Turmeric has been used for centuries as a colorant for cotton, wool, paper, or leather, as well as for food, such as meat, rice, or dressings.
However, its properties go beyond staining, since, as different research has shown, it can also be used to relieve pain and prevent many conditions. Learn here what are the benefits of turmeric and what to do to take advantage of it.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric or turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. This means that it is related to other beneficial herbs, such as ginger or cardamom.
Native to India, it began to be used as a flavoring and coloring for rice and meat, a use that later spread to dye wool, cottons, silks, leather and papers.
It is one of the essential seasonings of curry, and its main component is curcumin, which gives it its color and most of its properties.
What are the benefits of turmeric
In addition to curcumin, turmeric is rich in vitamins, especially C and B6, minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese, and dietary fiber. This makes it a beneficial herb for health, since consuming it you can:
Protect the heart
The active components of turmeric improve blood circulation and prevent the formation of blood clots. Some studies even compared its consumption with the benefits obtained from physical exercise when it comes to protecting the heart.
- Spices with medicinal properties
In addition, due to its rich vitamin B6 content, it can also inhibit the production of homocysteine, a substance that damages cell walls.
Another benefit on cardiovascular health that its consumption brings is the decrease in cholesterol levels, thanks to the action of curcumin.
When triglyceride and cholesterol levels are high, arteries can narrow and stiffen, causing blood vessels to weaken and increasing the risk of problems like strokes.
The properties of turmeric compounds also influence body weight, since its consumption is associated with the breakdown of adipose tissue, restricting the blood supply to fat cells.
Due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, turmeric is among the herbs of choice for strengthening immune function.
According to the available scientific evidence, its intake is linked to a lower risk of developing cancer. Additionally, curcumin stimulates the production of a protein known as CAMP, which helps the immune system fight dangerous bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Different investigations found that turmeric can also improve liver function, promoting the elimination of toxins and reducing the risk of liver diseases, such as fatty liver or cirrhosis.
Take care of the skin
It is common to find turmeric among the ingredients of various beauty products. This is because it can help strengthen skin health in many ways:
- Controls acne as it inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause pimples. It can also reduce oil secretion by the sebaceous glands.
- Stimulates wound recovery, thanks to its healing effects.
- It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Delays the appearance of different signs associated with premature aging, such as spots or wrinkles. This is because it has antioxidant effects, ideal for reducing the impact of free radicals, unstable molecules that affect healthy cell structures.
Natural medicine highlights other benefits of turmeric:
- Relieve menstrual cramps: Due to its calming effects, it is usually indicated as an option to relieve discomfort, swelling, and cramps that accompany the menstrual period.
- Soothe gastrointestinal discomfort: due to its anti-inflammatory activity, it can help fight constipation, the development of ulcers, cramps and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Improve brain function: due to its antioxidant effects, it can protect neuronal pathways from oxidative stress, increasing concentration and improving memory.
- Prevent diabetes– May inhibit type 2 diabetes-related enzymes and help control blood sugar levels.
How to consume or use turmeric
Fortunately, turmeric is a very versatile spice, so it can be used in different ways to obtain all its benefits:
- Adding it to scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, rice or meats. Just sprinkle it during the cooking process
- Preparing smoothies or soups. Add a teaspoon or two to the blender to enhance the flavor and color of these dishes.
- Making infusions. Turmeric should only be diluted in hot water, milk or coconut milk and honey.
- Using it to prepare homemade face masks or ointments. To do this, you only need to mix a tablespoon of turmeric with yogurt, glycerin or aloe vera or aloe to give consistency. Then apply to the affected skin area.
Consult a healthcare professional for soaps, creams, or ointments that contain turmeric. They are generally used to speed healing, reduce irritation from sunburn, or soften the skin.
Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.