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Turmeric


Introduction

Turmeric, a shrub related to ginger, is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Africa. Known for its warm, bitter taste and golden color, turmeric is commonly used in fabric dyes and foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. It should not be confused with Javanese turmeric.

Common Names—turmeric, turmeric root, Indian saffron

Latin NamesCurcuma longa

What It Is Used For

  • In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.
  • Turmeric has also been applied directly to the skin for eczema and wound healing.
  • Today, turmeric is used for conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. It is also used to reduce inflammation, as well as to prevent and treat cancer.

How It Is Used

Turmeric's finger-like underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and taken by mouth as a powder or in capsules, teas, or liquid extracts. Turmeric can also be made into a paste and used on the skin.

What the Science Says

  • There is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.
  • Preliminary findings from animal and laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.
  • NCCAM-funded investigators are studying the active chemicals in turmeric and their effects—particularly anti-inflammatory effects—in people to better understand how turmeric might be used for health purposes.

Side Effects and Cautions

Sources

  • Turmeric. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed on December 27, 2006.
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and curcumin. Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed on December 28, 2006.
  • Turmeric root. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:379–384.




last update: October 2011


Source : National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine



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