Turmeric Root

turmeric root

If you’ve ever eaten chicken curry or cooked with curry powder, you’ve likely tasted ground turmeric root or rhizome, a slightly bitter and nutritious spice that doubles as a free radical scavenging herb with active compounds and antioxidant properties that have long been praised in the natural health world.

What is Turmeric Root?

Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is a perennial plant in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family that can grow up to 6 feet high and is native to Southeast Asia. The Zingiberaceae family includes flowering plants, mostly aromatic perennial herbs, such as turmeric, ginger, and cardamom, which have tuberous rhizomes (underground stems with roots and nodes) that are often used to color condiments, used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, used in textile dyes, used in religious ceremonies, or used medicinally.(1)

Turmeric Root vs. Rhizome

The Curcuma longa plant itself has large green leaves, trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers, and yellowish-brown rhizomes. It is also sometimes referred to as Indian saffron or yellow root. The word “turmeric” comes from the Latin word “terra merita” (meaning meritorious earth), referring to its unique pigment. In Sanskrit, turmeric has 53 different names, including “Haldi,” a word derived from the northern Indian Sanskrit word “Haridra.” According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2nd edition), India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it.(2)

Turmeric root and rhizome are the most commonly used parts of the plant for food or medicine. Those parts of the plant can be eaten raw, or cleaned, cured, boiled, dried, and ground into a fine powder for cooking or for use in nutritional supplements.

Turmeric rhizome is the thick orange horizontal stem of the plant, found underground in a cluster with thin roots shooting out from underneath its various nodes. The rhizome is the food storage center of the plant, which is packed with nutrients and used to grow new plants. The root system provides the plant with water, nutrients, and a sturdy attachment to the soil. Turmeric root can also be used for its essential nutrients and minerals in dietary supplements.(3)

Not only is it a delicious spice, but turmeric root and rhizome are popular ingredients in herbal supplements meant to support optimal health.

How It Works

The turmeric root and rhizome contain nutrients and bioactive compounds that are believed to support optimal health. According to Herbal Medicine, the main component of turmeric root is a volatile oil, containing turmerone, in addition to nutritional pigments called curcuminoids.

Curcuminoids are fat-soluble, biologically active pigments found in turmeric. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the most bioactive type of curcuminoid, is a bright yellow-orange compound with antioxidant properties. Other curcuminoids found in turmeric include desmethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin.(4)

Curcuminoids are also polyphenols. Polyphenols are active substances found in many medicinal plants. These micronutrients have antioxidant properties that play a role in helping to prevent various diseases associated with oxidative stress by supporting the activity of enzymes and cell receptors. Polyphenols are found naturally in the diet or consumed through dietary supplementation. Their potential health benefits are based on the amount consumed and their bioavailability.(5)

The therapeutic properties of curcumin, specifically, are vast. Curcumin’s antioxidant properties help protect the healthy development of cells and tissues during the normal aging process and help support a healthy immune system. Curcumin also helps maintain histamine levels already in the normal range, promotes the production of cortisone by the adrenal glands, protects the liver from toxins, promotes a healthy response to internal challenges (especially in the cardiovascular system), and slows platelets from forming blood clots, which promotes healthy blood circulation. Curcumin is also relied upon for its supportive response to occasional pain related to joint swelling and irritation, allowing for temporary ease of mobility and joint comfort during daily tasks and physical activity.(6)

turmeric root infographic

Brief History of Turmeric

Historically, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, since around 500 BC. Ayurveda is a system of holistic medicine developed by the sages of India long before modern medicine. It focuses on the science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge) and relies on mainly plant-based formulations. Its two main principles are honoring the connection between the mind and body (and keeping them balanced through meditation and self-awareness), and the belief that the mind has the power to heal and transform the body.(7)

Ayurveda values consuming a full spectrum of foods that resemble the colors of the rainbow to get diverse nutrients the body need to function optimally. It also suggests getting restful sleep, living in tune with nature, and living in tune with your body through positive choices and physical fitness.

In the Sushruta Samhita (Susruta's Compendium, an ancient Ayurvedic medical treatise written in Sanskrit, dating back to 600 BC, Susruta, the “Father of Plastic Surgery,” in India, describes medicinal plants and recommends turmeric ointment to help the body recover after food poisoning. It is also used to support respiratory health, purify the blood, support healthy-looking skin, promote healthy digestion, temporarily relieve joint pain, and much more.(8,9)

In Hindu spiritualism, turmeric has a sacred connection to the sun, and its bright yellow-orange color plays an important role in the coloring of religious robes. During traditional Hindu weddings, a string necklace (called a mangala sutra) is dyed yellow with turmeric paste and tied around the bride’s neck by her groom.(10)

According to Herbal Medicine, turmeric most likely reached China by 700 AD (where it was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine), East Africa by 800 AD, and West Africa by 1200 AD. In 1280, Marco Polo described turmeric as exhibiting similar qualities to that of saffron. South Asian countries use it to cleanse wounds and support skin healing. In Pakistan, it is used for gastrointestinal support.(11)

In Biblical times, turmeric root and rhizome were used in perfume and as a spice. In the Middle Ages, the plant was called Indian saffron due to its orange-yellow color.(12)

As a medicinal herb, turmeric has been used to support breast milk production, respiratory health, normal digestion, liver health, skin health, healthy vision, and temporary pain relief. Native tribes in the Pacific even used turmeric dust during ceremonial dances and to support regular bowel movements and healthy-looking skin.(13)

Today, turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder, alongside cumin and chili powder. In addition, the primary active ingredients in turmeric, curcuminoids, are yellow and used to color foods such as mustard, butter, and cheese, as well as some cosmetics.

Turmeric is also a popular ingredient in dietary supplements to support many health issues. It is used as an herbal supplement in many different forms, including liquid extracts, herbal teas, vegetable-based capsules, soft gels, tablets, tinctures, powdered drink mixes, and more.(14)

Potential Health Benefits of Turmeric

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) reports about studies that have taken place on the potential health benefits of various forms of turmeric. Turmeric root and the rhizome are the most common parts of the plant to be used medicinally. The consensus seems to be that turmeric supplementation may support the health of the following bodily systems:(15)

  • Blood Circulation
  • Brain
  • Cellular, Skin, and Tissue
  • Digestive System
  • Heart
  • Immune System
  • Joints
  • Mood
  • Respiratory System

Healthy Blood Circulation

The body normally forms blood clots to stop wounds from bleeding. Sometimes blood clots can also be caused by poor diet and poor health, which clogs the arteries and may put people at risk for a stroke or a heart attack. Anticoagulants (also called “blood thinners,” even though they don't actually make the blood thinner) help to prevent blood clots, supporting blood circulation.(16)

It is believed that curcumin may serve as a natural anticoagulant by hindering platelets from forming blood clots. One study reported that the daily consumption of curcumin and its derivative, bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), helped to maintain anticoagulant status by interrupting the process involved in the formation of blood clots.(17)

Brain Health

Curcumin, the most active antioxidant in turmeric root, has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, although there is some confusion as to whether oral supplements or injections work best for this purpose.(18)

Curcumin has also been linked to supporting brain function in a study on aging rats, which found that curcumin supplementation enhanced memory and neuroprotective properties. However, human clinical studies are needed to understand this concept.(19)

Another study suggests that curcumin may help prevent a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques, which may contribute to age-related brain diseases.(20)

Cellular, Skin, Tissue, and Immune System Health

Many of curcumin’s potential health benefits are attributed to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons that can damage DNA, cells, and tissues in the body.

Even though, according to the Pharmacognosy Review, “a balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function if free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. … [But] antioxidants can assist in coping with this oxidative stress.”(21)

Oxidative stress may be caused by exposure to environmental toxins, pollution, a poor diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and other factors, including inflammatory processes in the body. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are believed to reduce cellular antioxidant capacity and are deemed a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.(22)

Oxidative stress in tissue cells may trigger an inflammatory response by the NF-kappa B nuclear signaling pathway.(23) It is believed that curcumin may inhibit the molecules known to play major roles in inflammation, including NF-kappa B, by inhibiting their activation.(24)

Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit an inflammatory response from cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, growth factors, and enzymes, while also promoting the activity of phase II detoxification enzymes.(25)

According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, “Curcumin has been shown to block many reactions in which NF-kappa B plays a major role. … The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin have been well documented. How these inhibitory responses are modulated by curcumin is not understood.”(26)

While the specifics are complex, it is believed that curcumin from turmeric helps to block free radicals directly, and then stimulates the body's own antioxidant enzyme mechanisms to support a healthy immune system by supporting glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL), the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps cells adapt to stress.(27)

A few studies suggest that curcumin may inhibit the growth of tumors in laboratory rats.(28, 29) A different study published in the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences found that turmeric root powder and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) are satisfactory alternatives to antibiotics in broiler chicken feed (the food given to chickens bred for human consumption).(30)

When it comes to human trials, a clinical study on 44 male smokers with lesions in the colon found that the subjects who took 4 grams of curcumin per day for 30 days reduced their number of lesions by 40%.(31)

Digestive System Health

According to Herbal Medicine, turmeric root can be incorporated into meals with rice and beans to support digestion without unwanted side effects such as gas or bloating. It is also considered a cholagogue, stimulating bile production to support the body’s ability to digest fats.

There is some evidence that orally administered curcumin may even help protect intestinal mucosa in the gastrointestinal tract against oxidative DNA damage. However, due to its limited oral bioavailability, curcumin concentrations in plasma or tissue are likely to be much lower than other fat-soluble antioxidants, such as vitamin E.(32)

Heart Health

As the human body ages, it has less function in its vascular endothelium (the lining of blood vessels). When this lining is compromised, it may lead to an inability to regulate blood pressure and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Curcumin is believed to support healthy function of the vascular endothelium, which could support heart health.

A study on postmenopausal women found that oral curcumin supplementation, in conjunction with an exercise regimen, helped to improve vascular endothelium function.(33) Another study found that for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, taking 4 grams of curcumin per day before and after surgery gave the group a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack.(34)

Joint Health

In a study of patients with an autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body, patients receiving oral supplementation of curcumin (500 mg) and diclofenac sodium (50 mg) – alone or in a combination – reported a reduction in joint tenderness and swelling.(35)

Another clinical study on the bioavailability of curcuminoids investigated the effects of a patented formulation, BCM-95®CG (Biocurcumax™) – a highly-absorbent, synergistic blend of curcumin and turmeric essential oil derived from 100% pure turmeric (with no additional ingredients or cofactors) – on a human volunteer group. The results of the study indicated that the bioavailability of BCM-95®CG was 6.93 higher than normal curcumin formulas, meaning that it was absorbed earlier and retained longer in the body, offering support for temporary pain relief.(36)

Terry Naturally is a popular and trusted brand that produces CuraMed pain reliever products containing BCM-95. You can find the CuraMed product line on Natural Healthy Concepts.(37)

Turmeric can also be used as a poultice (cloth with herbs soaked in hot water) for use as a topical compress to help relieve joint pain or muscle strains.

Mood Health

In a controlled study of 60 patients with symptoms of depression, 1 gram of daily curcumin supplementation led to positive improvements in mood.(38)

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of healthy adults with a mean age of 68.5 years investigated if oral curcumin supplementation could improve their ability to cope with mental stress. Results showed a significant reduction in mental fatigue and higher levels of calmness and positive mood.(39)

These results may be attributed to curcumin supporting healthy function of the “feel good” brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.(40) For instance, in a study on mice, curcumin produced more serotonin in both the frontal cortex and hippocampus.(41)

In a separate double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 70 women with a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms during their menstrual cycle, taking 0.2 g of curcumin for 10 days for three consecutive menstrual cycles significantly reduced the severity of their symptoms.(42)

Respiratory Health

Inhalation of turmeric volatile oil has been found to support respiratory tract health by relieving symptoms such as coughing and excess sputum (saliva and mucus in the respiratory tract as a result of infection) – also sometimes called phlegm.(43)

Turmeric Dosage Recommendations for Adults*

  • Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day
  • Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
  • Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
  • Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day

* According to the UMMC

Turmeric supplements have not been studied in children, so there is no recommended pediatric dose.

The turmeric plant usually only contains about 3% curcumin content, so to get the recommended daily dosage of curcumin, try taking a dietary supplement of turmeric root and rhizome that contains significant amounts of curcumin.

The Power Behind Turmeric: Curcumin

The bioactive components in turmeric include several curcuminoids, such as curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bis-demethoxycurcumin, as well as turmeric essential oils. As stated earlier, curcumin (diferuloylmethane) – the yellow pigment in turmeric – is its main bioactive compound and has been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antibacterial activities as noted in more than 6,000 citations as the subject of thousands of peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. According to research, curcumin has 600 potentially preventive and therapeutic applications in addition to 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. In food, curcumin provides curry with its color and unique pungent flavor.(44, 45)

Turmeric for Pain Relief

As an anti-inflammatory, specifically, the curcumin in turmeric is often considered a natural alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen that are used to treat inflammation, mild to moderate pain, and fever. Studies suggest curcumin supplementation may be as effective as NSAIDs in temporarily reducing pain from headaches, sore joints or muscles. In particular, studies report that turmeric may provide some support against joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees. It works by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.(46, 47)

A review of randomized clinical trials indicates scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of oral supplementation of turmeric extract (about 1,000?mg/day of curcumin) standardized to 80–95% curcuminoids, primarily curcumin, taken over 8–12 weeks of in the treatment of arthritis, which is the chronic inflammation in one or more joints causing pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. The most common type of arthritis – osteoarthritis – is a degenerative joint disease that occurs during the aging process. Typically, people afflicted with osteoarthritis use NSAIDs to help deal with discomfort and minor pain, but their long-term use cannot be sustained due to inadequate pain relief and adverse effects on the heart and gastrointestinal system. That’s why herbal treatments such as curcumin supplementation are used to help relieve arthritis symptoms (mainly pain and inflammation).(48)Turmeric for Depression

In addition to offering temporary pain relief, curcumin is considered helpful when it comes to supporting a healthy mood. Depression affects major organs in the body such as the brain, decreasing serotonin and dopamine levels and degrading parts of the brain. Most people with major depressive disorder (MDD) have higher levels of inflammation in the brain and have trouble making new brain cells (neurogenesis). Researchers from several universities in Australia indicate that curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, may help reduce symptoms of MDD by restoring neurogenesis and healthy brain function, protecting it from oxidative stress, inflammation, and other types of damage, which could in turn lead to improvements in mood.(49, 50) In a review of six other clinical trials of patients with depression taking oral curcumin supplements for 4 to 6 weeks, research shows that curcumin helps reduce depressive symptoms and feelings of anxiety with no adverse effects. However, further clinical research is needed.(51)

Turmeric for Weight Management

When your body has stored too much excess adipose tissue (fat), you may be considered obese. This obesity may cause long-term health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Obesity is also associated with the body’s overproduction of cytokines, which may promote inflammation and block proper metabolic function. Chronic inflammation is bad for your health, causing damage to your gut, your joints, your heart, and more. It is even linked to a higher risk of cancer. Some people combat minor symptoms of obesity with turmeric supplementation.(52, 53)

Turmeric may be helpful in managing a healthy weight and metabolism due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the curcumin in turmeric. Studies show that curcumin works by suppressing inflammation and having a positive impact on how the body stores fat – reversing insulin resistance and other symptoms associated with obesity. These factors may help fight the effects of inflammation and maintain a healthy weight.(54)

Turmeric for Healthy-Looking Skin

In India, turmeric is also revered for its beauty benefits. It is often used as a topical skin cream with organic plain yogurt on the face and neck to ease redness and promote skin healing and a balanced skin tone. However, due to the yellow pigments in the plant, it may stain skin temporarily – so use it carefully. A better way to get the potential skin care benefits of turmeric may be by eating it or taking a daily dietary supplement of turmeric. That way, you avoid any mishaps with stains and still get the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of the plant.(55)

Eating turmeric in a small quantity or taking it in a dietary supplement is believed to support healthier-looking skin, including for people with eczema, psoriasis, and acne.56) The curcuminoid pigments in turmeric support genes that enhance the body’s synthesis of antioxidants, protecting the skin and other organs from oxidative damage due to free radicals from environmental toxins or chronic stress. Although the aging process may cause DNA damage, curcumin helps slow this process and may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, according to some studies.(57)

Types of Turmeric

Now that you know the potential health benefits of turmeric, you can consider which type may work best for you. Turmeric is available in many different forms, including as a raw rhizome, as a powder, an extract, a paste, and an essential oil. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common uses for turmeric. No matter which type of turmeric you use, remember to pair it with a pinch of black pepper whenever possible to potentially help absorption.

Raw, Fresh Turmeric: Pure, unprocessed turmeric can be grown in a home garden or purchased at a local health food or grocery store. This type of turmeric has the highest concentration of curcumin and the most potential health benefits. To use it, wash the rhizome (the part of the plant commonly mistaken as the root, which resembles ginger), peel the skin, and chop, dice, or grate it. You can add a 1-inch piece of raw turmeric to your morning smoothie, add it to a batter of pumpkin muffins or loaf, throw it into a stir-fry, try it in a quiche recipe, and much more. If you have leftovers of raw turmeric, wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to 10 days. There is about 200 mg of curcumin in 1 tsp of fresh or ground turmeric.(58, 59)

Ground Turmeric Powder: This is the most convenient form of turmeric, as you can ingest it via vegetable capsules or softgels with the rest of your daily dietary supplements, or you can add ground turmeric powder to just about any meal. This spice makes a delicious condiment that can be sprinkled on roasted vegetables, stirred into salad dressing or marinade, or added to soup. Choose the powder rather than fresh grated turmeric if you don’t want the full texture of the raw rhizome. Chances are that you will, however, still enjoy the unique flavor of turmeric powder. You may even find yourself adding turmeric powder as a new staple kitchen spice in your pantry. Also consider trying it in a homemade turmeric face mask recipe for healthy-looking skin.(60)

Turmeric Essential Oil: Turmeric essential oil contains about 7% raw turmeric. Use it in a diffuser for relaxation and energy balancing support. Inhaling a fine mist of the steam may also help support the upper respiratory system during seasonal health challenges, and when diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil, a drop or two of turmeric essential oil to help fight off microbes on the skin and promote skin healing.(61)

Turmeric Extract: A turmeric supplement made with an extraction process using alcohol over a period of several days is also called a tincture. This form of turmeric may be easier to digest than the raw rhizome or powder, since the compounds that make up the plant have been separated into individual molecules and chemical structures. Turmeric tinctures are liquid-based and usually taken using a bottle dropper, diluted 1:2 with water, in 15 to 30 drops up to four times each day.(62)

Turmeric Paste: To make your own turmeric paste, mix ½ cup of powdered turmeric with 1-2 cups of water, 2-3 tsp of freshly ground black peppercorns, and 1/3 cup of coconut oil and use it topically for temporary muscle and joint pain relief. Or, use it to make Golden Milk lattes, replacing your morning coffee for natural energy support, by heating 2 cups of almond or coconut milk over medium-high heat until simmering. Then add 1 tsp ground or raw turmeric, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ground ginger, 2-3 tbsp of a natural sweetener such as honey (optional), and a pinch of black pepper to help absorption. Serve hot.(63, 64, 65)

Bioavailability of Turmeric

While there are many types of turmeric to enjoy, the concern with the plant is its lack of bioavailability (ability to be absorbed by the human body) and the fact that turmeric only comprises up to 6 percent of curcumin, so it’s important to double-check the standardized amount of curcumin in any supplement you may be taking. To increase its bioavailability, several scientific strategies and formulations have been explored, such blocking metabolic pathways, mixing curcumin with the non-curcuminoid components of turmeric, or blending curcumin with piperine (a compound in black pepper, sometimes also known as Bioperine in turmeric formulas).(66)

Some researchers suggest looking for turmeric manufactured with phytosome technology, which combines phosphatidylcholine with curcumin for an estimated 29 times improved absorption rate over other standard curcumin extracts.(67) Others recommend taking dietary supplements formulated with BCM-95 curcumin, a patented extract of curcumin rhizome that is enhanced with turmeric essential oils and standardized into a curcuminoid complex that is believed to have six times more bioavailability than standard curcumin products, according to one study, but further research is needed.(68)

Potential Side Effects of Turmeric

Turmeric is generally well tolerated by most people, but there have been side effects reported from taking turmeric in high doses. If you experience any of these side effects while taking turmeric, consult with your healthcare provider immediately: an allergic reaction; drug interaction; uterine contraction, miscarriage, or vaginal bleeding; aggravation of gallbladder or liver conditions; interference with normal blood clotting; heartburn or indigestion. Turmeric is not recommended for people taking blood thinners, and it should not be used by pregnant women.(69)

To avoid taking too much turmeric, try ingesting smaller doses (less than 3-6 grams per day) over a longer period of time. To experience potential anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, take 500 to 1,000 mg of curcumin per day along with black pepper to help with absorption. For chronic pain, you can potentially take four times that amount in milligrams per day. But be sure to avoid a diet consisting heavily on dairy, sugar and soy, as they will skyrocket your inflammation and negate any positive effects of turmeric.(70)

Turmeric for Kids and Pets

Keep in mind that turmeric is a spice that may not only have potential health benefits for adults, but also for children. Parents can give their kids turmeric to help calm an upset stomach or to provide temporary pain relief for developing bones and joints. Though, dosages are tricky and not recommended for youngsters under 100 lbs. However, adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to decaffeinated tea or warm coconut milk is a pleasant way to help with slightly older kids’ growing pains and to help them get a good night’s sleep.(71)

Did you know? Pets may potentially benefit from the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of turmeric too. Try giving your dog a pinch of ground turmeric in a paste with a dab of coconut oil. Do not exceed more than 1/4 tsp per day of Golden Milk paste for small dogs and 3/4 tsp per day for large dogs. Keep in mind that turmeric may cause constipation, so be sure to add water to help your dog stay hydrated and to maintain gut health.(72)

Cooking with Turmeric

Turmeric contains important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. The nutritional content of 1 tbsp of ground turmeric is about 24 calories, 1 g of fat, 4 carbohydrates, 1 g of dietary fiber, and 16% of your daily intake of iron. It’s also great source of vitamin B6 (6% of your daily intake), vitamin C (3%), manganese (26%), and potassium (5%), among other nutrients.(73, 74)

Here are some easy ways to add turmeric into your daily health routine.

Turmeric Tea: Steep 8 oz filtered hot water with tea leaves for up to 10 minutes, add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, strain, and honey (optional). Or, try a recipe for Golden Milk, which includes coconut milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey.(75)

Turmeric Smoothie: Buy a small rhizome of raw turmeric at a health food store, wash it, and peel the skin. Then chop up and blend a small amount (no greater than 1 inch) in a smoothie with your favorite fruits and green leafy vegetables. Fresh berries, organic orange juice or fresh lemon will reduce the slightly bitter flavor. You could also use a pinch of ground, powdered turmeric in the smoothie instead of the raw plant.(76)

Turmeric Curry: Brown 8 oz ground pork, turkey, or chicken in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add 1-piece grated ginger, 4 garlic cloves, 1 small sliced onion, and 1 tsp turmeric and cook on medium for 4-5 minutes. Add one 5.5 oz can of coconut milk and ¼ cup water and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and add steamed rice.(77)

Turmeric Veggies: Toss a pinch of turmeric powder, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper on starchy vegetables such as cauliflower or potatoes, and roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes at 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).(78)

Turmeric Dressing: Add 1 tsp of ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp of dried dill weed, 2 tsp of honey, 3 tbsp of vinegar, and 1/4 cup olive oil into a shaker bottle or mason jar with a tightly sealed lid and shake until all ingredients are mixed well. Then drizzle on your favorite salad.(79)

Turmeric Soup: Brown one onion in 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook 1 carrot and 2 stalks celery for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 32 oz vegetable broth, 3 cups water, pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low. Add and cook cauliflower for 10-15 minutes. Add 1 can northern beans and 1 bunch kale. Cook until the kale is slightly wilted. Serve hot.(80)

Turmeric Cookies: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Blend 100g gluten free oats until in a flour-like consistency. Add 100g rice flour and 2 tsp ground turmeric. Mix. Add 120g coconut oil (soft, not melted), 1 lemon zest, and 60 mL maple syrup. Mix. Form dough balls with hands and press onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.(81)

How to Shop for Turmeric

Curcumin has a relatively low bioavailability, which means it is poorly absorbed and rapidly metabolized and eliminated by the body, so it is generally regarded as safe. Be sure to look for supplements with Bioperine (also called piperine), which supports the absorption (bioavailability) of curcumin by 2,000%. Or, shop for products with BCM-95, a 100% pure formula with a bioavailability 6.93 higher than normal curcumin formulas.

Turmeric has been used as food and medicine in a wide variety of applications across many cultures for thousands of years. It is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements, topical ointments, soaps, cosmetics, spices, energy drinks, and more. With so many applications for food and medicine, it may seem overwhelming.

There are many other ways to enjoy turmeric, but now that you understand where turmeric comes from, how it is used, and how it may provide the body with potential health benefits, feel free to start your natural health journey by browsing the selection of high-quality standardized turmeric supplements – available in capsules, tablets, extracts, and more ­– from Natural Healthy Concepts. Try turmeric and experience the difference it may make to your health today!

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