Curcuma longa is an herb that belongs to the ginger family of herbs, and it is the source of the spice known as tumeric. It is widely grown across the world for its use in the kitchen as a spice, as well as for medicinal use. The herb thrives well in an environment that is warm and humid. The suitable temperatures for their growth are above 29.8 degree Celsius.
The curcuma plant has unique features that can be used for its identification. It has characteristic tuberous roots and leaves which extend upward. The stem is thick, and it erects from the roots. The root is a fleshy oblong tuber whose length ranges between five and ten centimeters.
The root is tapered at both ends, and its exterior color can be tan or yellow. The curcuma root has a distinctive fragrant aroma, and it has a bitter taste. When the roots come into contact with saliva, it turns the saliva yellow and causes a warm sensation in the oral cavity.
The curcuma root consists of various substances that make it useful. Studies indicate that curcuma root contains calcium chloride, starch, gum, and curcumin, which is a coloring material that is yellow in color. The herbaceous plant gives rise to rhizomes that grow parallel to the ground.
The underground stems produce roots below and shoot above the ground. The herb's rhizomes have different medicinal purposes. The leaves of the curcuma plant are lance-shaped, narrow at the end, and dark green. The leaves give rise to flowers which are pale yellow in color. The flowers grow in groupings of three to five.
The turmeric herb has various uses both as a spice in the kitchen and as an herbal medicine. It is a common ingredient of curry powder. The turmeric powder is also added to oils such as olive oil to prevent its degradation due to the powder's antioxidant properties.
Turmeric is also used in chemistry to produce papers that are used to test for alkaline solutions. In this article, you are going to learn about the various health benefits of Curcuma longa as well as the side effects that are associated with its use.
Benefits of Curcuma Longa
The turmeric herb has been in India for thousands of years due to its health benefits. Studies have revealed that the herbaceous plant can be used for various medicinal purposes. The following are some of the proven health benefits of Curcuma longa.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
According to researchers, curcumin, which is the active ingredient found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and disinfecting properties. Most Indians apply the turmeric powder to cuts and abrasions due to its ability to minimize inflammatory responses. Turmeric can be taken orally for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The herbaceous plant does not cause any side effects compared to conventional medicine when taken through the oral route. Turmeric is regarded as a safe alternative to anti-inflammatory medications that cause side effects such as ulcers, renal failure, and intestinal bleeding. The natural anti-inflammatory remedy is beneficial to individuals who have arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Turmeric Helps in the Treatment and Prevention of Cancer
Turmeric use has been linked to the slowing and destruction of cancerous cells in the body. Researchers suggest that the herbaceous plant prevents the development of cancer through elimination. There is scientific evidence to prove that turmeric can prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lungs.
Other cancers that can be prevented by Curcuma longa include colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. Turmeric increases its effectiveness in the prevention of cancer when it is taken together with other foods. When it is taken alongside cauliflower, Curcuma longa can prevent the development of prostate cancer.
Onions have also been shown to enhance its ability to prevent colon cancer. Studies have also suggested that turmeric can prevent melanoma and also the growth of new blood vessels that grow in tumors. The herbal plant is also thought to reduce the risk associated with childhood leukemia.
3. Curcuma Longa Boosts Digestion
Curcuma longa has detoxification properties that may aid the digestion process. It may also assist in weight management. Researchers have also suggested that turmeric helps in the removal of low-density cholesterol from the liver, enhancing the functioning of the liver.
The Indians use turmeric to relieve irritable bowel syndrome due to its detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. Its consumption helps in reducing gas and bloating.
4. Helps in the Management of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes
The herbal plant has been shown to reduce the accumulation of the plaque that is associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases. The active ingredient, curcumin, is known to lower the activities of two enzymes, COX-2 and LOX.
As a result, platelets are blocked from causing the coagulation of blood to form blood clots. Turmeric has also been shown to lower blood sugar concentration, which is helpful to individuals diagnosed with diabetes.
5. Helps Manage Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer's is thought to result from the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. Turmeric slows and prevents the progression of the condition by getting rid of the amyloid plaque from the brain. Turmeric blocks the formation of amyloid plaque by improving the immune system’s response.
Risks & Side Effects of Curcuma Longa
The use of turmeric has been linked to allergic reactions. When it comes into contact with the skin, turmeric can cause an allergic reaction that may present with itching and a burning sensation. The condition may also be accompanied by a mild, itchy rash. High doses of the herbal preparation can lead to the following effects:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Contractions of the uterus in pregnant women
- Increased menstrual flow
- Enhanced liver function tests
- Increased gallbladder contractions
It is advisable to be cautious when taking turmeric alongside other medications. The herbal preparation can interfere with the activity of certain drugs such as anticoagulants, including aspirin and warfarin. It can also interact with non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory medications. Other studies suggest that turmeric can be used to minimize the side effects associated with some prescription medicines such as prednisolone.
Curcuma Longa Review Sumamry
Turmeric can be consumed in its powdered form through addition to other foods as a spice. Dietary supplements can also be taken in the form of capsules to get a more concentrated dose. Some supplements are formulated in combination with other ingredients to enhance the activity of turmeric in the body.