Turmeric, sometimes called Indian saffron or the golden spice, is a tall plant that grows in Asia and Central America. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of health conditions. These include chronic pain and inflammation. Western medicine has begun to study turmeric as a pain reliever and healing agent.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon (tbsp) of turmeric powder contains:
- 29 calories
- 0.91 grams (g) of protein
- 0.31 g of fat
- 6.31 g of carbohydrates
- 2.1 g of fiber
- 0.3 g of sugar
That same 1-tbsp serving provides:
- 26 percent of daily manganese needs
- 16 percent of daily iron
- 5 percent of daily potassium
- 3 percent of daily vitamin C
While turmeric is a flavorsome spice that is nutritious to consume, it has also traditionally been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, wounds, digestive ailments, and liver conditions.
Turmeric is thought of as a pain reliever. The spice is reputed to relieve arthritis pain as well. Studies seem to support turmeric for pain relief, with one studynoting that it seemed to work as well as ibuprofen (Advil) in people with arthritis in their knees. Though dosing recommendations seem to vary, those who participated in the study took 800 mg of turmeric in capsule form each day.
The antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins. This can be a good news for people who take strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions that might hurt their liver with long-term use.
Last but not least, Curcumin shows promise as a cancer treatment. University studies said it has protective effects against pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.
The spice can contribute to healthy digestion as a result of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a digestive healing agent. Western medicine has now begun to study how turmeric can help with gut inflammation and gut permeability, two measures of digestive efficiency.
The spice is even being explored as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).