Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It grows spontaneously in South Asia and in tropical climate regions, while it is cultivated in many areas of Asia and Africa. It includes about 80 known species, among which the most used in nutrition and phytotherapy is Curcuma longa .
A BIT OF HISTORY
This spice has been part of human history for at least three thousand years. In fact, it was already used 4000 years ago by the Indians, who made extensive use of it considering it a sacred spice, linked to Hindu religious rituals. Certain hand-dyed fabrics (such as the robes of Buddhist monks), the cosmetics used for weddings and holidays, curry, are just some examples of the use of its strong coloring power and its symbolism. Although the date is uncertain, it seems certain that the Arabs , who specialize in the spice trade, introduced turmeric to Europe.
It is a plant about 1 meter tall, with large leaves even 45 cm long; the flowers are gathered in a showy and graceful inflorescence with colors that fade from green to purplish-white . It is also found more and more often in the green corners of supermarkets and nurseries as a decorative indoor plant. The root, the part actually used because it is rich in properties, is a large branched rhizome, yellow or orange, with marked aromatic characteristics.
While the flavor is very volatile, the color on the contrary remains unchanged over time.
For this reason, turmeric is a substance that is widely used in the food industry as a dye , indicated with the initials E100 , in many foods such as cheese, yogurt, mustard and other products.
PROPERTIES AND BENEFITS
For its beneficial and healing properties, turmeric is traditionally used in oriental medicine, in particular in the Ayurvedic tradition and in traditional Chinese medicine. It is widely used as a natural food supplement thanks to its ability to counteract inflammatory processes within the body. The main properties of turmeric include:
- Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic
The plant has in fact always been known for its purifying action, choleretic (stimulates the production of bile by the liver) and cholagogue (promotes the emptying of the gallbladder, preventing the formation of gallstones); moreover it also has a hepatoprotective action.
As an anti- inflammatory and analgesic , this spice is useful in case of musculoskeletal pain and joint inflammation, as well as in the presence of menstrual pain , colitis , headache and migraine , fibromyalgia . These properties are attributable to its most important active ingredient, curcumin.
As an antioxidant , it is useful in the prevention of premature aging and all the ailments that accompany it, including the slowing of the metabolism, which leads to gaining weight more easily after a certain age.
The immunostimulating action, on the other hand, is useful for strengthening the body's defenses, protecting it from the attack of bacteria, viruses and other harmful elements.
Regarding its effectiveness at the digestive level, today the WHO (World Health Organization) officially recognizes that turmeric exerts an effective action on certain digestive disorders , in particular in case of digestive difficulties and inflammation of the digestive system. , gastritis, bloating and nausea .
HOW TO USE IT IN THE KITCHEN
The recommended daily amount of turmeric to benefit from its extraordinary beneficial action is very minimal. 2 teaspoons of turmeric are enough, added to soups, rice, vegetable ragout and fish, to stock up on the right daily dose of antioxidants. It can also be used in infusions or green tea, to which it gives a pleasant spicy aroma, as well as in smoothies and centrifuged.
It is important to pay particular attention to heat , especially if you use fresh turmeric, because the high temperature reduces its virtues: it is therefore advisable not to subject it to prolonged cooking and high temperatures that damage its active ingredients. In the case of turmeric powder, it is advisable to add it only at the end of the preparation
The name turmeric comes from the Persian-Indian language, more precisely from the word Kour Koum , which means "saffron"; in fact, turmeric is also known as the Saffron of the Indies . The plant is considered auspicious and a symbol of prosperity and even today, in certain areas, young brides dye their hair and face with the lively yellow powder obtained from the root on their wedding day.
WHERE TO FIND IT?
Turmeric can be used either raw, by purchasing the fresh rhizome in supermarkets or fruit and vegetable shops, or dried, in powder.
Here it is also available combined with black pepper: the piperine present in Integrated Turmeric Powder and Integrated Turmeric in Tablets , in fact, ensures greater bioavailability of turmeric, facilitates its absorption and enhances its antioxidant effect.
For those who want a pure product but at the same time highly bioavailable even in the absence of piperine or other carriers, CurcuMaxima is available: it contains turmeric subjected to a processing with SLCP technology , highly stable, soluble and effective even at low dosage.
Finally, for those who prefer to take supplements in liquid form, Curcuma Tintura Officinale is also available, the most ideal formulation to combat digestive problems.