I didn’t know that turmeric is a member of the ginger family. What I do know, however, is that it is a medicinal herb, that may have been in use for thousands of years. Curcumin is the active ingredient in the yellow spice, turmeric. There is increasing evidence supporting its role in disease moderation. You only have to do a google search to see how turmeric may have a positive impact in conditions such as arthritis, cancer and help improve bowel health, brain function and the heart.

Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to boost the immune system, and enable improved free-radical scavenging. The reduced inflammatory mechanisms is important in diseases such as arthritis where it may act to improve joint pain associated with the condition. I am asthmatic, an asthma attack results from lung inflammation and so when I have an asthma attack, I drink hot water, turmeric and garlic – OK, it doesn’t taste great but it helps ease the coughing associated with my asthma attacks.

I recommend making sure that turmeric is a staple in your spice cupboard. The knowledge that it has been used for so long as a medicine in India leads me to think we have lost touch with the health benefits of many of our herbs and spices. It is something I would like to look at further when time allows! Meanwhile, turmeric is very versatile and can be used as a meat or vegetable rub – my personal favourite is a mix of: dried turmeric, chilli flakes, coriander and cumin on cubed butternut squash – then roasted.

It can be used in curry pastes, a stir fry, added to rice (beautiful vibrant yellow rice). It can also be used in soups and smoothies. One of my personal favourites is in home-made hummus. Turmeric has to be a good reason to have a curry tonight!

Please seek medical advice before using turmeric in the treatment of a condition.

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