Turmeric & curcumine (and a bit of biochemistry!)...
posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 04:29 PM
Author: Sanjay Kumar, Brighton
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is native to Asia and India. The tuberous rhizomes or underground stems of turmeric are used from antiquity as condiments, a dye and as an aromatic stimulant in several medicines. Turmeric is an important spice in India, which produces nearly the whole world's crop and uses 80% of it.
Turmeric has been used in cooking for over 4000 years, to the early Vedic culture in India, when turmeric was the principal spice and also of religious significance. The spice is much revered by Hindus and associated with fertility.
In the IndiaOrganix kitchen, turmeric is added to nearly every dish, be it meat, pulses or vegetables.
Traditionally turmeric is used in the Indian system of homeopathic medicine. It has several medicinal properties including stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier, vermicide, antifungal, and antiseptic.
The active constituent of turmeric, curcumine, has been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic effects, because it is a very powerful antioxidant, it protects against free radical damage.
Organically grown turmeric have a higher curcumine (around 7.4%) content than commercially harvested turmeric.
Curcumine has also been shown to have a marked anti-inflammatory effect. It does this by reducing histamine levels and increasing production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands.
Curcumine is known to protect the liver from a number of toxic compounds. It has also been shown to reduce platelets from clumping together, which improves circulation and helps protect against atherosclerosis.
There are numerous worldwide studies showing cancer-preventing effect of curcumine; which may be due to its powerful antioxidant activity in the body.
Further research is being carried out to discover more about this fascinating natural pharmaceutical powerhouse. More will be revealed.