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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest Post by Jennifer: Tapping Into The Benefits of Turmeric

Tapping Into The Benefits of Turmeric

By now, most people who have the slightest interest in health and healthcare products, would have heard a thing or two about Turmeric. If not, a ton of literature abounds online via research papers, articles and reviews which give the 411 on turmeric or turmeric curcumin, what it does and what people think about it. A quick Google search (even if you spell it incorrectly) is all it takes if one needs to get up to speed before continuing through this article.
Okay, now back to the topic. When it comes on to what are termed as super herbs and spices, turmeric is bound to come up for consideration. A brief history of the plant (assuming that you checked this out in your recent Google search), will show that it has been in use for many years, particularly in ancient Indian civilization, in medicine, cooking and religion. Just in case you didn’t bother to do the research, turmeric (scientifically called curcuma longa) is the main ingredient in curry, a popular spice used in many dishes. Additionally, it has been used in Southeastern states, especially India for more than 3,000 years to treat ailments ranging from cuts and bruises to stomach bugs. In more recent times, it has been labeled as a powerful antioxidant and has been heavily researched for claims that it can treat several lifestyle illnesses now affecting people across the globe. Guess you’re now wondering why I made you do the research if I was going to tell you anyway, right? Well, there’s much more to know about turmeric, like the various ways one can tap into its many benefits. Maybe you haven’t researched the benefits as yet, so, just to briefly skim over: turmeric is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It boosts the immune system, regulates blood sugar, soothes aching joints and is currently being studied for its reported claims to combat diabetes, prediabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

In terms of academic research, the curcuminoid portion (curcumin for short) is the main component of turmeric which has been under the microscope. Not surprisingly, it is what constitutes the bright yellow-orange pigment which the plant is famous for and what makes up most turmeric supplements. As its popularity has grown, so has the number of supplements purporting to provide all the health benefits that turmeric curcumin has to offer. Apart from fancy packaging and graphics, they are more or less all the same. Many turmeric curcumin supplements are usually 95% standardized curcuminoids, with the other 5% containing additives such as piperine (from black pepper) or other agents to make it easier to absorb (its bioavailability is low on its own). The recommended dosage is anywhere between 400 milligrams up to 3 grams per day and is considered safe to take by adults if not abused. However, curcumin supplements are not generally recommended for pregnant women unless given the green light by a doctor. Most supplements come in capsule form, usually 30 or 60 tablets.

As mentioned before, turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry, so if you have had a curry dish in the past, then you have had turmeric in your body before. Curry is not the only way that it can be had from cooking though. The powder (ground turmeric made by dehydrating boiled turmeric) is used in many popular dishes and concoctions said to relive several ailments. Turmeric powder in eggs, soups, sauces, vegetables and in most dishes is a common practice for many turmeric enthusiasts. Added to milk, it makes what is termed as ‘golden milk’ and the Japanese have made a famous turmeric tea which is sold in restaurants. Its use in food runs the full gamut, winding up in food coloring, flavoring, smoothies and ice cream. It is important to note that while turmeric supplements may not be readily recommended for pregnant women, there is no problem for them to have it in food in normal proportions.

Topical Applications
The Indians perfected the use of turmeric more than 3,000 years ago as it was featured prominently in their Ayurvedic system of medicine which has stood the test of time and is still practiced up to present day. Many treatments incorporating turmeric are based on or borrow from practices used by the Indians. A paste made from turmeric is commonly mixed with water, honey or other substances to make skin scrubs and treat various skin blemishes. Commercially, it is included in some sunscreen screen products and cosmetics such as facial powders and creams. It is applied to cuts, scrapes, burns and skin lesions. Also, it is applied to hair to treat dandruff and itchy scalp and is included in some hair products.
Benefitting from turmeric is quite easy based on the number of ways it can be had and as you would have recognized, you probably have had it in one form or the other in the past. After all, almost everyone has had a tasty dish of curried something. Also, whether you have current health issues or just want to be preventative, turmeric can be safely had by all and sundry (specifically adults) without any adverse effects.

Author’s bio:
Jennifer is a mother of two amazing daughters, Haley and Chelsea, as well as a wife to an awesome husband Robert. To round out the family, she also has two dogs that seem to run the house. Jen loves to shop and share her experiences (both good and bad) on various products on her blog

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