Gardening

Turmeric: spice with extraordinary properties

You’ve probably heard of turmeric and may have taken it or applied it as a mask on your skin. In this post we will tell you the most curious, unknown and contrasted data about the therapeutic action of turmeric.

Also, at the end of the post I invite you to watch a video in which I summarize the most interesting and remarkable information.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, Curcuma longa L. , a plant of Asian origin. Its useful part is its rhizomes which are thick stems that grow underground. Turmeric is similar to ginger but is smaller in size and has a very characteristic orange hue due to the presence of curcuminoids .

Turmeric is commonly used as a spice in Asian culture, although it is also used as a natural dye and for medicinal purposes, since, since ancient times, turmeric has been attributed multiple beneficial health properties 1,2,3, 4

Other common names for turmeric are: chopstick, turmeric, root saffron, yuquilla, and Arabic or Indian saffron.

When buying turmeric, make sure it’s organically grown and trusted, like this organic turmeric

In this article you will discover what are the properties and active principles of turmeric, the benefits of consuming this spice, the contraindications to the use of turmeric, how it is taken, how turmeric water is made and how turmeric tastes .

Properties and active principles of turmeric

Among the active principles of turmeric we find volatile oils (2-7%) composed of turmerone, sesquiterpenes with p-tolimethylcarbinol, atlantone, aturmerone, and 60% zingiberene, monodesmethoxycurcumin (0.8%) and didesmethoxycurcumin (0 ,5 %).

Other compounds are curcuminoids, which are responsible for the characteristic yellow / orange color. These are non-volatile fat-soluble polyphenols derived from dicinamoylmethane; 75-80% is made up of curcumin (curcumin I / diferuloylmethane) and the rest is made up of curcumin II (demethoxycurcumin) and curcumin III (bis-demethoxycurcumin) 5 .

These compounds, mainly curcumin, are responsible for the medicinal properties that turmeric possesses . Among which we highlight:

Digestive properties: Increases mucus secretion, improving digestion and decreasing dyspepsia problems 6 . It reduces the secretion of stomach acid and inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori and the interleukin produced by it 3 . On the other hand, curcumin protects the intestine from harmful markers 3

In the bile: It favors the secretion of bile acids and bilirubin and improves the composition of the bile, so that the cholesterol present in it stays better in solution and takes longer to precipitate, thus avoiding the formation of gallstones .

Hepatoproector properties: In the liver, turmeric acts by promoting the elimination of toxins but also, this wonderful spice has a protective action on the liver, since it protects it against damage caused by different agents 6

Anti-inflammatory properties: It is capable of inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins 7 Curcumin prevents inflammatory processes , both acute and chronic 6 . In addition, it reduces joint inflammation in people with arthritis.

Immunomodulatory properties : It exerts a regulatory effect on the balance between th1 and th2 cells 6 . Studies in rats have shown that turmeric increases the response of splenic lymphocytes to mitogens 3 . Also note that turmeric acts as an adaptogen , helping the body in situations of internal and external stress 2 .

Antimicrobial and Antifungal Properties : Turmeric oil and curcumin have been proven to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and fungicidal effects. In addition, the latter is very toxic to salmonella 3

On the skin: Inhibits the effect of the oxidation of the DNA of the epidermis and modulates the genetic expression of proto-oncogenes induced by carcinogenic agents, reducing the risk of skin cancer . In addition, at the topical level, it improves healing and reduces signs of aging 3

In the respiratory system: Positive effects of the volatile turmeric oil have been observed in patients with asthmatic bronchitis and inhibits the proliferation of lung cancer 3

Antioxidant properties: Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, preventing lipid peroxidation and stabilizing membranes. It also acts positively on fatty acids in the liver, kidney, spleen and brain 3

Anti-carcinogenic properties: Decreases angiogenesis, inhibiting tumor spread, has a cytoprotective and chemoprotective effect, and also acts as a radioprotector against UV rays 3

Gastronomic properties: It is used as a condiment in various dishes and meals and as a primary part in cooking recipes, mainly Asian. It is also used as a substitute coloring for saffron , however, both flavors are very different 8

Cosmetic properties: In India, it is used to eliminate the growth of body hair and to give a vivid golden color to the skin in the form of external applications 8

Other properties of turmeric: Its high pigmentation makes it useful as a dye in the textile industry 8

turmeric

Read How to plant turmeric

Turmeric benefits

  • Relieves pain and accelerates the healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers 6 .
  • Improves digestion 2
  • Eliminates toxins and waste products from the body 2
  • Turmeric cleanses the blood by inhibiting infections and fever 2
  • It is a powerful anti-inflammatory 2
  • Lowers cholesterol 9
  • Protects the liver 9
  • Decreases the formation of gallstones 9
  • Inhibits tumor growth and proliferation 9
  • Reduces pain caused by arthritis 9
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s and reduces brain deterioration 9
  • Improves healing 10
  • Prevents cataracts 10
  • It is a powerful astringent for the skin 10
  • Protects skin from aging 10
  • Helps in the treatment of dandruff and hair growth 10

Turmeric contraindications

At high doses, it can promote the production of kidney stones in predisposed people.

Its use is not recommended in pregnant and lactating women.

Its excessive consumption can cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach irritation.

Due to its anticoagulant and antiplatelet aggregating effect, those who consume this type of medication should be cautious 9 .

Contraindicated in cases of large gallstones and obstructions 4

Read How to make a turmeric mask for radiant skin

How to take turmeric?

As a good spice, turmeric can be used as part of our recipes. In addition, turmeric brings an orange color to food.

As a food supplement, in the form of tea, infusion or as turmeric water.

Its dose depends on the indication and it has been shown to be safe even at very high doses, always under the supervision of a specialist.

How to prepare turmeric water?

You need a glass with 150 ml of warm water and a teaspoon of turmeric.

Add the turmeric to the glass of warm water and now you need to mix and stir constantly to dissolve the turmeric well. Drink while still agitated (before settles).

It can be taken in the morning on an empty stomach or at any other time throughout the day.

What does turmeric taste like?

This spice has a bitter taste, slightly spicy, with a hint of musk.

It cannot be said that it has a palatable taste for most people. Therefore, it is better to use it in small quantities, so that it does not add too much bitterness to the food.

However, after knowing the properties and benefits of turmeric , you will surely get used to its taste soon.

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References

  1. https://www.actaf.co.cu/revistas/condimentos/C%C3%BArcuma.pdf
  2. https://curcumamedicinal.com/download/i/mark_dl/u/4012738945/4617572366/curcuma-andres.pdf
  3. https://farmacia.ugr.es/ars/pdf/197.pdf
  4. https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_industryhealthiermedica187.htm
  5. https://europa21.es/Descargas/curcuma.pdf
  6. https://www.naturafoundation.es/?objectID=45&action=pdf&id=39944
  7. https://147.96.70.122/Web/TFG/TFG/Memoria/CARMEN%20WILSON%20PE%C3%91A.pdf
  8. https://www.bdigital.unal.edu.co/1091/1/claudiamarcelamontanocuartas.2004.pdf
  9. https://urnbiz.com/_documents/tumericinformation.pdf
  10. https://eprints.ucm.es/27836/1/C%C3%9ARCUMA%20%20Paula%20Saiz.pdf

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