What are the health benefits of Turmeric?
How a humble spice can help those living with arthritis
Turmeric is increasingly being recognised for its medicinal values and properties and can help with treating the symptoms of many medical conditions.
We have put together an overview of its benefits so you can see for yourselves why turmeric is being hailed the wonder spice.
Not just for curries
A member of the ginger family, turmeric is mostly known in its powder form as an ingredient in curry but it’s the root which contains its medicinal properties. Used as a traditional medicine for years it was only in the 1970’s that modern scientists started to examine it more closely and found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, was an anti-oxidant and had strong anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s distinctive yellow colour is also attributed to curcumin.
How can it help with arthritis?
Curcumin works by modifying the process of inflammation. One study showed it to be as effective as hydrocortisone at reducing swelling. It has also been reported that it may prevent blood clots as it interferes with the platelet activity.
Any other conditions it can help with?
As its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties are so strong it is thought to help with such conditions as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, IBS, haemorrhoids, menstrual pain and Alzheimer’s disease.
Research is still on-going but it is also thought it may help protect the liver and prevent the progression of cancer.
How should turmeric be taken?
Turmeric can either be added to foods as a powder or root, in the form of a milky drink or indeed as a supplement in the form of a capsule.
Several studies suggest that the absorption of turmeric is enhanced if taken with black pepper.
Its absorption can also be boosted by eating the root – either fresh or as a powder.
How much is safe to take?
If taking turmeric as a powder in cooking the daily dosage should not exceed 3 grams.
If taken as a capsule the dosage must be carefully monitored as it is much easier to consume more than is recommended due to the way the plant is grown and harvested.
Adding turmeric to your food, therefore, has the advantage of reducing the likelihood of overdose.
What happens if you take too much?
Evidence suggests that, when taken in prolonged high doses, curcumin can be toxic to the liver. It is recommended therefore that those with liver disease should not include turmeric in their diet.
Can I still take a turmeric supplement alongside other medicines?
If you are taking anti-coagulants or antiplatelet medications then turmeric supplements should be avoided as there is a greater risk of bleeding. These medicines include Warfarin, Dabigatrin, Rivaroxaban, Apixaban, Endoxaban or Disopyramide.
If you are planning on taking turmeric supplements, alongside other medicines it is advised to discuss this with your pharmacist or doctor first.
Do turmeric and black pepper come as a combined capsule?
Turmeric and black pepper do come in a combined capsule but should only be bought from a reputable retailer such as Healthspan.
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