Turmeric is obtained from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, belonging to the same family as ginger and is a basic condiment of oriental cuisine.
The turmeric is boiled or steamed and then left to dry. The outer shell peels off and the rough brown “fingers” turn orange yellow and waxy in texture.
Properties of turmeric
The root and rhizome of turmeric contain curcumoids and curcumins, dyes to which are attributed clear antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
They also contain an essential oil with zingiberene, polysaccharides and mineral salts such as iron and potassium.
Curcumin, which is not soluble in water, does have a great capacity to dissolve in fats and stimulate the secretion of bile.
Benefits of turmeric
Western herbalists use it for its anti-inflammatory qualities, but in India it is prescribed as a general tonic and Chinese medicine advises it for digestive disorders, especially liver problems.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that significantly reduces the damage that free radicals do to cells and is therefore useful in preventing cancer.
Great help against arthritis
Its anti-inflammatory virtues make it an aid against arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome or any inflammatory process.
Its anti-inflammatory power has been compared with drugs as potent as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, but unlike drugs, turmeric has virtually no toxicity.
Its anti-inflammatory properties indicate it for other health problems, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
It also promotes digestion (help with gas or swelling), because it stimulates the secretion of bile and promotes the proper functioning of the liver.
In the laboratory it has been observed that curcumin is able to inhibit the multiplication of cancer cells in lung cancer.
It strengthens the liver, raising the rates of enzymes that eliminate toxic compounds.
It inhibits the synthesis of proteins necessary for tumors to develop.
Prevents the development of the blood vessels that feed them.
Curcumin is also advantageous for the cardiovascular system. It also has something to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases and Alzheimer’s especially.