Meet Turmeric – The golden spice
The plant turmeric (Curcuma longa) is very well known in India. The root is harvested, cleaned, dried, and powdered to be used as a spice (turmeric gives curry its beautiful golden yellow color) and as a medicine. Traditionally, turmeric was used for nearly every health condition known – from smallpox to a sprained ankle. The reason for its health effects is the compound known as curcumin. Just as oranges are a source of vitamin C, turmeric is a source of curcumin. Today, we extract curcumin from turmeric to use as a natural medicine.
As a separate, identifiable substance, curcumin was first isolated in 1815. But it would take almost another hundred years before its full chemical structure was accurately mapped in 1910.
Since then, research on curcumin has exploded. It works on multiple pathways at multiple levels of those pathways all simultaneously. It’s like a whole pharmacy of nutrients working harmoniously.
Because of its many beneficial effects, curcumin is well regarded for many health concerns. It stops pain and inflammation, and is being currently investigated for inhibiting tumors and fighting cancer, preventing fat growth and accumulation, regulating blood sugar, stopping depression and slowing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin is like a pharmacy unto itself working harmoniously in many different ways.
Turmeric Curcumin Absorbtion
The only drawback to the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. In order for it to be effective, it will need some help.
Freshly ground black pepper will increase the bioavailability of curcumin, which basically means it makes it possible for the body to absorb the curcumin. Piperine is the key active ingredient in black pepper, and according to various studies, it’s said to help make curcumin more bioavailable. The studies, for example this one, have been conducted on both humans and rats. Our advanced turmeric formula already includes pipeline!
This theory is not as well-founded as the one about black pepper, but some studies suggest that curcumin in turmeric is more easily absorbed when taken with fat. Turmeric is fat-soluble, which means it dissolves in fat, and in order for the body to be able to absorb it, you have to add some fat.
According to an American study, boiling turmeric for up to 10 minutes will increase its solubility, and may enhance absorption. Add turmeric to a cup of tea or some hot water. It’s also super easy and a great idea to add turmeric to all kinds of hot food. We usually add a few teaspoons to the water, while preparing quinoa or durra (sorghum bicolor).