Turmeric spice with turmeric supplements

Although turmeric has a long and storied history as a spice in Chinese and Middle Eastern dishes, the bitter, earthy spice is also a renowned staple in traditional Eastern medicines, where it has been used for thousands of years "to ‘tone’ blood, relieve digestive ailments, control breathing problems, improve rheumatism, diminish pain, and fight fatigue," according to Everyday Health.

Today, turmeric is widely available as a spice and a supplement. You can use turmeric to make everything from a skincare mask to a delicious smoothie. And as physicians have known for thousands of years, no matter how you get it, turmeric can have quite the impact on your health. Interestingly, though, your body can have a hard time absorbing turmeric on its own. However, if you pair it with black pepper, your body’s ability to process the spice increases by more than 2,000 percent, according to Healthline.

Want to know more about this incredible plant? Read on to learn a few of the ways turmeric can dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Taking turmeric every day can help curb inflammation


Turmeric’s reputation as one of the cornerstones of alternative medicine is based on centuries of use. "Turmeric is auspicious and one of the most important herbs," Anupama Kizhakkeveettil, a specialist in Ayurvedic medicine told The New York Times. "We use it for so many different conditions," the doctor continue, "it’s a time-tested herb."

While many people talk about turmeric itself as a potent disease fighter, it’s actually a chemical within the spice called curcumin that gives the spice its power. In addition to providing turmeric with its vibrant, bright orange color, curcumin appears to have a number of health properties. One of the biggest is its ability to fight inflammation.

The process is complicated, but curcumin basically acts as a blocking agent, preventing a molecule called NF-k8 from entering the nucleus or brain of individual cells in your body and turning on genes that trigger inflammation (via Healthline). This is important since low-level, chronic inflammation from things like infections, injuries, autoimmune disorders, or toxins has been linked to nearly every chronic disease.

Consuming turmeric every day may just lower your cancer risk

While turmeric appears to fight disease in numerous ways, its biggest potential use may be in the war against cancer. There’s abundant research showing lower rates of the disease in countries where turmeric is consumed most frequently in meals, according to Cancer Research UK. To find out why, scientists have studied the spice extensively.

In a report published in the journal Nutrients, researchers found over 12,000 different published medical studies on curcumin and its effects within the body. The review’s authors found that 37 percent of all the research conducted on the spice focused on turmeric as a cancer treatment. And the overwhelming results of all that research were positive, with researchers concluding that the spice does appear to be "an effective anticancer drug" and may inhibit the "development of several cancers."

"Some lab studies have found [turmeric and curcumin] might work against lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancers," WebMD revealed. "Others suggest that curcumin might help chemotherapy work better." When researchers compared the effects of curcumin plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone, they found that curcumin made the chemo more effective.