HERBAL MEDICINE FITNESS
Benefits of Turmeric For Joint Health
24th July, 2020
Most of us are familiar with turmeric as an ingredient in cooking, nestled amongst the other herbs and spices in the spice rack, it’s hard to ignore with its vibrant golden hue. There’s no denying the warming and comforting goodness that a good bowl of curry can deliver, however, the benefits of turmeric are not a discovery of modern times, its use can be traced back to over 4,500 years ago!
Turmeric was not only used as a culinary spice and a revered traditional medicine, but it also played an important part in religious practices, wedding ceremonies and was even worn as an amulet to ward off evil spirits. Turmeric was often used to dye the cloth for the vibrant, golden robes worn by Buddhist and Hindu monks.
As a native plant of Southeast Asia, India has long been the largest producer of turmeric since its early beginnings. Turmeric root comes from the plant Curcuma longa which belongs to the same botanical family as ginger. The underground stems are called rhizomes which are harvested, dried and ground into a yellow powder. Because of this bright colour, turmeric has also been known as ‘Indian Saffron’.
Currently, turmeric is enjoying the limelight as one of the most popular herbs on the market for joint pain and inflammation, and for good reason. Much research has been conducted on the medicinal uses of turmeric and you’ll find the internet and trendy cookbooks brimming with recipes for lattes, smoothies, dressings and of course, curries to help you incorporate turmeric into your diet1,2.
So, what is it that makes turmeric so beneficial for inflammation and mild joint pain?
The turmeric root naturally contains bioactive substances called curcuminoids, the most important of them being curcumin. Curcumin is the compound which is responsible for the medicinal actions of the plant. Although curcumin only takes up a small proportion of the total root, it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin can be hard for the body to absorb, so when adding it to recipes it’s important to ensure that there is a fat component in the dish, such as yoghurt, olive oil or nuts to help get the full health benefits from the root.
Unfortunately, a large number of us can expect to experience joint pain at some stage in our lives. Joint health is important for everybody, particularly as we age and turmeric has been shown to be effective for relieving inflammation and swelling of the joints. Turmeric has long been used to treat sore joints, including the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis, and for helping to improve mobility and stiffness. Turmeric is not only helpful for reducing inflammation, but it can also help to protect our bodies from free radical damage through its antioxidant action. Antioxidants help to keep our cells strong and operating as they should, keeping our body and its systems running smoothly. Oxidative or free radical damage has been linked to many health conditions, including poor joint health and function, so antioxidants are important to keep our bodies healthy.
The popularity and medicinal benefits of turmeric have stood the test of time, if you suffer from sore joints and inflammation, or think you could use a few more antioxidants in your diet, why not give turmeric a try?