Turmeric root is best known as a spice used in Asian foods, such as curry dishes. What is less known are its many powerful health and healing effects, including its ability to reduce inflammation.
Research has identified high levels of a plant compound in turmeric root, called curcumin. Curcumin acts like a natural steroid and is credited with turmeric’s strong anti-inflammatory effects. This is good news, since this benefit comes without the burden of side effects that are associated with anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, such as ibuprophen or aspirin.
Inflammation occurs whenever there is an injury to your body or as a result of actions from your immune system. Injuries to the body can occur from accidents such as an ankle sprain, or even from a workout or any type of heavy physical activity.
Inflammation is also a natural and necessary response of the immune system’s defense against anything that doesn’t belong in the body, such as a virus or harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, the immune system can sometimes get stuck in a continuous cycle of inflammation. Turmeric balances the immune system’s response which stops this type of over-reactivity and helps resolve chronic inflammation.
Turmeric is a wonderful natural remedy for anything that is inflamed. It can be used to relieve swelling, aches and pains (due to inflammation of joints, muscles and nerves), headaches, anxiety and panic (due to inflammation of brain tissues) and reduce high cholesterol and support the liver (due to inflammation of the liver), to name just a few.
There are many ways to benefit from turmeric’s healthy plant compounds. It can be consumed by using the spice to season foods. The root can be juiced and drank either by itself or mixed with other vegetable and fruit juices. It can also be consumed as a tea or taken as a supplement. The bright orange pigment in turmeric is what makes it so healthy, but it also stains anything it comes in contact with, including your hands. So, please be aware of this if you choose to juice turmeric root.
In my family, we regularly use turmeric as a spice in our cooking and as a supplement that is a mix of concentrated curcumin and whole turmeric root. We take the supplement before or after heavy physical activity to prevent or treat aches and pains. We also take it daily for signs of chronic inflammation such as a red throat or to reduce pain and swelling from minor injuries. It is a safe and effective natural way to reduce inflammation and pain without having to worry about the side effects associated with anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals.
If you value natural means to support your health and wellness, consider adding turmeric to your life.
Knowledge is power when organized and directed towards a goal. Here’s to empowering your health.
Karen M. Gutierrez, PhD, RN, Advanced Holistic Nurse-Board Certified