The medicinal properties of turmeric have made it a popular kitchen ingredient in many parts of the world. It has been used in India for centuries and in Ayurveda, it is used as a herbal medicine for many ailments from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, skin cancer, small pox, chicken pox, wound healing, urinary tract infections, and liver ailments. The health benefits are all thanks to the active compound in turmeric called curcumin, Hindustan Times Reported.
"It's one of the most widely used plants in both natural, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It improves the work of so many bodily organs. It has a huge immunology benefit, works against fungi, viruses, bacteria, reduces inflammation and is amazing for headaches. It is also associated with raising testosterone," says Tim Gray, Health Optimising Biohacker, Psychology Specialist, Entrepreneur and Global Speaker.
Turmeric contains many plant substances, but one group, curcuminoids, has the greatest health-promoting effects. Curcumin, which represents about 2–8% of most turmeric preparations, gives turmeric its distinct colour and flavour.
"In its own right, curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant effects," says Gray.
Here are some of the areas in which both turmeric and curcumin have shown clear benefits, backed by science according to Tim Gray.
Osteoarthritis: Plant compounds in turmeric that include curcumin can reduce markers of inflammation and thus relieve osteoarthritis symptoms.
Obesity: Turmeric and curcumin may inhibit the inflammatory pathway involved in obesity and may help regulate body fat.
Diabetes: Turmeric and curcumin can improve blood sugar metabolism and potentially reduce the effects of diabetes on your body.
Liver: A rat study found that turmeric extract and curcumin were protective against chronic liver damage by helping reduce harmful oxidative stress.
Antifungal: Turmeric and curcumin can disrupt fungal cell membranes and could be used in conjunction with fungal medication for better outcomes.
Antibacterial: Turmeric and curcumin have strong antibacterial effects. They can reduce the growth of many disease-causing bacteria.
"It’s great that science is now confirming what our ancestors knew for hundreds of years," he concludes.