What Is Turmeric?

What Is Turmeric?

By Dr. Chad Walding, DPT
September 18th, 2019

Turmeric: An Ancient, Golden Spice With Amazing Health Benefits

Turmeric is an ancient herbaceous plant of the ginger family, and its documented cooking and religious usage in India dates back almost 4,000 years. Its bright yellow color, fragrant and delicious flavor, and well-tested therapeutic properties have made it a popular spice in Chinese, African, and Jamaican cooking and medicinal practices for thousands of years.1

Today, turmeric is most often used for cooking, but, as modern medicine has discovered its potent medicinal properties, it’s recently made a re-entry to the health and wellness scene. Numerous studies over the past few decades have shown multiple medicinal benefits of consuming this spice, and scientists are continually impressed with the potent pharmacological benefits found in turmeric.

Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric

Throughout history, turmeric has been used as both a preventative measure and a therapeutic treatment of diseases.2,3 Medicinal benefits of turmeric include:

  • Antioxidant properties: Turmeric contains high amounts of tannins, flavonoids and polyphenols, all of which are antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect your body by neutralizing free radicals — uncharged molecules that can wreak havoc on your body’s cells. Curcumin, another antioxidant found in turmeric, also increases your body’s production of antioxidants, meaning that turmeric is not only itself a powerful force in eliminating existing free radicals, but it also helps to create a defense mechanism against future free radicals. Essentially it kills two birds with one stone!4  
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: One of the best-studied and most well-known properties of turmeric is its effect on inflammation in the body. Research shows these anti-inflammatory properties to be useful in the therapeutic treatment of many inflammatory diseases, including IBS, arthritis, and pancreatitis.5 
  • Anti-microbial properties: In numerous studies, turmeric has exhibited antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects against a variety of microorganisms, including foodborne pathogens and Candida fungi.6,7
  • Anti-cancer properties: Turmeric has been used as both a preventative and therapeutic measure for cancer patients. Additionally, both topical and oral application of turmeric have been shown to reduce the amount of cancer cell proliferation in those diagnosed with specific cancers, including breast, stomach and skin cancers.8  

Because of these medicinal properties, numerous scientific studies have been done on the effects of this ancient, golden spice. To date, turmeric has successfully been used to prevent and treat a variety of ailments, including:

  • Asthma and allergies 9,10
  • IBS and other digestive issues 11,12
  • Ulcers13
  • Psoriasis14
  • Alzheimer’s Disease15
  • Diabetes16
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome17
  • Lupus18,
  • Arthritis19
  • Depression20,21
  • Pain management after surgery22

As you can see, turmeric is a potent natural remedy, and the medical community is fascinated with its medicinal benefits. The best way to reap these therapeutic properties is through supplementation. 

What to Look for in Medicinal Turmeric 

Unfortunately, not all turmeric supplements are created equal and you should carefully scrutinize any turmeric supplements before ingesting. Reading the labels and reading online reviews of the product are the best ways to make sure you’re ingesting high-quality turmeric.

Here are a few things to look for when you purchase medicinal turmeric:

  • Good bioavailability: Despite its amazing properties, turmeric does not have high bioavailability, meaning that our bodies struggle to consume enough of it before it is passed through the digestive system. To increase bioavailability, black pepper or ginger is often added to turmeric supplements to increase the absorption rate. Check labels for notes on the bioavailability of the product. 
  • Black Pepper: Black pepper is an essential ingredient to any turmeric supplement as it aids in the absorption and metabolization of curcumin (the main antioxidant in turmeric) in the body. Black pepper has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%, which is why we’ve included it in our NativePath Daily Turmeric supplement.
  • Curcuminoids: Curcuminoids are the active and most bio-available elements in curcumin, and while turmeric naturally contains these compounds, it’s essential that the company making your turmeric supplements has increased the dosage of curcuminoids as they can go to work in your body right away. If not, your body won’t be able to absorb the curcumin as adequately, and most of the curcumin will not be used or absorbed. 
  • No added fillers: Make sure the supplement doesn’t contain any unnecessary fillers, including dairy, soy or gluten. You want your turmeric to be as clean as possible.

At NativePath, you can rest assured these are the standards we adhere to in all of our supplements, including our favorite turmeric supplement, NativePath Daily Turmeric Activated. 

To learn more about our turmeric product and it’s great bioavailability and potent dosage of curcuminoids, visit our Turmeric FAQ page. Our community has had amazing results after starting turmeric, and some customers have even been able to stop their regular ibuprofen usage as a result of the potent anti-inflammatory nature of our product. We’d love for you to experience the same positive changes we’ve seen from other consumers as well!

How Much Turmeric is Safe to Consume?

To receive the full benefits from a good turmeric supplement with adequate bioavailability, we recommend consuming around 1200 mg daily. This will ensure you get all the medicinal benefits while not over-consuming the spice. In general, it’s best and easiest to consume this amount of turmeric in pill form, although adding turmeric spice to your cooking is beneficial as well. 

Using Turmeric in Cooking

If pills or supplements aren’t your thing, you might be wondering how to incorporate turmeric into your diet. One of the easiest ways to consume more turmeric is to incorporate half of a teaspoon into your daily smoothie or stir it into a cup of soup or tea. You can also try making a spice blend that’s easy to reach for and sprinkle on your dishes as you’re cooking.

Here are some recipe ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Again, supplementation is the best way to receive the full benefits of turmeric, as that’s the most potent way to consume adequate amounts of this incredible spice. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider adding it to your cooking regimen, as it’s as delicious as it is medicinal!

Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Medicinal Turmeric?

With all of these great benefits, you might be wondering – what’s the catch? While no serious side effects have ever been documented with the use of medicinal turmeric, it’s always best to discuss any new supplement regimen with your doctor.23 If you’re in any of the following categories, we recommend talking to your doctor before using turmeric as a long-term supplement.

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, while able to consume small amounts of turmeric (such as cooking amounts), should ask their doctor before ingesting large amounts of this spice;
    • Diabetics, as turmeric has been shown to lower blood sugar; or
  • Those who recently underwent surgery, as turmeric might interfere with blood clotting.                               
Other Uses for Turmeric

Of course, there are many other uses for turmeric besides supplementation and in cooking. Here are a few great ideas you can try out:

  • Use turmeric as a facemask: For years, turmeric has been known as the secret to Eastern skincare and beauty regimens and is often used in face masks. To make a simple turmeric face mask, simply combine one capsule of our NativePath Turmeric with 1 T. of raw honey and use your fingertips to spread evenly over your skin. Leave on for 10 minutes, then remove with a warm washcloth. Be forewarned that this face mask might stain your skin for a few hours, so it’s best to try this at night or on a weekend.  You’ll love how smooth your skin feels after using it!
  • Use turmeric for treating skin rashes: Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is great for soothing small or itchy skin rashes. Try adding a pinch of ground turmeric to a small amount of olive oil and applying to skin rashes.  
  • Use turmeric for a brighter smile: That’s right! Turmeric can be used as an alternative to teeth whitening strips to brighten your smile. While you might not notice a difference right away, try adding turmeric to your tooth-brushing regimen a few times a week, as it’s an effective way to slowly remove and prevent stains. Most people see a difference after 2-3 weeks of use.

So How Do You Know if Turmeric Is Right for YOU?

As lifestyle and environmental toxins increase, it’s important to protect the body against free radicals, inflammation and bacteria. With all of its health benefits, turmeric is a great natural solution to helping our bodies protect against the effects of age, disease, and the bacteria and toxins that we come in contact with daily. Plus, adding a high-quality turmeric supplement like our NativePath Daily Activated Turmeric to your diet is an easy way to decrease the risk of ailments such as Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, and psoriasis.

Ready to jump on board with this amazing spice? From skincare to arthritis to antioxidant properties, turmeric is an amazing ancient spice with astounding health benefits, and we can’t wait for you to get started to hear how it’s helped you. 


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7621448
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594223
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375173/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17915763
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190737/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18398870
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19034660 
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519446
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11485087
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29607625
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23873854
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393385/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19151449
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327661/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3215683
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29327213
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28236605
  22. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1434783/
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