Distinguished by its golden yellow hue, turmeric is a spice used popularly in South-East Asian cuisines. This culinary spice is prepared by drying the roots of turmeric plant and grinding them into fine powder. The golden glow that is found in curry powder is due to the pigmentation caused by curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric. Curcumin is extracted from turmeric through some chemical processes and used in food and fabric as a coloring agent.
Medicinal uses of turmeric
Turmeric is known for its wide use in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. It is also used in many pharmaceutical gels and beauty creams. It is one of the preferred medications for stomach related ailments, chronic fatigue and several types of arthritis. Though milk and yogurt are popularly used to treat heartburns, turmeric also has the potential to provide significant relief for heartburns. Turmeric is available in many different forms including liquid extracts, tinctures and medicinal capsules. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric are verified and published by several clinical studies. However those studies were performed on animals and evidences based on human study is still lacking.
Turmeric supplements may not suit all
Excessive use of turmeric can cause side effects related to the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Overuse of turmeric can increase acidity in the stomach. Hence consuming turmeric while you are already taking medicines to reduce acidity in the stomach, may cause adverse effects. If you have any medical condition related to the gall bladder and bile duct, it is mandatory to check with a medical professional before using turmeric supplements. Since turmeric consumption can reduce blood sugar levels, people suffering from diabetes must also consult a doctor before consuming turmeric supplements. Pregnant and lactating women, those who are taking blood thinning medications and those who are about to undergo a surgery or tooth extraction should consult with a physician before taking turmeric supplements. If you are sensitive to certain hormones, turmeric can worsen your condition because it is capable of acting like estrogen. Hence if you have endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, it is safe to avoid turmeric based supplements. Women who are trying to conceive should also refrain from using turmeric as it can pose some challenges. Since turmeric can prevent the absorption of iron, it is unsuitable for those who have iron deficiency. Children should also stay away from turmeric supplements.
Turmeric and curcumin, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties are very useful to treat medical ailments such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and even obesity. However increased research may be required to ensure whether turmeric is safe or not, when it is consumed regularly in large quantity.
Turmeric supplements are meant for prolonged use and must be consumed in prescribed quantities for maximum effect. If you are taking turmeric supplements and you don’t see results immediately, then you need to give it some more time as the as the antioxidant spice needs reasonable time to deliver what it promises.