Many modern pharmaceutical drugs have been derived directly from plants and fungal species that have been shown to demonstrate remarkable abilities to improve wellbeing or have an effect on diseases at a molecular level. Notable examples include aspirin from willow bark and the discovery of penicillin from a mould by Alexander Fleming. Increasingly, scientists continue to discover plant compounds that demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties, intervene in cell mutation, have powerful antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and may also slow down the ageing process due to their antioxidant properties. Turmeric is one such compound that has been, and still is, studied extensively for all the above benefits.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which country turmeric originated from, there is a huge likelihood that it was first grown in India. Indian cuisine not only includes the wonderfully fragrant and flavourful ginger, chilli and cardamom, but also turmeric, which is widely used in many curry dishes. Turmeric is not only used in Indian cuisine but it has been revered by Chinese medicine and in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties for more than 3000 years.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used extensively because of its ability to curb inflammation and helping in the treatment of a variety of disorders. It is mixed with honey to form a thick paste, which can be taken orally for sore throats and colds or applied to skin for infections and inflammatory skin concerns. Turmeric powder is also commonly used in Asia for the relief of stomach complaints and for kidney and bladder infections. In Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used for the relief of arthritis for thousands of years.
These faith-based claims have been the subject of hundreds of experiments to evaluate if turmeric really does have beneficial properties. What has emerged from these studies is that turmeric contains a group of polyphenol plant pigments called curcumin, and it is this compound that is responsible for some of turmeric’s remarkable properties. Read More…