Written By Guest Author Kat Blake; Naturopath.

Turmeric has developed popular attention in recent months and trendy cafes are even serving turmeric lattes.

The truth is, it isn’t a new spice.

It has actually been used to manage inflammatory conditions for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.

Turmeric is a tall perennial herb native to South East Asia that can grow up to 1 meter in height. Its flesh is orange in colour with yellow and white flowers.  It has a warm and peppery flavour with a fragrance that is similar to a blend of ginger and orange.

It is used in the treatment of Arthritis, Asthma, digestive weakness, liver insufficiency,Eczema, Psoriasis and also used as a potential preventative for cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.

The active constituent found within this spice is called Curcumin. Curcumin is a lipophilic polyphenol which is responsible for it’s wide variety of pharmacological actions. Turmeric exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting arachidonic acid metabolism and inflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a),

Other actions of Turmeric include:

  • Antioxidant, (any substance that may prevent organ damage by scavenging free radicals and protecting against oxidation),
  • Antiplatelet, (reduces platelet aggregation),
  • Cholagogue, (increases flow of bile),
  • Hepatoprotective. (protects the liver against damage from toxins)

There are some precautions:

High doses should not be taken for long periods. Use caution if combining with anticoagulant medication. Avoid if currently on warfarin (Marevan and Coumadin) as it may increase pro-thrombin. Use caution with antiplatelet medication such as aspirin including Aspro, Solprin, Astrix and Cartia. Co-prescription may result in increased bruising and bleeding.

Preparing and cooking:

This beautiful yellow colour can stain easily so be careful and wash any area to prevent discoloration of bench tops.  If your grocery store has turmeric rhizomes available you can make fresh powder by boiling, drying then grinding to a fine consistency.

How to eat:

  • Add to sautéed apples, steamed cauliflower or green beans.
  • Any lentil dish will be enhanced by adding this spice
  • Add vibrant colouring to salad dressings.
  • Sauté with cauliflower for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add olive oil, salt and pepper.

For more information and journal references, or to begin supplementing, contact Kat Blake at Invigorate Naturopathy on 0433848828 or kathryn@inaturopathy.com.au