Also known as
Curcuma longa, Curcuma, Gauri, Haldi, Indian Saffron, and You Jin.
Turmeric is a tropical perennial plant in the same family as ginger, native to India, and cultivated throughout the tropics around the world. Growing to a height of about three feet (one meter), it bears pairs of lance-shaped leaves on alternate sides of the stem. At the base of the stem, there is a knobby rhizome somewhat resembling ginger.
1-alpha curcumene, 1-beta-curcumene, camphene, camphor, various forms of curcumin.
The rhizome, dried and ground.
Teas, tinctures, and poultices.
Many of the healing of benefits of turmeric have been attributed to curcumin, a group of antioxidant compounds found in the rhizome. Although curcumin is available as a standardized extract, the whole herb may be more beneficial for you than the curcumin extract: Only very small amounts of curcumin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Turmeric as a whole herb stays in the digestive tract longer than curcumin, releasing antioxidant curcumin along with other beneficial substances.
Turmeric root powder is a popular ingredient is South Asian cooking and adds a distinct flavor to many savory dishes, including stocks, sauces and curries. The root has a brilliant orange color and becomes very hard when dried. It is distinct and fragrant, with a scent that is mildly hot and gingery, but certainly unique to itself. The dried powder is most commonly used in the kitchen, and is a common ingredient in commercially available curry powders. Because of its vivid hue, it is also used to color food products ranging from popcorn to cheese to yogurt.
Turmeric has been studied for a wide variety of functions. The German Commission E has approved its use for spastic epigastric discomfort. When mixed in a traditional Ayurvedic treatment, it has been shown to relieve joint pain. Curcumin, one of the active constituents of turmeric, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
As is the case with so many herbs, turmeric should be used in moderation. Too much turmeric used for extended periods of time may cause stomach distress. Since turmeric is included in Ayurvedic formulas for birth control, women trying to become pregnant should limit their consumption of the herb, and it should be avoided entirely while pregnant. Excessive use of turmeric should also be avoided in people with congestive heart failure. The curcumin in turmeric activates a gene called p53. This gene deactivates damaged cells in the heart.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.