WHAT IS TURMERIC?

History and Background

Turmeric is a perennial plant, native to India, and part of the ginger family. It can grow up to 5-6 feet high.1

Traditionally, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It has prevalent use throughout India as a spice and its one of the main ingredients in curry.

The popularity of turmeric stems from the therapeutic properties of curcumin which is found in the rhizome. The rhizome is the underground stem of turmeric that closely resembles a ginger root.

Western medicine has adopted its use for a variety of health conditions including inflammation, arthritis, digestive issues, skin problems, and cancer.2

What is Curcumin?

Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric. It comes from the rhizomes (roots) of curcumin longa which contributes to the bright orange color of turmeric. The botanical name of turmeric is curcuma longa.

Curcumin is one type of curcuminoid. There are three curcuminoids found in turmeric which include: curcumin (~77%), demethoxycurcumin (~17%), and bisdemethoxycurcumin (~3).3

These curcuminoids have been shown to be good antioxidants however curcumin is by far the most studied curcuminoid.3,4

Whatare the Benefits of Turmeric 4,5,6

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports Immune System
  • Protects nerves
  • Supports joint health
  • Power antioxidant capability
  • Inhibits growth of tumors
  • Aides the Digestive System
  • Supports the cardiovascular system
  • Improves wound healing
  • Anti-spasmodic abilities
  • Anticoagulant effects

REFERENCES:

1.Monroy, A., Lithgow, G. J., & Alavez, S. (2013). Curcumin and neurodegenerative diseases. BioFactors (Oxford, England), 39(1), 122–132. http://doi.org/10.1002/biof.1063

2.Funk, J. L., Oyarzo, J. N., Frye, J. B., Chen, G., Lantz, R. C., Jolad, S. D., … Timmermann, B. N. (2006). Turmeric Extracts Containing Curcuminoids Prevent Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Natural Products, 69(3), 351–355. http://doi.org/10.1021/np050327j.

3.Curcumin. (2016). Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin

4.Nardo, L., Andreoni, A., Masson, M., Haukvik, T., & Tønnesen, H. H. (2011). Studies on Curcumin and Curcuminoids. XXXIX. Photophysical Properties of Bisdemethoxycurcumin. Journal of Fluorescence, 21(2), 627–635. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10895-010-0750-x.

5.Monroy, A., Lithgow, G. J., & Alavez, S. (2013). Curcumin and neurodegenerative diseases. BioFactors (Oxford, England), 39(1), 122–132. http://doi.org/10.1002/biof.1063.

6.Jayaprakasha GK, Rao LJ, Sakariah KK (2006). “Antioxidant activities of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin”. Food Chemistry.98 (4): 720–4.doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.06.037.