The human body becomes inflamed as a response to injury, pathogens, environmental toxins, or illnesses. Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from further damage and helps to initiate the process of healing. Inflammation can help to target immune responses to harmful free radicals or invasive materials, but it isn’t always beneficial to your health. Sometimes, the body overreacts to outside stimuli or misreads parts of your own body as invasive. For individuals with allergies, inflammation can happen from simply having a snack, coming in contact with a furry animal, or stepping outside during spring or fall.
When inflammation becomes excessive or chronic, it is no longer beneficial and can do permanent damage to your health and wellness. Long-term inflammation may eventually cause oxidative stress, resulting in high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. In some cases, chronic inflammation is the result of some underlying disease, in which case both the condition and the inflammation must be treated to provide pain relief.
While avoiding allergens, staying active and happy while maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet can do wonders in reducing inflammation; when your lifestyle alone isn’t enough to stay balanced. If you need a little help to heal from an injury, get better after illness, or just want to address inflammation in the body, adding a turmeric supplement could be the answer. In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about turmeric root. What it is, where it comes from, how to use it, and what it can do to reduce inflammation.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a flowering plant in the same family as the ginger plant. Also used for its roots, turmeric is native to areas of India, Thailand, and tropical regions of other southeast Asian countries. Turmeric needs year-round warmth and humidity to grow and is best suited to those climates where it naturally grows. As a result, the cultures where turmeric is used most often include India, Thailand, and some Middle-Eastern countries. While certain areas of Europe and the Americas have adopted turmeric into their local cuisine, it is most prevalent in Asia.
Used as a traditional ingredient in Indian and traditional Chinese folk medicine, turmeric is now most commonly known as an edible seasoning used to flavor meat, tofu, vegetables, and even sweet desserts. Due to its vibrant orangey-gold color, turmeric has also been used as a natural dye to color fabrics, yarn, makeup, and other items. In some cultures, turmeric even serves ceremonial purposes and possesses cultural significance for individuals in regions where the plant grows.
Now, turmeric is seeing a surge in popularity as traditional herbal medicine begins to enter the mainstream. Used for centuries by traditional healers around the world, turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to address acute or chronic inflammation among other health conditions.
Benefits of Turmeric
It is no accident that turmeric is a key ingredient in many traditional Eastern medicines - this simple root has some incredible health benefits. In addition to reducing swelling and inflammation, taking a turmeric supplement can offer you the following benefits:
- Reduced risk of developing heart disease
- May disrupt the formation of cancer cells
- Prevent or treat symptoms of arthritis pain
- Reduce the risk of developing adult-onset pre-diabetes or diabetes
- Improve memory and cerebral health
- Inhibit harmful bacterial growth (i.e. for better skin, fewer infections, better immunity)
- Protect eye health
Turmeric for Inflammation
Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, specifically due to high levels of curcumin. Curcumin is the chemical responsible for turmeric’s beautiful golden-orange color, and the active ingredient that gives this root its powerful health benefits. Curcumin is known to specifically target inflammation, helping to reduce it and inhibit it from increasing as a result of disease, allergy, or injury. For example, taking turmeric after exposure to grass can help to reduce nasal and sinus inflammation, reducing the discomfort associated with hay fever.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are so powerful that it may perform as well or better than traditional painkillers like ibuprofen. Because of this, turmeric has been recommended as a viable option for the treatment of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, seasonal allergies and hay fever, skin damage, gastrointestinal pain or distress, and more. In some cases, wellness professionals have even recommended the use of turmeric supplements to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation after minor surgeries or medical flare-ups.
How To Use Turmeric
Turmeric is easy to incorporate into your daily wellness routine, whether you want to take it in tablet form along with your other supplements/medication, or add it to your food and drink to enjoy the vibrant flavor. As a popular spice used in Indian, Thai, and other Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, turmeric is undeniably more delicious than traditional anti-inflammatory treatment options.
Luckily, turmeric is best when taken orally, since it is highly bioavailable when absorbed through the digestive system. In general, most professionals recommend taking around 3-grams of turmeric root per day for up to two months, which is plenty to give your favorite dishes a delicious flavor boost. To get long-term results and to address chronic inflammation, try using turmeric daily during flare-ups of symptoms. To address acute inflammation, take turmeric as needed.
The easiest and most efficient way to take turmeric is by adding a turmeric extract to your favorite drinks, snacks, or meals. Turmeric extract contains all the goodness of pure turmeric root but delivers it much more quickly and efficiently.
How Long Does It Take?
Once you take turmeric, it won’t be long before you start to feel better. If you use turmeric root powder, it could take up to 2 months for you to begin to notice a reduction in inflammation. When using an extract, results can happen as quickly as a few days, with chronic inflammation beginning to reduce in just a few weeks.
For individuals living with chronic inflammation, or individuals who are working to recover from illness or injury, the fast results of an extract can be a blessing. Recovery can be a long road, but turmeric can make the journey a little easier and less stressful on your emotional and physical well-being.
Turmeric + CBD for Advanced Recovery
Turmeric on its own can do wonders for individuals experiencing inflammation, but if you want to amplify those benefits, consider taking a supplement with additional ingredients to promote recovery. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a powerful cannabinoid found in abundance in varieties of the cannabis plant. Non-psychoactive (it won’t get you high), CBD is instead used for its physical benefits and ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and advance healing.
Relief Capsules from Vitaldiol Pharmaceutical feature a CBD dosage for inflammation, about 25mg of CBD plus 250mg of turmeric extract in every capsule. Featuring two ingredients known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Relief Capsules can help to reduce pain, discomfort, and both the physical and emotional stress related to living with inflammation. Take to reduce short-term symptoms after an injury, or use it to address inflammation resulting from daily life.