Turmeric: Another Superfood?

Turmeric Root and Powder

Turmeric root has become very popular in health guru circles in recent years.  It is the root of a plant from the ginger family, and is very popular as a spice as well as a health food.  Turmeric has become a hot item as a smoothie ingredient due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and suspected wide range of health benefits, although little is proven about its effectiveness, which is common amongst herbs and botanical medicines. It is a perfume ingredient and dye. Its culinary uses are many, and it is usually used as a powder.  It is one of the main spices in curry, and is used to color and flavor mustards, butters, cheeses, rice, and more. 

The list of probable potential medicinal uses is extensive, as an anti-inflammatory can be useful in many ways.  Traditionally, it has been used for arthritis, heartburn, gas, stomach ailments, appetite problems, and diarrhea.  It is suspected that it also could have uses for headache, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, fever, menstrual pain, cancer, depression, Alzheimer's disease, parasites, skin problems, leprosy, and kidney issues.

One research study has supported its use for osteoarthritis pain, showing it worked as well as ibuprofen.  More research is needed.  Initial medical research on other ailments have shown a variety of results, none of which is conclusive.  Medical experts advise against very large doses (the person in question was taking 3000mg/day ) of turmeric, as it may cause heart arrythmia.  They also advise against use by pregnant women, and people with blood clotting issues and for people who are going to have surgery. 

As a culinary spice, it has a pleasant, warm flavor that is often used as a substitute for saffron.  It is used as an attractive food colorant, making the yellow speckles in Indian style rice, and the deep yellow color of Spanish rice and yellow curries.  It is used commercially as a food colorant as it is bright and inexpensive.  It is easy to find in most groceries, and easy to try out at home.



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