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Turmeric: what is it and 10 main health benefits

Turmeric, also known as curcuma, is a type of flowering plant, whose roots have medicinal properties and are usually ground up into a powder. Turmeric powder is usually used to season meat or vegetables, especially in India and eastern countries. 

As well as having great antioxidant potential, turmeric can also be used as a natural remedy to improve gastrointestinal disorders, fever, colds, and even to lower high cholesterol.  

Turmeric is a plant measuring around 60 cm and it has long, shiny leaves and long orange roots. The plant’s scientific name is Curcuma longa and it can be found in dome natural health stores, custom-med compounding pharmacies, and even some grocery stores.

Turmeric: what is it and 10 main health benefits

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and digestive-aiding compounds. Therefore it has many health benefits such has:

  1. Improving digestion;
  2. Helping weight loss;
  3. Fighting colds and flu;
  4. Preventing asthma attacks;
  5. Detoxing the liver;
  6. Regulating gastrointestinal microbiota;
  7. Regulating cholesterol levels;
  8. Stimulating the immune system;
  9. Relieving skin inflammations, such as eczema, acne or psoriasis;
  10. Improving the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. 

Additionally, turmeric can also helps to inhibit the formation of blood clots and even contributes to relieving premenstrual tension.

The main active ingredient responsible for turmeric’s medicinal potential is curcumin, which is also being researched as a treatment (in the form of gel or ointment) for skin lesions, such as burns, as it has shown great results in the scientific research.

How to use turmeric

The most common way of buying turmeric is the turmeric powder that results from the roots that are ground up, and this powder is used to season food. However, you can also buy turmeric in capsules and the leaves from the turmeric plant can also be used for making turmeric tea. 

  • Turmeric infusion: Place 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 150 ml of boiling water and let it infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Then allow it cool down, and drink up to 3 cups a day, in between meals;
  • Turmeric capsules: generally the recommended dosage is 2 capsules of 250mg every 12 hours, making a total of 1 gram per day. However, dosage may vary according to the treatment;
  • Turmeric gel: Mix a tablespoon of aloe vera with ground turmeric and apply on skin inflammations such as psoriasis.

Possible side effects

The side effects are related to taking too much turmeric, which may lead to stomach irritation and nausea.

Who should avoid consuming turmeric

Even though it has several health benefits, turmeric is not advised for patients who are taking anticoagulants and patients who have bile duct obstruction due to bladder stones. Additionally, turmeric should only be taken under doctor supervision during pregnancy or lactation. 

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