By Anna Marie Beauchemin, Clinical Herbalist & Holistic Nutritionist
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a wildly popular medicinal root prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. While this well-known botanical is indeed a potent herb for helping the body to modulate inflammation, the plant’s use extends far beyond this one action. What are some of the less well-known properties of this bright orange medicinal? Read below to find out!
Turmeric for Liver Support
Though not often discussed in mainstream plant media, turmeric is also widely used for its support of the liver and digestive system. Known as a cholagogue, this important class of herbs is thought to help stimulate the production and flow of bile in the liver and to the gallbladder. Cholagogues are used in a variety of scenarios, but supporting digestion is one of the main reasons why they are used.
Turmeric + Polyphenols
One of the main constituents of turmeric is the phytochemical—curcumin. Curcumin not only gives the root its bright orange color but is also the reason for its use as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Antioxidants are a class of phytochemicals thought to help reduce oxidation (in the body and beyond), and many occur naturally in both food and plants. Other examples of natural antioxidants include berries, beets, and dark chocolate.
Turmeric For Digestion
Thought of as both a warming and carminative herb, turmeric’s value in supporting the digestive system is robust. Pair it with the cholagogue properties mentioned above, and you have yourself a lovely little root capable of systemic digestive support. Keep in mind, however, that while the warming (and drying) properties of turmeric may be supportive in some cases, for others the plant’s energetics might not be the best fit. Whenever I work with a new herb I always listen to my body and see what feels most aligned for me and my unique constitution.
Turmeric as Food
Though turmeric may be prized as a potent medicinal herb at its very core, it is also a medicinal food. So often we get stuck in the idea that we need to supplement with herbs in order to see their effects. In reality, adding herbs like turmeric to your food or beverages is a wonderful way to start exploring their medicinal value. Turmeric has been used across the world as staple food and herb in many cultures, and its use in this way is deep and significant.
If you’re interested in incorporating turmeric into your diet, try adding the powder to dishes and broths or making a decoction or tea out of the fresh root.
Note: The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please make sure to consult with a licensed physician before adding any new herbal or dietary supplements into your life, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.
A Note from Sunwink