medicine and modern science is starting to recognize and research it’s properties.
The most important active component of turmeric is curcumin (5%) a polyphenol with great antioxidant properties that increase exponentially when combined with black pepper and it also has vitamins and other alkaloids. Some of the therapeutic properties of turmeric are:
1. It’s a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, very useful in case of cuts or burns because it also speeds up the regeneration process of skin.
2. Helps to prevent cancer and stop the growth of already existing tumors.
3. Helps to detoxify the liver and purify the blood.
4. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
5. It’s a very effective anti-immflamatory agent, as effective as many common medicines that have adverse side effects.
6. Has analgesic properties. Because of this and being a powerful anti-immflamatory agent is very useful in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Helps in balancing fat metabolism and therefore helps in maintaining an healthy weight.
8. Useful in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders.
9. Improves digestion and relieves bloating and gas.
10. and if all this wasn’t enough, in researches is showing great results fighting the HIV virus.
We like to use it in our recipes, like our Turmeric banana shake! but there are many ways to consume turmeric. As a food supplement can be ingested in the following doses for adults(*)(**):
- Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
- Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day
** remember to always ask your health advisor of physician before consuming supplements.
I learnt to cook with turmeric during my time in India.