Curcuma species are widely used for their benefits in peptic complaints, including the stimulation of bile secretion, the rejuvenating of peptic ulcers and the carminative effects. Turmeric is best known for its varied uses as a spice (an ingredient of curry powders, for example) and vegetable dye.
Turmeric Curcuma longa L. (= C. domestica Valeton).
Description: Turmeric is a stemless, leafy perennial herb closely resembling ginger (Zingiber), with broad, hairless leaves arising from near ground level, Attractive yellow and white flowers are borne in oblong spikes. The fleshy, smooth rhizomes are bright orange inside.
Origin: The plant is an ancient cultigen thought to have originated in India. It is cultivated in most tropical parts of the world, including China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa and Madagascar.
Parts Used: Rhizomes (Curcumae longae rhizoma). For health purposes, they are sliced and dried (sometimes dried without cutting) or used fresh.
Active Ingredients: The yellow, non-volatile pigments (3-5% of dry weight) are known as curcuminoids (comprising curcunsin, monodesmethoxycurcumin and bisdesmethoxycurcumin). The essential oil (2-7% dry weight) is rich in bisabolane- (characteristically high levels in C. longa), guaiane- and several germacrane-type sesquiterpenes. The latter includes alpha- and beta-turmerone, curlone and zingiberene. Also present is a polysaccharide (arabino-galactan) known as ukonan A.
Health Effects: Curcumin and related compounds are considered to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antimicrobial and cytotoxic towards bad cells; they are thought to be at least partly responsible for the choleretic and cholecystokinetic properties of turmeric. Ukonan A stimulates phagocytic activity.
Notes: Various Curcuma species are used against dyspeptic complaints, as stomachics and carrninatives, including wild turmeric (C. aromatica) , Japanese turmeric (C. xanthorrhiza) and zedoary (C. zedoaria).
Status: Traditional health; Pharm.; Comm. E+; WHO 1.
Preparation and Dosage: A daily dose of 2 g of the dried rhizome is recommended (up to 9 g of fresh rhizome per day).
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
Not to be used for an extended period of time. For extended use, consult with your family physician or health care provider.
Turmeric is contraindicated in cases of obstruction of the bile duct, or gallstones.
End of More Photographs - Turmeric Root (Curcuma) Powder
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