Curcuma longa, commonly known as Turmeric is a perennial, rhizomatous, flowering plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and has been a staple ingredient in Asian cooking. Also known as ‘Indian saffron’ or ‘the golden spice’, Turmeric has been the go-to-spice in every Indian household since time immemorial; enhancing the flavour of curries with its appetizing vibrant yellow hue, and without it, a hearty delightful meal would be incomplete. Curcumin, the main bioactive compound in Turmeric is what makes the spice possess its bright yellow colour and also the one responsible for turmeric’s many powerful biological properties.
Besides its contribution to the culinary world, Turmeric benefits have also been known in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Traditional medicine utilized turmeric to treat a variety of health conditions such as chronic pain and inflammation. It is only in recent years that Western medicine has begun to truly acknowledge the benefits of Turmeric. The rich content of antioxidants, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in turmeric has earned the spice a ‘superfood’ title and has the world raving about the miraculous advantages of this incredible spice. Mainly used as a pain reliever and healing agent, turmeric products are available commercially in various forms such as capsules, teas, powders, and extracts.
This article explores the nutritional content of turmeric, turmeric benefits health, as well as some of its negative side effects.
Positive Effects of Turmeric
1. Relieves Arthritic Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in turmeric have been significant in treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Studies have shown curcumin to be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritic pain and in improving various symptoms related to arthritis.
Some research also shows that consuming turmeric extracts, alone or in combination with other herbal ingredients, shows a positive effect in reducing pain and improving function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Arthrogold Tablets, Arthroblast Juice & Capsules by Preserva Wellness might come in handy for this.
2. Boosts Immunity
Besides Curcumin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric also contains Lipopolysaccharide, another compound in turmeric that is rich in anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents which stimulates the human immune system. Turmeric-milk (a mixture of turmeric with milk) is the go-to solution for treating viral infections like common cold and flu in traditional Indian household.
Preserva Wellness truly believes and embraces the healing power of turmeric. Hence, most of our products include curcumin/turmeric in them. Immune Boosting Tea, Immunoblast Tablets and Immunoblast Juice are some of the many products enhanced with curcumin/turmeric benefits along with essential Ayurvedic ingredients to bolster the immune system.
3. Aids In Digestion
Turmeric has been used as a digestive healing agent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Western medicine has begun to study how turmeric can aid with gut inflammation and gut permeability for efficient digestion. Curcumin and Turmeric benefit the digestive tract by stimulating the gallbladder to produce bile, instantly making the digestive system more efficient. It is also known to reduce symptoms of bloating and gas and in preventing and treating pancreatitis.
Consuming raw turmeric is known to aid with digestive problems and in bringing the digestive system on track. Diagemax Juice and Celiacgold Juice by Preserva Wellness is the ideal digestive supplement since it contains an efficient amount of curcumin along with the richness of natural ingredients.
4. Improves Mental Health
Curcumin boosts the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the brain, thus helping patients with depression. It also boosts the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Curcumin is also known to boost the brain hippocampus, which is essential for learning and memory. Studies have also shown that curcumin may aid in improving memory in Alzheimer’s patients. Research shows that turmerone, another active compound besides curcumin, promotes repair in the stem cells of the brain that can help in the recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Preserva Wellness’ Stresaway Tablets features a unique formulation of curcumin with various potent Ayurvedic herbs to bring optimal benefit for the nervous system.
5. Reduces Risk of Cancer
Studies have shown that curcumin inhibits the growth and development of tumours and prevents the spread at the molecular level, effectively reducing the risk of new cancerous growth. Turmeric and curcumin may also be able to fight against the effects of some carcinogens, such as certain additives used in processed food.
Just like all good things in life, excess of anything can be bad and can take a toll on your health. The same goes for turmeric as well. Here are some side effects of turmeric that you must be aware of.
Negative Effects of Turmeric
1. Upset Stomach
The same agents that support and promote efficient digestive function can cause inflammation in the stomach if taken in large amounts which can cause gut irritation, acid reflux, diarrhoea, cramps and abdominal pain. While turmeric helps some people by stimulating the stomach to produce more gastric acid, it can also do more harm than help with the issue.
2. Iron Deficiency
Consuming too much turmeric may obstruct iron absorption in the body. Hence, it is recommended that people with iron deficiency should be careful with their turmeric intake, and not add too much turmeric in their daily meals, as it could decrease the body's ability to absorb iron.
3. Blood Thinning
Studies have suggested that turmeric’s blood purification properties might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Although not clear as to why it has been suggested that the lowered blood pressure and lowered cholesterol benefits of the plant might have something to do with the way turmeric functions in the blood.
4. Risk of developing kidney stones
It is suggested that the oxalates in turmeric may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. These oxalates bind the calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate that is a primary cause of kidney stones.
Studies have also suggested that turmeric might lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men. This can reduce fertility. Therefore, turmeric should be used cautiously by people trying to have a baby.
6. Allergic reaction
Certain compounds present in turmeric may cause an allergic reaction to people, which can cause rashes, outbreaks and even shortness of breath. Ingestion and skin contact with turmeric or its products can both cause allergic reactions.
7. Gallbladder problems
It has been proven that turmeric can worsen the symptoms of a gallbladder. People with gallstones or a bile duct obstruction are advised to refrain from the use of turmeric.
When it comes to turmeric benefits, the list is endless. However, as far as consumption goes, it is wise to consume not more than 5 tsp. of turmeric or any of its byproducts per day. Additionally, consuming turmeric with black pepper is recommended to achieve maximum health benefits, as a compound named piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric in the body.
Sticking to the rule of moderation is best when it comes to avoiding these side effects of turmeric and enjoying its bountiful benefits.