As both a traditional medicine and cooking ingredient that’s been used for almost 4,000 years, turmeric has certainly stood the test of time. In fact, thanks to its distinctive flavour and success in supporting bodily wellness, the golden spice, as it’s often referred to, has made itself a household name – globally. An ever-increasing number of people are coming to understand the effectiveness of this raw ingredient, especially over the past 25 years thanks to the publication of over 3,000 texts that dig deep into the benefits of consuming turmeric. Turmeric derives its name from the Latin word terra merita, meaning ‘meritorious earth’, which is a reference to turmeric’s unique colour.
Turmeric is extracted from a rhizomatous, herbaceous plant called Curcuma longa, of which 133 species have been identified. The plant needs lots of rainfall and temperatures of between 20°C–30°C to flourish. It’s often said that the turmeric we know and love comes from the ‘root’ of the plant, but that’s not technically correct! It comes from the rhizome, a stem that grows underground. From turmeric, more than 100 components can be isolated, including volatile oils and natural antioxidants. Nutritionally, turmeric contains fats, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, dietary fibre, sugar, protein and omega-3 fatty acid. It’s incredibly versatile, being suitable for use in food, cosmetics and medicine.
What role has turmeric played in the holistic world?
Throughout history, turmeric has played a vital role in the holistic world. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, Kampo (Japanese medicine) and Egyptian medicine. It’s been used to strengthen the body as a whole, boost the immune system and treat arthritis, wounds, abdominal pain, smallpox, chickenpox and your average coughs and colds. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has widely been used to treat various respiratory conditions, including asthma and allergies, rheumatism and sinusitis. In Chinese medicine, it’s commonly used to relieve flatulence, reduce gas and bloating and aid digestion. It’s even been used to increase the body’s ability to digest fats!
But turmeric’s popularity isn’t confined to medicine. Skincare formulators often use turmeric as an ingredient in face creams and sunscreens, and in some areas of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, turmeric paste is used to make the skin of brides and grooms glow for their union.
How is turmeric used today?
Today, turmeric is thought to be a powerful antioxidant and possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. It‘s also said to increase serotonin (the mood-stabilising hormone) turnover, which means it could help with depression. Clinical studies have highlighted that dietary turmeric may be useful in chemoprevention due to its antimutagenic effects, and that it could also be helpful in curing peptic ulcers.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared turmeric as 'generally regarded as safe' (GRAS), and turmeric has no associated toxic effects in either animal or human studies, which is pretty impressive!
Why is turmeric so important to us?
Our belief in the value of turmeric as a maintainer of bodily wellness heavily inspired the formation of Good Jamu! Our Tropical Turmeric jamu is carefully formulated with other potent herbs to bring the goodness of turmeric to you in a way that creates a sense of inner peace. It has a slightly sweet, luscious flavour and an exotic aroma. It’s filled with vitamins and is free from artificial preservatives – we aim to make it as pure and as natural as possible. But don’t just take our word for it; sip it or shot it after a workout, first thing in the morning or whenever you feel like it, and you’ll see what we mean!