Both fresh turmeric and turmeric spice are commonly used in the making of curries. In the U.S., turmeric is best known as a spice. It’s one of the main components of curry powder. Many people actually incorrectly think curry powder is a spice itself.
In India, many other parts of Asia and now more so in the USA, due to our learning from them, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions and has been for thousands of years. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. The spice and supplement comes from the underground stems, called the rhizomes of the turmeric plant.
Many people have heard of curcumin. Well there is a difference and I have both in my spice cabinets and vitamin drawer. The two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Turmeric is the root or yellowish powder used primarily to flavor foods we cook, while curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric.
Curcumin is a substance in turmeric which may help to reduce inflammation. There are many studies suggest that it reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, like pain and inflammation. Good news for me! Other compounds in turmeric might also be medicinal too.
Other lab studies are now suggesting that curcumin or turmeric might even protect our bodies against some skin diseases, stomach ulcers, Alzheimer’s disease and colitis. They also may assist in upset stomach viral infections, scabies and diabetes.
One fun fact is that I have LOVED my yellow mustards ever since I was a child, and it is the turmeric that gives my delicious mustards that lovely color! So, all along ever since I was a child, I have been getting additional benefits without ever having an inkling of it. I find it fascinating that sometimes we crave or desire a certain food, later to find out the health benefits or even a deficiency and all along one knew somehow innately it was needed.
Some ideas on how to use Turmeric:
Add to your food:
You can add turmeric to cooked vegetables, fish, meats and egg meals. You may also add it to boiling water or sautes when making spiral noodles, or soups. For a very unique twist, add it to a mango ice cream recipe! I love using it in my paleo recipes.
Enjoy as a tea or hot beverage:
Boil 1 cup of water, add ¼- ½ teaspoon of finely ground turmeric and then simmer for just 8-10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve into a cup. You can now add the sweetener of your choice. Some like it with lemon.
Take it as a supplement:
The herb can be found in pure pill form online and in health food stores. Be sure to look at the ingredients; I prefer to buy only pure supplements. So many are filled with junk these days!
I must mention that the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements yet (thank God!) the same way it regulates food or conventional drugs. Certain supplements, like those made from turmeric, can interact with other medications. Turmeric may slow blood clotting, so anyone taking drugs with the same effect like anticoagulants should be very careful when taking turmeric supplements. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of supplements if you have any question at all or if you are on medication.
Enjoy using this spice knowing you are also getting some very beneficial health benefits. I hope this was helpful and educational. You can buy pure certified organic, ground turmeric root which is rich in curcumin at the USA company PureIndianFoods.com.
As always, email me with any questions!