Known as the “Queen of Spices,” turmeric wears its golden color as a signifier of all the good it can do for us. This ancient herb has been used in Ayurvedic practice for around 4,000 years and is now the subject of numerous modern-day research studies. Turmeric has many health benefits, used to treat everything from colds and joint pain to inflammation and potentially even heart disease, this bright spice can do so much more than add flavor to your curry.
According to traditional Ayurvedic wisdom, turmeric is also known for granting prosperity to those who use it, and is sometimes considered a source of divine energy. To help you tap into the benefits of this powerful herb, we’ve outlined all the good it can do for you below.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is versatile to say the least. Traditionally it’s been used to treat inflammation in the liver, create topical treatments for scrapes and bumps, and its pigment is also used by many to improve the skin or create a special glow.
New studies have suggested that it gets its kick from the compound that gives it that bright yellow color — the active ingredient curcumin. This bioactive agent has sparked newfound curiosity, leading to some incredible discoveries.
As mentioned above, turmeric is often used for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is because curcumin is a bioactive ingredient that, when taken properly, can fight inflammation on a cellular level. Low levels of inflammation have been linked in Western medicine to lower rates of almost every major disease, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric is known to be tridoshic, supporting Kapha, Vata and Pitta constitutions. It is primarily known for igniting Agni (digestive fire) and is especially beneficial to Vata and Kapha doshas.
The spice’s effectiveness in treating inflammation means it is also beneficial for treating patients with arthritis. Typically, arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints, so the anti-inflammatory nature of curcumin can be particularly helpful with these issues. In traditional Ayurvedic practices, turmeric is used this way to support the ligaments during hatha yoga practices.
Additionally, turmeric can also help defend your body against oxidative damage and free radicals that can cause you to become sick. This is because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, not only fights against free radicals that may enter your system, it also encourages your body’s natural production of antioxidants.
Turmeric is also frequently used for skin beautification. In traditional Indian wedding ceremonies, brides are covered in turmeric powder before the ceremony to give them a particular glow. In Western medicine, it’s also believed that turmeric may have benefits related to youthfulness and longevity — making it a truly astounding herb to integrate into your daily Ayurvedic practice.
How to Use Turmeric
When it comes to incorporating turmeric into your daily routine, there are a few things to consider before loading up your next meal with this powerful spice. While turmeric is common in a great many Indian dishes, it’s important to know how to use it to maximize the benefits.
Cooking with turmeric is probably one of the easiest ways to reap its benefits. Its pungent flavor and bright color will spice up any dish, but be aware that it burns easily when added to hot oil, and too much can give your food a bitter taste. You can also add powdered turmeric to smoothies or rice, or blend it with other herbs to create a seasoning mix you can use on anything.
Traditionally, turmeric teas, lattes and golden milk are a popular way to ingest the herb. Turmeric milk (and indeed, most turmeric recipes) calls for black pepper to be added as well, since turmeric is not absorbed effectively by the body on its own. However, when paired with black pepper the body is able to absorb the active ingredient curcumin much more effectively, and it can then benefit your digestion by stoking your agni.
Get Your Daily Dose of Turmeric
Finally, turmeric can be taken as a simple daily supplement. This will allow you to reap the benefits more directly and without worrying about how to cook with this potent spice. In particular, you can check out YouVeda’s My Healthy Joints supplement. This doctor-formulated and recommended supplement features organic curcumin as an active ingredient to support overall muscle and joint mobility and help you maintain a healthy inflammatory and metabolic response. No matter what benefit you’re seeking, it’s likely that turmeric can help you. After all, there’s a reason it’s called the “Queen of Spices.”
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Author: Alexandria Baker (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)