Turmeric, the spice of life

Turmeric – a member of the ginger family – that, before it’s washed, looks a bit like an ugly carrot. Turmeric is not a root, but a rhizome, which means its stem is where all the good stuff is found.

Scattered to the wind, it’s a sacred part of Hindu ceremonies. It’s also been used as a dye for fabrics — it’s even what gives mustard its bright, yellow hue. But the very thing that makes turmeric so colorful — a compound called curcumin — is what some researchers say also makes it a powerful weapon against disease.

Biophysicist Ajay Goel has been studying its medicinal qualities at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

“We’re doing clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes,” said Goel.

“And it seems to have an effect on all these different conditions?” Cowan asked.

“Absolutely. It is such a wonderful compound that has been shown to work in every single instance people have tried.”

Goel says thousands of studies have shown that, in a concentrated enough dose, the curcumin in turmeric has not only proven to be an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory but also shows promise in preventing and even treating something as serious as cancer.

Café Gratitude’s co-owner, Ryland Englehart, said, “In a petri dish, that can knock out, like, diseases. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s become a phenomenon. It is the buzz word in the health world.”

So much so, Google’s Food Trends Report called turmeric a rising star of 2016.

Cowan asked Englehart if turmeric was as good as its hype.

CBS News

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