You may have heard of turmeric and its healing properties. It has even been dubbed “the wonder spice” by health experts and fans of the bright orange root. But turmeric has been used for centuries in food, drinks, and medicines. But what makes it so special?
Part of the ginger family, the turmeric root is native to Southern Asia and is most commonly recognized as the spice that gives curry its yellow color. In addition to its flavor, turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help treat conditions such as heartburn, arthritis, joint pain, and bloating.
Over the last few years, scientists have been studying other ways that turmeric might help treat inflammatory conditions. In one example, people who had been diagnosed with prediabetes were given a dose of curcumin daily and compared with a group of people who were given a placebo. In the study, those who took a daily dose of curcumin over the course of nine months did not develop type 2 diabetes, while 19 of those in the placebo group did.
Another study analyzed how a bioactive compound in aromatic turmeric (ar-tumerone) could affect stem cell proliferation in the brain. Using two different methods, researchers concluded that ar-tumerone increase cell proliferation by up to 80%. Results like this indicate potential new treatment options for neurological disorders.
This so-called “wonder spice” is easy to implement into everyday use. As with any new supplement or diet, talk to your doctor before adding turmeric to your regimen to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Once you’re all clear, try one of these ways to incorporate some wonder spice in your life:
Eat it! One of the best ways to add turmeric to your life is to ingest it in delicious foods. Make your own curry powder to keep in your spice cabinet, like this recipe from Wellness Mama. Curry powder isn’t just for curry dishes; you can also sprinkle it on roasted vegetables for some extra seasoning, incorporate into a homemade salad dressing, or mix up with greek yogurt for a delicious accompaniment to artichokes or cut veggies.
Drink it! Just like ginger, turmeric can add a subtle spicy flavor to any blended smoothie or fresh pressed juice. The anti-inflammatory compounds within turmeric are best absorbed when mixed with a bit of fat, so mixing some melted coconut oil into your concoction can help. You can also drink “golden milk,” or turmeric tea, a blend of milk and turmeric with spices served hot.
Put it on your skin! Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can also be beneficial for your skin. Make your own DIY face mask like this one from Hello Glow. Add a little turmeric to coconut oil and rub on aching joints for 15 minutes and then rinse. Beware that turmeric’s orange color can stain your skin so do a test patch before you cover your face with it, or use it on areas of the skin you can cover for a few hours.