Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Spice for All Seasons

One of the oldest known herbs in Asia is turmeric where it has been in use for more than thousand years. In recent decades this humble member of the ginger family has started enjoying a tremendous popularity in the United States. So much so that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institute of Health, is conducting studies for its use for health purposes.

Turmeric is primarily grown in India, and also in some other parts of Asia and Africa. Known for its bright yellow color, it has a slightly bitter, peppery flavor. It is a major ingredient in curry powder and is used in south Asian and middle eastern cuisine, for dyeing and for imparting color to cheeses and mustard dressing.

Turmeric has long been used in traditional Indian medicine known as Ayurveda and the Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds. Recent laboratory studies have shown Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, to have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Controlled studies of Curcumin’s effect on humans are currently underway. Historical knowledge and currently known scientific evidence suggest that turmeric may be helpful to alleviate the following medical conditions:

It may help improve digestion.

It may help maintain remission in people with ulcerative colitis.

Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In a recent study, patients taking a combination of herbs and minerals that included turmeric had shown significant reduction in pain and disability.

Studies have shown turmeric to reduce the bad cholesterol in animals raising the possibility of similar effect in humans.

Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin in turmeric may help prevent, control, or kill several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon.

It may also be effective in controlling diabetes by helping to reduce blood sugar level.

Coming soon recipe for Tomato Yogurt turmeric Sauce. Stay tuned.


SilentLotus Creations said...

This is so interesting- thank you for sharing! :)

FireHorse3 said...

Interesting article - I didn't know there was so much to this colorful spice. I'll make doubly sure that I use it in all my curries now! ;o)