Whole turmeric root and powder.

Turmeric: Inflammation Fighter

Turmeric. Does the name ring a bell? If it doesn't, it should. Turmeric has been gaining favor as a sort of golden child in the natural products industry for the past few years. Popular as a primary spice in East Indian curry blends for some, or but less popular as a part of North American cuisine, this spice should not be overlooked. It's been used as an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times. News reports tout it, and your mom is telling you to take it—so what's with this yellow stuff?

The reason for all this hullabaloo is simple: turmeric holds some of the most potent anti-inflammatory properties of anything you could hold in your medicine cabinet. Why is that important? Simply because inflammation is usually the underlying issue behind many chronic disease you could develop. Arthritis, cancer, type-1 diabetes, Alzheimer's--they all involve uncontrolled inflammation somewhere in the body. Curb the inflammation, and you help keep these diseases at bay.

Scientists continue to study turmeric and understand how it works. Scientists believe the active component is curcumin, and think that one reason why curcumin is so effective is that it helps enhance the action of a specific protein that is active in our immune system. This protein acts by binding to cells and then helping them to signal when they need help regulating inflammation. When this protein is in decline, one sees the emergence of many chronic diseases. Since curcumin encourages the proliferation of this protein, scientists speculate that it, in turn, helps to manage these conditions.

So...wondering how to incorporate it into your life? If you'd like to use it in fresh or powdered form, make a golden milk. A basic recipe for golden milk is one teaspoon dried turmeric in sixteen ounces almond or coconut milk, one-quarter teaspoon ginger, two pinches black pepper, gently heated, with raw honey stirred in, to taste. Studies have shown the turmeric to be the most bio-available when you take it with something fatty, or with black pepper. A good golden milk combines those two components.

If you prefer the ease of pill form, Earthlight also carries numerous curcumin and turmeric supplements. Solgar and Terry Naturally have two great curcumin supplements that many customers come in again and again for. Also, Earthlight's private label brand has a widely touted turmeric extract that our customers love. It's also dried in our spice section and, when available, fresh in our produce department.

Basically, turmeric has some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities of any substance in your medicine cabinet. It has been widely studied, and it's known to support wellness. It also can support treatment for a wide array of health conditions, including arthritis, type-1 diabetes, and cancer. With so many ways to take it, it's easy to dive in and start incorporating it into your life today.

The information in this article is for general educational purposes only, and should not be construed or interpreted as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new heathcare regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article or any linked materials.

Faith is Earthlight's staff writer and one of our many star employees.