The turmeric plant is a perennial herbaceous plant from the ginger family. Turmeric is the boiled and dried rhizome of this plant.
Turmeric is used extensively in cosmetics and skincare products. Several turmeric-based skincare products like creams, body scrubs, anti-aging, anti-wrinkle formulations, etc., are sold in stores across South Asia and the Middle East. Turmeric gives the skin softness and glow. Saraf et al. (2011) studied and validated a cosmetic cream’s anti-aging, anti-wrinkle action with Curcuma longa.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric and has been in use as medicine for centuries. Curcuminoids have been extracted from turmeric (Kulkarni et al., 2012). Pharmacological reviews are undertaken by Ammon et al. (1991), Jurenka (2009), and others validate curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the active compound in the spice, exhibits anti-spasmodic activity. It was seen to stimulate bile secretion in animals and help treat liver disorders.
Jagetia and Aggarwal at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, US, writes, “Interestingly, curcumin at low doses can also enhance antibody responses. This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system.”
Studies by Drew Tortoriello, an endocrinologist and research scientist at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, indicate that turmeric lessens insulin resistance and prevents type-2 diabetes. Curcumin, however, is not readily bioavailable. Even those who are not pre-diabetic will benefit from regularly adding turmeric powder to their food.
Turmeric is water-soluble and contains oxalates. It thins the blood and so is contraindicated with aspirin and warfarin. It is placed in the “generally recognized as safe” category of food additives by the FDA.
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