When prescribing herbs to a client, I draw on turmeric as one of the most favourable herbs. Turmeric has diverse properties including multiple active constituents that target different organs and work their magic in multiple ways. Turmeric is one of those rare magical herbs that improve your health in more ways than you can count.
Naturopaths like me, incorporate numerous traditional medicines in practice. My main sources of wisdom and alchemy are Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy and Ayurvedic medicine practices. Funnily enough, turmeric is like a glorious star child highlighted by both of these philosophies. Turns out it has been utilised for thousands of years by these practices to heal people, naturally.
What’s so great about turmeric?
Turmeric’s main active constituent, Curcumin is responsible for the bright yellow colour of turmeric. Bright colours in plants = lots and lots of antioxidants. Another great example of this is bright beautiful berries. One of the main active constituents in berries is anthocyanin, which is the flavonoid in berries that works as an antioxidant in the body. So my message here – consume the rainbow!
Why all the fuss about antioxidants?
Curcumin (found in turmeric) is a potent antioxidant, with one of its main target organs being the liver. The antioxidants travel down to the liver to protect and repair damaged cells. Antioxidants attach themselves to free radicals (damaged cells) and by pairing up with them, they prevent the free radicals from causing damage to other cells in the body.
The role of the liver
Everyone’s liver is different and so the health of your liver will be different to others, but the one thing we all have in common is that our liver has an enormous job – it detoxifies everything that enters your body.
The liver detoxifies the food you ingest, the air and other gases you inhale, and even what goes on your skin. Your liver is going to be the chief organ that collects all of those chemicals and by-products and changes their chemical composition so they can be excreted safely. That is an enormous job, so it’s obvious why we should help to protect and regenerate our liver cells.
Inflammation and your body
When cell damage is present in the body, this almost certainly comes with inflammation. This may be low or high grade, acute or chronic. But cell damage and inflammation go together like…. tea and chocolate.
This leads me to my next favourite thing about turmeric: Consuming turmeric daily has been found to decrease inflammation in the body – of all types (Hechtman 2014, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine).
Inflammation can be of an acute nature, like a sting from a mosquito, or an instant inflammation to the gut lining from a food sensitivity; to a chronic inflammation like in inflammatory bowel disease where the inflammation may be present for weeks or months.
Consuming turmeric effectively
Something to keep in mind too is that turmeric or more precisely, curcumin is fat-soluble. So, to experience all of these health benefits it has to offer, make sure it is first dissolved in a fat for example in my golden milk recipe on the Free People Blog, or dissolving it in oil before adding it to your veggies.
So don’t be stingy on the turmeric in your next curry, go nuts, like really nuts because you’re doing your cells a massive favour. If you’re not big on curries, I just happen to have a Rooibos Turmeric Chai Tea that will hit the spot 😉
I’d love to hear all about your turmeric concoctions and other ways to incorporate this marvellous herb into your life so please leave a comment below!