Turmeric is a spice best loved for its distinct aroma, flavor, and yellow color. Usually, you’ll find it in curry (chicken and pork) dishes, egg dishes, fish soups, and oriental rice dishes. Drizzled over stir-fried vegetables, potatoes, and pastas, turmeric blended with butter makes dishes more exciting to the palate. Turmeric is also used in the preparation of mustard, butter, margarine, cheese, fruit drinks, and pickles.
Turmeric Nutritional Value and Medicinal Uses
Turmeric is probably one of the most nutritious spices with protein, fat, minerals, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, niacin, potassium and manganese. With these properties, and the fact that it has curcumin (an ingredient that in itself is already of great therapeutic value) it does not sound surprising if the spice comes with medicinal uses, too.
Among the medicinal uses of turmeric are the following:
- A carminative, turmeric can relieve gas and bloating, and improve digestion, including digestion of fat, at the same time.
- A liver tonic, turmeric is also useful in managing liver problems that include hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- An anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric can delay tumor growths or stop the progression of cancer cells.
- Heart-friendly, turmeric can prevent arterial blockage by regulating bad cholesterol levels by means of inhibiting or preventing the oxidation of the bad cholesterol.
- A pain reliever, turmeric can reduce pain in individuals suffering from joint problems, just like osteoarthritis.
- An antispasmodic, turmeric offers relief for menstrual cramps. Women are suffering from menstrual cramps need to take turmeric extract for two weeks before the expected date of the menstrual period.
- An antibiotic, turmeric can be used in wound care to prevent the spread of infection.
Turmeric and Skin Care
Another benefit of turmeric is in skin care. The spice is widely used in cosmetics and hair products. Turmeric extracts are found to be especially beneficial in:
- healing and preventing dry skin
- treating dandruff
- treating acne, psoriasis
- providing relief for chicken pox
- delaying the development of skin aging symptoms, especially wrinkles
Turmeric and Wrinkles
The idea that turmeric can erase wrinkles sounds really interesting, but it’s consistently on the pages of home remedies for wrinkles, so it must work pretty well. To alleviate wrinkles, mix a pinch of turmeric with two tablespoons of buttermilk to create a paste. Apply it around your eyes or on any other area where wrinkles are evident and let your skin absorb the paste for some twenty minutes, then rinse it off with cold water. Do this regimen two or three times in a week.
Turmeric Precautions and Side Effects
But while many practically swear by the wonders of turmeric, it is not totally free of side effects. Being a natural ingredient does not exempt it from causing adverse reactions, especially when taken in large doses.
If you are using turmeric supplements, watch out for signs of symptoms of excessive bleeding that may include:
- severe headaches, general numbness, weakness in the extremities, vision and speech problems – these indicate bleeding in the brain
- bruises that bleed profusely
- dark-colored stools, presence of blood in the stool, vomiting of blood – these suggest internal bleeding
In animals, the excessive use of turmeric has shown to trigger liver disorders, but although it has not yet been proven to cause the same reaction to human beings, it always pays to be extra careful when taking turmeric supplements.
Applying turmeric on the skin may also cause irritation in some people. If you react negatively to the solution, just stop using it.
And while turmeric is generally well-tolerated, people with diseases of the heart, the gallbladder, and those who are pregnant and lactating, are advised not to use any form of turmeric supplement excessively without doctor’s advice.