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Herbs 101: Turmeric

Updated on March 3, 2016

History

Around the time period of 500 BCE, turmeric was introduced into Ayurvedic medicine. As part of the ginger family, turmeric became highly important in the world of medicine. Growing primarily in India at the moment, India was where the prominent portions of this herb originated from. Along with India, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Haiti grew and began selling this medicinal spice.

The botanical name for Turmeric is Curcuma longa.

Cultivation

Since turmeric is a tropical plant, only the zones nine or higher are able to grow this root outside. For all of the non nine zoners, it is wonderfully possible to grow turmeric indoors. Although being able to grow indoors, harvesting it needs to be all at once so you cannot harvest pieces from time to time. Growing until the roots reach full potential can take up towards eight to ten months but do not be discouraged! Turmeric roots grow in bunches of many small roots, making your harvest well worth the wait.

For indoor growth, a container that allows good drainage is perfect. The germination begins from the roots, not seeds and needs full sun and regular watering. During the winter, the roots need little watering but during growing season, regular watering and bi-monthly liquid fertilizer are a part of caring for this spice. Use a container at least twelve inches deep when growing turmeric.

Source

Uses

Besides being edible, Turmeric has other surprising uses!

  • Can whiten your teeth in homemade toothpaste recipes
  • Give a golden luster in your foundation powder
  • Add to soap to boost skin friendly benefits
  • A combo of coconut oil and turmeric can reduce dandruff
  • Four 500mg amounts of this root aids a sick stomach
  • Dye fabric with these golden grounds

Source

Benefits

  • In turmeric, the main active compound is curcumin. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is also a strong antioxidant.
  • Turmeric increases the body's natural antioxidant capacity.
  • Improves brain function and decreases the risk of brain diseases
  • Improves various factors that decrease the risk of heart disease.
  • Can help prevent cancer and possibly treat it as well
  • May be useful in treating and preventing Alzheimer's
  • Aids arthritis patients
  • Benefits against depression
  • May help delay the aging process and fight age related chronic diseases

Side Effects

Even if this beneficial root is all natural, extensive use may cause discomfort or side effects.

Some people have experienced these side effects

  • stomach upset
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea

During pregnancy and/or breastfeeding, turmeric is likely safe taken in common food amounts; turmeric is likely unsafe taken in medicinal amounts.

Turmeric can worsen gallbladder conditions.

Might slow blood clotting and could increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in some bleeding conditions. Stop use two weeks before surgery to avoid this issue.

Might decrease blood sugar; if you have diabetes take turmeric with caution.

Might worsen stomach conditions.

Might act like the hormone, estrogen, and could worsen hormone sensitive conditions.

May lower testosterone levels, decrease sperm movement, and reduce fertility.

Might prevent the absorption of iron.



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