Quite possibly, yes. And it’s not just me who thinks this could well be the case. Turmeric is one of the most researched medicinal herbs out there, with thousands of peer-reviewed studies having been, and continuing to be published, detailing and pointing to a list of numerous health benefits that are vast and extremely far-reaching.
But even though this scientifically backed research is great, and fundamental to turmeric’s use as a medicinal herb, its benefits have been known for thousands and thousands of years, with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda commonly using turmeric as a natural medicine for its ‘cooling’, ‘drying’, and ‘balancing’ properties.
That bright yellow powder we are familiar with today, and see so frequently in the cupboards of almost every home, actually comes from a plant called the Curcuma longa, common to India and Southeast Asia, and it is the root of this plant that is ground down into that distinct beautiful bright colourful powder. One of the reasons why turmeric has the potential to be so potent, is because of its active ingredient, curcumin, and it is this active ingredient that much of the recent research has centred around.
I’m not going to list all of turmeric’s health benefits here, partly because there are just so many and this would be one very long blog post, and partly because we probably do not actually know all of them yet in fact, so I have chosen 5 that I feel could do with a little bit more of a mention..
Anti-inflammatory – arguably the most well-known and most documented benefit of turmeric. The active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to have super power abilities in fighting and managing inflammation – one of the biggest health factors affecting society today. In one study, it was found that the commonly used anti-inflammatories, aspirin and ibuprofen, were less effective than curcumin in reducing and managing inflammation. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489888)
Natural pain reliever – one area rich in research is that of turmeric’s potential ability to act as a natural pain relief, with many studies showing that it may be beneficial in wound healing, pain after surgery, arthritic pain (https://www.nature.com/articles/srep10278) , and pain caused by burning. It has been suggested that this may be because curcumin potentially naturally activates the body’s opioid system, which acts as our in-built pain-relieving response. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299913009084)
Detoxifying abilities – turmeric may help to enhance and maintain healthy detoxification processes. In today’s society we are unfortunately over-exposed to an abundance of harmful and toxic substances, which puts a heavy burden on the liver, our innate detoxifier. Curcumin, that little superhero active ingredient within turmeric, may assist the body in keeping our detox pathways running smoothly, and help the liver to detoxify the body efficiently. (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01088486)
Mood enhancing – curcumin may help to lift mood and promote feelings of well-being, and may also be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression, with a fairly recent study showing that it may be as effective as one of the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants – and considering the nasty side effects that often come with anti-depressant medication, this could be a real step in the right direction for safer and less harmful alternatives. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832433)
May help to manage inflammatory bowel disease – curcumin may be beneficial in the support and management of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties. The mainline treatment for these conditions is usually with anti-inflammatory drugs called corticosteroids, which, whilst reducing pain, may actually damage the gut lining, especially if taken for prolonged periods of time, potentially making the condition worse. So curcumin may provide hope in the form of an anti-inflammatory, gut healing, and good gut bacteria promoting, natural alternative. (https://academic.oup.com/ibdjournal/article-abstract/15/6/935/4647654?redirectedFrom=fulltext)
And one final note..to ensure that turmeric is as bioavailable to the body as can be, having it alongside some healthy fats and black pepper will help to increase its absorption!