Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)
The Magical Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Spice
Also known as Turmeric, Curcuma belongs to the ginger family. Its the ingredient that gives curry its peppery taste and characteristic yellow color. Turmeric is also used in making mustard, conserving and flavouring.
Curcuma, which is responsible for turmerics yellow color, is also its most active medical component.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is believed to have numerous medicinal properties, and many in India use it as an antiseptic for cuts and burns.
As far as 4,000 years ago, records from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine mention its oral use as remedy for many conditions, from easing abdominal cramps, to stomachache and nausea relief, or used as an overall digestive tonic.
Turmeric contains components that are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making it useful for treating arthritis, inflammatory conditions and possibly cancer. In promising, but very early research results, curcuma has kept several kinds of cancers from growing or spreading.
It is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, and may be used to prevent arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Inflammation usually includes pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area.
In recent studies, the three major curcuminoids found in turmeric have been found to limit the activity of several chemicals including two enzymes (lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase-2 or COX-2) responsible for promoting and maintaining inflammation.
A strong antioxidant, turmeric is rich with a substance believed to protect body cells from damage caused by oxidation. Oxygen free radicals may suppress immune function and cause tissue damage.
In addition to their anticancer effects, antioxidants in turmeric protect the brain, kidneys, and liver from damage by alcohol, drugs, radiation, heavy metals or chemicals.
For skin problems, turmeric ointment, or a paste made from powdered turmeric is applied directly to the skin, as often as needed. Its used to treat cuts, scrapes, and skin conditions such as acne, diaper rash, and psoriasis.
Mixing Turmeric essential oil with jojoba is also an efficient way to control eczema and eliminate spots.
Turmeric is not easily absorbed, so opt for brands that offer it mixed with bromeline, a natural enzyme found in pineapple, known to facilitate absorption.
When used in cooking at home, mix the delicious turmeric spice with an equivalent quantity of black pepper, to enhance absorption
Turmeric Uses for Digestive Problems and As Antioxidant
Take 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric powder a day (the equivalent of 60 mg to 200 mg of curcuminoïdes). Add 1 gram of powder (half a teaspoonful) to a mug of boiling water and let it brew for for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 2 cups or alternatively, take 10 ml of turmeric tincture a day.
Turmeric for Inflammation, Arthritis, Rheumatism and Skin and Eye Inflammation
Take 3 to 5 grams (the equivalent of 200 to 400 mg of curcuminoïdes) 3 times a day. To get these doses, use normalised extracts at 95% of curcuminoïdes.
For oral use, powdered or extracted turmeric products, including oils, are preferable to teas because the active chemicals in turmeric do not dissolve completely in water. Turmeric essential oil is a good alternative to powder.
Essential oils affect the body in two ways. When applied to the skin, they penetrate through the follicles and sweat glands and are then absorbed into the body's fluids. Once inside the body, they have many beneficial effects including:
- Stimulating the immune system
- Accelerating toxin elimination
- Promoting new cell growth
- Stimulating digestion
- Stimulating blood circulation
- Supporting the body's natural healing processes.
The Many Benefits of Turmeric Essential Oil Include:
- Relieves pain and inflammation. The three major curcuminoids contained in turmeric essential oil are efficient in preventing joint inflammation provided treatment is started before, not after, the onset of inflammation
- Powerful antioxidant, helps prevent free radical damage
- Gentle intestinal and liver cleanser
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used for stomach problems, and as a general tonic. It blends well with Ginger, Heliotrope, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage.
Caution: Do not use oils internally without first consulting a qualified aromatherapist. Never apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes or concentrated essences directly to the skin.
If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver or gallbladder damage, cancer, or other medical conditions, use oils only under the strict guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. Consult an aromatherapist before using essential oils on children.
A Delicious Vegetable Coconut Rice Recipe with Turmeric
Ingredients to serve 4
- *Garlic and ginger paste (previously prepared by finely chopping, or blending 4 to 5 garlic cloves with 1/2 a medium sized ginger)
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 a chopped brocoli or any other vegetable available diced or chopped, including mushrooms, courgettes, asparagus or peas.
- In a teaspoon of olive oil fry the carrots first and gradually add the other vegetables
- Add a 3/4 teaspoon of turmeric mixed with a 3/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and mix well with the vegetables
- Add the *ginger and garlic paste (see preparation above)
- Mix well, add salt to taste and 2 cups of italian rice (short) mix with the vegetables and stir well
- Pour a can of organic coconut milk with the equivalent of a can and 1/2 of water
Cook the rice to taste (10 to 15 minutes) and enjoy. It's really yummy!
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