Turmeric

Ulmas rubra

Distinguished by its oblong tubers, turmeric is an erect tropical, perennial plant. The leaves are large and petioled that taper at each end. The dull, yellowish flowers radiate from the stem encased in the petioled leaf. It is a sterile plant (does not produce seeds), but grows from the rhizomes, which consist of two parts. The fragrance is notable, bitter with mildly acrid taste.

Family: Zingiberaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Turmeric is a key herb in Sustain and Revive

Habit and cultivation: Native to India and South-East Asia, but now grown in many countries of the world although India continues to account for much of the world’s production. Only known as a domesticated plant and does not grow in the wild.

Actions (known for): Anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, cholagogue, anti-microbial, carminative, hypolipidaemic, hepatoprotective and anti-cancer.

History

Used in India for at least 2,500 years. Recorded in China since 700 AD. First used as a dye, then valued for its cosmetic uses and as a condiment. Known also as the ‘poor man’s saffron’. Long used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda, dating back to 250 BC, to relieve the effects of poisonous food. Over the last 10 years it has become very popular for its use as an anti-inflammatory.

Parts used:

Tubers / dried rhizome.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Bornel (essential oil), cineole (essential oil), curcumin (coumarin), diarylheptanoids (yellow pigments), methoxylted curcumins, sabinene, sesquiterpene ketones and zingiberene.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamin: C. Minerals: calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.

Indications:

Arthritis, asthma, cancer, prevention of – cardiovascular disease, digestive weakness, eczema, liver insufficiency, psoriasis. Topically : analgesic, ringworm, bruising and infected wounds.

Dosage:

Liquid extract (1:1): 40-80ml per week. Absorption improves with lecithin. Should be taken on an empty stomach 20 mins before meals or between meals. Standardised powder (curcumin): 400-600mg 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Dyspeptic complaints. Chronic cholecystitis.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Avoid in women wishing to conceive, and in patients suffering early hair loss. Avoid excessive sunbathing. Contra-indicated when taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet drugs.

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