Turmeric has been around for a long time, as in, thousands of years. It comes from a plant in the ginger family and after a process of boiling and drying, you get the distinct orange spice powder. Flavor-wise, it has a warm, peppery flavor. In addition to food, however, it’s been used for years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. What are the benefits?
#1: It might have anticancer properties
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been researched for its ties to cancer prevention and treatment. Studies on animals have been promising, as well as studies on cancer cells in a lab setting. In those situations, curcumin seems to kill cancer cells and also prevent them from growing. It’s most effective on breast, stomach, skin, and bowel cancer cells. In more circumstantial evidence, people from countries where curcumin is eaten a lot have lower rates of certain cancers.
#2: It helps joint pain
Turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory for thousands of years, and since joint pain is caused by inflammation, turmeric can help. At least one study showed that curcumin was more effective than a prescription drug. Turmeric would be most effective as a preventative treatment before symptoms start.
#3: It could reduce stress
Turmeric and its curcumin are considered adaptogens, which means they help decrease the release of stress hormones. This balance means a person is protected against both physical and mental stress. Studies show curcumin might be able to treat anxiety and depression, since in addition to lowering stress hormones like cortisol, it might raise levels of serotonin.
#4: It could improve skin health
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, so it could combat symptoms of aging skin. One study review from 2016 showed turmeric helped skin conditions when it was both consumed and put right on the skin. There are lots of recipes for homemade turmeric masks, while you can find many masks, serums, mists, and other products containing turmeric in stores and online.