Guest post by Kaitlin Krull
Even though all kinds of plants have been used for their natural medicinal properties for thousands of years, it can be difficult to break away from our modern day Western remedies. While we stock our shelves full of pills and vitamins, we often forget about the potentially harmful ingredients of these convenient medicines.
If you’d like to try to embrace natural medicine in your daily life, there are tons of options. At Modernize, we are particularly intrigued by the health benefits of turmeric, a spice typically found in curries.
Who knew a root could be so versatile?
Here are just a few of the ways to use turmeric in your natural medicine cabinet.
Historical Benefits of Curcumin
Curcumin is the pigment of the turmeric root and comes from the Curcuma Ionga plant. This pigment has zero toxicity and provides the majority of the health benefits found in turmeric. This anti-inflammatory spice has been used for thousands of years in both traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for a host of physical and mental antidotes. From flatulence and toothache to chest pain and even menstrual pain, the mysterious properties of curcumin have been proven to alleviate a wide variety of ailments for centuries.
Turmeric (and curcumin, of course) was initially used in Eastern medicine primarily for its anti-inflammatory properties, and is still used today to treat everything from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis to Rheumatoid Arthritis, a type of chronic inflammation of the joints.
How does it alleviate the symptoms of chronic inflammation? It’s thought that curcumin inhibits the function of cellular inflammatory agents in the body, thus stopping symptoms of chronic inflammation in its tracks. Curcumin is also high in antioxidants, which makes it an excellent preventative for patients who may be susceptible to chronic inflammatory diseases.
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Other Health Benefits
Various combinations of spices and vegetables such as turmeric and onion, or turmeric and cauliflower (for prostate cancer) have been used anecdotally as cancer preventatives (though much more research needs to be done in these fields to determine the widespread benefits of turmeric against cancers).
Other anecdotal preventative qualities of turmeric (curcumin in particular) include the ability to lower cholesterol, alleviate the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis, and even lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
As above, of course, these benefits are only anecdotal and require solid research and evidence if there is any hope of including turmeric as a legitimate, FDA approved preventative medicine.
In order to feel the benefits of curcumin, it’s best to use turmeric raw, but it can also be used in everyday cooking. Simply rub the spice onto your meats before cooking, or flavor your curry sauces with turmeric.
In theory, you should have enough in your system for the pigment to work its magic (in some studies, curcumin was given in pill form at much higher doses than most would normally take, but other studies demonstrate that the benefits of curcumin are still seen with small doses such as you would use in a typical, flavorful curry).
Do you use turmeric? if so, I'd love to know how you like?