The History and Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric has been celebrated for its powerful healing properties for thousands of years.

Turmeric is a stunning, golden spice revered by culinary professionals, home chefs, scientists, and medical professionals alike. Aside from imparting that familiar deep, golden color that we often see in curries and Indian dishes, turmeric (Curcuma longa), has also been confirmed by modern science as an effective, safe, and therapeutic herbal ingredient.

When and why did turmeric become one of the most celebrated and beneficial herbs for health and wellness in our world today? This is everything you need to know about turmeric and its powerful healing properties.

The history of turmericflower of the turmeric plant
Turmeric, a close relative to ginger, is a flowering tropical plant that grows in Asia and Central America. The turmeric herb is derived from the plant’s rhizome, or underground stem. It is those dried, ground-up stems that create the gold-colored powder that lives in our spice cabinets.

In addition to the unmistakable color and flavor that turmeric imparts on our food, it has also been celebrated and used for its natural healing properties since ancient times. Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional Indian medical philosophy still actively used today, uses turmeric to naturally heal congestion, wounds and bruises, and to aid in a multitude of skin conditions.

In recent years, scientists have increased their studies of turmeric and have been recommending it to help promote a healthy inflammatory response and to help minimize recurring pain. Why? Because the herb’s natural health benefits are nothing short of astonishing.

However, the real superstar isn’t necessarily turmeric by itself, but a powerhouse found within turmeric called curcumin.

Turmeric vs. curcumin
As mentioned, turmeric (or Curcuma longa) is the root or stem of the flowering plant found in Asia and Central America, and within that root are naturally-occurring compounds called curcuminoids. The curcuminoids lend the distinguishing color to the bright botanical and are also what modern-day scientific research supports as a critically important herbal supplement. There are three main curcuminoids in turmeric, generally referred to as “curcumin.”

With that said, many healthcare professionals also believe that utilizing the whole turmeric root, inclusive of all the root’s curcuminoids, can offer powerful healing and capabilities.

Andrew Weil, M.D., one of the pioneers of holistic and herbal medicine, said, “My preference is for whole turmeric extracts,” because he believes the components of the whole turmeric root may offer unique, synergistic benefits. It is for this reason that Rightful For Pain & Recovery is formulated with both the whole turmeric rhizome as well as an additional, powerful dose of curcumin.

Maximizing the benefits of turmeric
You’ve probably been seeing turmeric frequently – being added to juices, smoothies, recipes and now, more than ever, to supplements; and for a good reason. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory with a wealth of other science-backed health benefits.

But now that science, medical doctors, and the general population are catching on to what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for thousands of years, it’s important to understand one critical thing about maximizing the health benefits of turmeric: the bioavailability of turmeric’s most powerful compound, curcumin, is extremely low when taken alone.

What exactly does that mean? Bioavailability is the degree to which and speed with which a substance enters circulation and is able to take effect. On its own, curcumin is poorly absorbed in our bodies, which can result in minimal impact on our blood levels. So, without intentionally increasing absorption, curcumin’s health benefits are significantly lowered.

The good news is that there are proven ways to increase curcumin’s bioavailability. The addition of piperine, a compound in black pepper, has been shown in clinical studies to improve the absorption of turmeric by up to 2,000%!

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that turmeric is always taken with piperine to obtain the maximum health benefits of turmeric’s nutrients. For this reason, Rightful For Pain & Recovery counts piperine as one of its eight science-backed herbal ingredients. Be sure to look for piperine when selecting your turmeric supplements, and be wary of companies that use vague terminology like “proprietary blends” when listing ingredients.

Knowledge is power, and you should always feel educated and empowered when it comes to your health and well-being. If you have questions about the beneficial properties of turmeric, please reach out to our Customer Care Team and on-staff pharmacist via email at care@rightful.com!