Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda for the last 6,000 years, most of us have a little in our curry and if you are a health advocate or foodie you will have at some point read a health article somewhere about the powers of turmeric – turmeric latte is a frequently suggested popular choice.
Last month, there was mainstream media skepticism about the reputed healthy benefits so I wanted to put out some of the research for this powerful spice that has stood the test against many drugs but more importantly without side effects.
The main healing component of turmeric is curcumin which makes up 2-5%, this is often used in supplemental form for treating conditions.
There are now over 2,000 studies on pubmed looking at its use for various conditions..
Anti-depressant – this study showed that turmeric could be used as a treatment for depressed patients when compared against and in conjunction with Prozac. The study also showed no side affects with using turmeric.
Anti-inflammatory – here is a meta analysis of curcumin affects on patients with high degrees of systemic inflammation
Pain Management – this study found turmeric to be as effective as ibuprofen for treating osteoarthritis but with less abdominal pain and discomfort following treatment.
Cancer Prevention – Here curcumin and resveratrol (antioxidents in berries) were found to have an anti-prolific affect on tumour cells and there are many studies like this one. Cancer UK has discussed that curcumin can stop precancerous changes becoming cancer.
How do we use turmeric?
For most of us there is no harm and certainly many benefits to using turmeric as a spice in culinary dishes – just make sure you go organic!
A good guide would be to add 1/2 -2 teaspoons of turmeric to your daily routine. I find this very easy to do, it has a pleasant earthy taste to it when added in small amounts. It is worth noting for maximum health benefits you need to combine turmeric with black pepper and some fat. Black pepper enhances it’s bio-availability because it contains a natural drug inhibitor called pepperine so it stops the liver clearing the turmeric too quickly, 1 study has shown it increases the bio-availability of turmeric by 2000% and because turmeric is fat-soluble you need to add a fat too.