For thousands of years, turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been a staple of Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Prized for its use as both a culinary spice and for its powerful healing properties, the roots of the turmeric plant (a creeping root system called a “rhizome” because the root is a mass of stems and shoots branching off of the nodes) are sun-dried and then ground into a yellow powder that has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters and cheeses.
The active constituent that gives turmeric powder its color and health benefits is curcumin, an active phenol compound which is known to provide health benefits through its potent antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties.
Today, more than 6,000 studies have been conducted on turmeric and extensive clinical trials over the past quarter century have addressed the pharmacokinetics, safety and efficacy of turmeric in humans, with many promising effects observed. Turmeric works through its ability to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body.