What Is Turmeric Root?


Turmeric root is an extract of the perennial plant that is used to make the spice, turmeric. In the ginger family, turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder, which is often used to flavor foods from India. Turmeric is also used in making American mustard. Containing a key component called curcumin; turmeric root is beneficial to the body for many reasons.

Turmeric Root Uses

Also known as Indian saffron, turmeric root is usually peeled, then boiled, dried and ground into a powder. Turmeric root is a main ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and is used as a food coloring in butter, cheese and fruit drinks. Found in tropical regions of Southern Asia, the above ground and underground roots are used as a natural food additive and medicinal tonic. Having a somewhat bitter taste, turmeric root has strong antioxidant properties that are useful to the body.

About Curcumin

Curcumin is a phytochemical found in turmeric containing antioxidant properties that prevent the formation of free radicals, and neutralize existing ones. Curcumin may be purchased in capsule form, in herb shops and health food stores. Curcumin has blood-thinning properties and should not be taken by anyone taking anticoagulants.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Good for all arthritic conditions, turmeric may be taken in the form of curcumin in capsule form to help relieve pain and inflammation. Turmeric may also be helpful for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Although it may take a few months of taking curcumin to experience an improvement, follow the recommended dosage on the box and wait patiently for results.

Fighting Cancer

Curcumin found in turmeric root helps stop precancerous changes within DNA and also interferes with the enzymes that cause cancer progression. Curcumin helps to block toxic compounds called mutagens from attacking the cell.

Promotes Heart Health

Turmeric root helps the circulatory system by improving blood vessel health. It halts the oxidation of cholesterol, which protects the arteries from plaque formation. Turmeric contains vital nutrients including: vitamin C, vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc.

Additional Uses

Turmeric root protects the liver against toxins and stimulates bile secretion. Toxic compounds are stopped from reaching or causing a reaction to body tissues. It may even prevent cataracts. According to Phyllis Balch in her book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” turmeric has demonstrated an ability to inhibit the spread of HIV in laboratory testing. Turmeric is also being studied for its affects on Alzheimer’s disease and cystic fibrosis.

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  • Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch; 2000
  • About Turmeric
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