People from the subcontinent of India have long believed that the spices used in their cuisines contribute to their health and longevity. They believe that these spices keep their digestion running smoothly and keep them healthy. The more that Western medicine delves into the health benefits of these Eastern spices, the more they’re discovering that there’s something to be said for the veracity of these claims. Many of these spices have been found to have helpful medicinal properties as well as adding flavor to food. One of the Indian spices that are creating a lot of buzz these days is turmeric.
Turmeric is actually derived from a rhizome. It’s closely related to ginger, another spice believed to have medicinal properties. Those holding to Ayurvedics medicine have been using turmeric for hundreds of years to cure various ailments from indigestion to flesh wounds. It has antibacterial properties, which may help wounds to heal more quickly, and prevents them from getting infected. Asian cultures as far away as Japan also use this spice to make a tea that is thought to settle stomachs and to treat mild forms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some cultures even put it in skin creams to keep their faces looking young and fresh.
Modern medicine is trying to see what other benefits there are to this versatile spice. Current medical research is testing the effects of turmeric on patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and other clinical conditions. Sales of supplements containing this spice are up thirty-five percent from 2004, and that number is bound to skyrocket once the benefits of taking these supplements hits the mainstream media. Even if the effects of this spice on these serious diseases are still being researched, many people feel that, if there’s a chance that it can help, it’s worth taking.
One of the biggest problems with consuming this spice is that not everyone is a fan of its flavor. Some people swear by Indian food. Others can’t even stand the smell. Those who can’t tolerate it will certainly find it difficult to work this spice into their diet. That’s why taking turmeric supplements is so popular. Instead of having to eat an entire meal flavored with a spice you don’t like, you can simply take a pill and be done with it. That makes it easier for the non-Indian person to get enough of this spice in their diet.