Turmeric is a plant (Curcuma longa), native to South India and Indonesia that has many health benefits. The root been used from antiquity as a condiment in Asian cooking such as curries, as a textile dye, and medically as an aromatic stimulant. It is a common ingredient in Indian food, such as curry powder, and yellow mustard.
An extract from turmeric root called curcumin has become quite popular with articles in major magazines and newspapers due to its various health benefits. Pure turmeric powder has a curcumin concentration of 3 percent by weight, however there are other beneficial substances in the powder. Extracts with a higher concentration of curcumin are available. There are estimates that people in India consume about 2 grams of turmeric a day which provides roughly 100 mg of curcumin.
Some scientists think that the regular ingestion of this spice is partly to be credited for the reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease in India.
Here is some updated information I found on Yahoo regarding Turmeric. I wanted to share it here so that we could include as much information about Turmeric in one place. ~ Charlene
“Turmeric’s health benefits are through the roof,” says Reardon. “If I could only have one spice for the rest of my life, it’d be turmeric.”
Turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for millennia, and Western science is starting to catch on. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is a strong antioxidant that’s been shown in test tube and animal studies to fend off cancer growth, amyloid plaque development, and more.
Turmeric might also boost heart health — a 2012 study showed that adding turmeric and other high-antioxidant spices to high-fat meals could help regulate triglyceride and insulin levels and protect the cardiovascular system.
Turmeric is also a powerful COX-2 inhibitor — like a nonsteroidal anti-inflammitory but without the nasty side effects. A human study in 2009 found a daily dose of curcumin just as effective as ibuprofen for osteoarthritis in the knee.
Turmeric may also help regulate the immune system — a series of studies in 2010 and 2011 showed that curcumin might have positive effects on people with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
Like all herbs and spices, however, too much turmeric might not be a good thing — it can inhibit blood clotting in large doses and may exacerbate gallbladder issues, so check with your doctor before using more than a typical culinary amount.
How much: Aim for a teaspoon of turmeric at least three times a week.
Serving suggestions: Turmeric is best known for the bright yellow color — and flavor — it adds to Indian dishes. Add a big pinch to a pot of lentil soup, or use with curry powder, raisins, and Greek yogurt to dress a curried chicken salad. Like sage, turmeric works well as tea. You can buy teas commercially from companies like the Republic of Tea or Yogi, or make your own by chopping up an inch of fresh turmeric root and infusing in hot water for 15 minutes.
Tip: The antioxidants in turmeric are a little fragile, so make an effort to find fresh turmeric root. It looks a little like fresh ginger but with a brighter orange interior.