What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice and dietary supplement known for its vibrant yellow color. Available either fresh or in a powdered form, it comes from the root of the turmeric plant, Curcuma longa, which is in the same family as ginger. Native to South and Southeast Asia, it has long been used in cooking and traditional medicine in those regions. Nowadays, it is popular all over the world for its health benefits, especially among athletes.
The Use of Turmeric in Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine
Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine practices. In South Asia, for example, turmeric has many medicinal uses, including aiding digestion; as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent for burns, cuts, and bruises; relieving pain (especially joint pain); improving brain function, and as an anti-inflammatory. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is believed to help asthma and other respiratory conditions, treat coughs and colds and support liver health.
Turmeric is also a popular ingredient in natural skincare, where it is used to encourage brightness, reduce the appearance of scars, and soothe conditions like psoriasis.
Turmeric Health Benefits
Although more studies are still needed to prove all these claims from traditional medicine, we do know that the bioactive ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Managing inflammation is incredibly important for maintaining health and balance in the body and brain. Although swelling can be an important part of the healing process immediately after injuries, chronic inflammation can lead to ongoing health issues including arthritis, digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart disease, and more. It has also been linked to depression, chronic pain, fatigue, and similar symptoms. Curcumin has even been shown to match the efficacy of anti-inflammatory medications, with the added benefit of other health benefits and fewer side effects.
Antioxidants are also crucial to our overall health and vitality. Antioxidants help to prevent oxidative damage to our cells by free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can react with cells in a damaging way. Not only does curcumin have antioxidant properties of its own, but it can also help to stimulate the body’s production of antioxidants, giving double the protection.
In addition to these benefits, other studies indicate that curcumin could act as an immunoregulator, meaning that it helps to ensure that immune responses are appropriate to the threat level. That means that we’re more able to fight off diseases, but less likely to suffer from conditions that are caused by an over-active immune system – which is what causes most autoimmune-related diseases. Curcumin appears to help better regulate the immune system in its efforts to most effectively fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
Boosting Brain Function
There may be some truth to the ancient belief that turmeric can help to improve brain function. Studies have shown that curcumin helps to boost levels of BDNF, a hormone that is responsible for encouraging neurons to grow and connect in the brain. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to a number of brain disorders, from depression to Alzheimer’s.
Another study has suggested that curcumin could help to improve blood flow to the brain, which could also aid cognition and memory.
How to Take Turmeric
As a spice that can be purchased from most grocery stores, turmeric is one of the easier botanicals to incorporate into your diet. Although it is traditionally used in curries, it is also delicious in tea, stirred into yogurt and smoothies, and even in baking to add rich yellow color.
With that being said, in regular, store-bought turmeric, the percentage of curcumin is quite low, meaning that you will need to consume a lot in order to enjoy its health benefits. That’s why some people prefer to take turmeric root extracts that have higher levels of curcumin and other curcuminoids.
At PurePower, we love turmeric so much that we’ve included sustainable turmeric root extract that contains 95% curcuminoids in our Reboot product to help aid recovery. What’s more, we’re very excited to launch our brand newest Daily Boost: Organic Lemon, Turmeric, and MCT Oil.