Turmeric has been widely prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4000 years. It has only been in recent years that intensive research has revealed the science behind the remarkable qualities of this ancient healing herb. In fact, in the past decade alone, there have been over 600 published research studies highlighting the multiple benefits of Nature’s cure-all.
Turmeric contains a rich lode of fibre, amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals. However, it is the phytochemicals that are the essence of the healing effect. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring substances that include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. They also comprise a diverse range of protective and health-enhancing biochemicals that really do serve to make our food our medicine.
It is the phenolic compounds, including a diverse range of curcuminoids, that truly shine amongst the comprehensive turmeric armory. The curcuminoids include the superstar, curcumin, but there are several other players. There is emerging evidence that it may be the full orchestra, rather than the soloist, that creates the full response.
It is now recognised that these phytochemicals can fight pathogens, boost immunity, enhance brain health, aid digestion and maximise metabolic functioning, while cleansing the blood and lowering blood sugar. That’s a pretty impressive package that deserves a closer look, but first I will share my experiences with the herb.
Value Adding the Turmeric Harvest at Nutrition Farms
I have been a major fan of turmeric since experiencing its well-known anti-inflammatory benefits several years back. I have been a long suffering victim of elevated uric acid and the inevitable joint pain that this condition confers. Turmeric proved as effective as ibuprofen to control that constant pain, and there were none of the serious gut consequences that come with that popular drug.
Turmeric is the easiest crop to grow. We have not experienced any disease issues on the farms. In fact, it grows like a weed. We have found that the large leaf responds particularly well to foliar fertilisers, and I suspect these regular nutrition sprays may have had some bearing on the subsequent resilience of the crop.
In one plot, we trialled a much more dense planting than normal. The spacing was just 15 cm. We found that, if we provided regular foliars of Triple Ten™ and Trio (CMB)™, we could achieve incredible yields in small areas. In fact, we harvested over 300 kg from just 100 m2, in one area. This equates to a yield of 30 tonnes per hectare. At AU$15 per kg, this equates to a serious income stream.
Last season there was almost a tonne of turmeric surplus to sales and seed saving, so we decided to convert those tubers into a concentrated, nutrient-dense powder. There are a couple of ways to do this. One of them involves a microwave process that damages the actives. The other process is freeze drying, which is much more expensive, but it retains all of the complex nutrition. Our home town of Yandina boasts an advanced freeze drying facility, which is now producing a wide range of superfood concentrates.
The conversion rate is 250 kg of powdered concentrate per tonne of roots and it costs almost AU$5000 for the service. The end-product is expensive, but it is a powerhouse source of organic curcumin.
Curcumin is poorly absorbed and utilised by our bodies and it has been found that the inclusion of piperine, the active component of black peppercorns, can increase that uptake by as much as 2000 times. We have found that the inclusion of 9% freshly ground, organic black pepper, ensures optimum uptake.
I have found it such a thrill to have been involved at all stages in the creation of Curcu-Life™. I was part of the original planting, the nurturing of the crop, the harvesting, the cleaning, the delivery and pickup from the freeze dryers and the development of the label and packaging. This article, to sing the praises of the new supplement, marks a long and super satisfying journey from paddock to high performance product.
Each heaped teaspoon of this powder contains over 100 mg of actual curcumin, along with the full suite of other phytochemicals including quercetin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and some powerful volatile oils, including tumerone, artumerone, and zingiberene.
The powder can be added to hot milk to create a golden latte, or it can be added to fruit juice. Curcu-Life™ can be used liberally in cooking, or to create a spicy coffee or tea. It can also form the basis of golden paste, which involves the addition of coconut oil, and is wonderfully effective. Curcumin is a fat soluble substance, so the inclusion of an oil or milk will always boost performance.
Golden Paste Recipe:
- In a pan, combine 1/2 cup of Curcu-Life™ with 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of coconut oil.
- Stir over gentle heat until a thick paste is formed (generally around 5 – 10 minutes; add additional water if required, do not boil).
- Whisk well and allow to cool.
The Golden Paste will keep for 2 weeks, refrigerated. Can be frozen if required. Take 1 teaspoon daily.
Curcumin has become the most researched of all natural supplements in recent years and the findings are simply extraordinary.
Here are just a few of these research outcomes, but I suggest you visit Sayer Ji’s website at www.greenmedinfo.com, to grasp the enormity of the research. A good start is an article called “500 Reasons Turmeric may be the World’s Most Important Herb”. I promise you will be astounded.
The Top Seven Benefits of Curcumin
1) Dousing the flames
Curcumin has been described as “the most potent natural anti-inflammatory ever researched”. Inflammation is a major player in all degenerative diseases and our efforts to relieve the associated pain with pharmaceuticals has involved considerable collateral damage. In fact, both the steroidal and non-steroidal solutions account for hundreds of thousands of hospitalisations and many deaths across the globe each year. Curcumin can deliver a similar outcome without the gut-scouring side effects, whilst supplying multiple other benefits simultaneously.
2) Protecting your brain
It was once believed that you died with the same brain cells you were born with, but it is now understood that neurons in some regions of the brain can multiply and form new connections. A key player in this protective and regenerative potential is a growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF. Both depression and Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by low levels of BDNF. Several studies have revealed marked increases in BDNF following supplementation with curcumin. It appears there may now be a new tool to help reduce age-related brain decline.
3) Neutralising free radicals
These disturbed molecules are missing their outer electron, and in this state of incoherent chaos, they run rampant. In fact, it is like taking a wrecking ball to neighboring cells. Hence, we have compelling free radical theories of both aging and disease. Antioxidants donate one of their electrons to quell the free radical fires, and this anti-terrorist capacity in our bodies is increasingly important in a world swimming in toxins (free radicals). Curcumin, and several other compounds in turmeric, are profoundly effective antioxidants. In fact, they offer a dual benefit, as they have also been shown to boost the activity of our key antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.
4) Boosting heart health
Heart disease remains our number one killer, so protection and support of our ever-aging pump becomes increasingly important. Curcumin has been shown to provide this support in several ways. CHD is typically characterized by reduced endothelium function. Here, the lining on the inside of our blood vessels degenerates and becomes less capable of regulating blood pressure, blood clotting and other functions. Several published studies have revealed that curcumin can significantly improve endothelial function. In one study, it was as effective as exercise, and in another it equaled the performance of the drug Atorvastatin. This phytonutrient offers other major heart health benefits as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Inflammation is almost always a player in CHD and free radical damage is a root cause of endothelial dysfunction.
5) Loving your liver
The liver is the most important organ in your body and it is receiving a pretty tough workout in our modern world. The liver is charged with the hugely important processes of digestion and detoxification. Alcohol, leptins and fat are three of the most damaging substances that can compromise liver health. We are equipped with a liver enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, that helps to neutralise this trio. Research conducted in Korea, in a collaboration of several universities, revealed that low-dose curcumin supplementation of rats subjected to an alcohol and fat-rich diet, could prevent liver damage. They found that curcumin reduced the alcohol-based depression of alcohol dehydrogenase and also led to significant declines in plasma levels of leptin, free fatty acids, and triglyceride levels. All of these substances can contribute to inflammation and liver damage.
6) Natural depression management
In one published study, curcumin proved as effective as Prozac in countering depression. In fact, the combination of both outperformed either standalone solution. In other research, curcumin was effective in treating acute anxiety, often a precursor to depression. This remarkably versatile phytochemical has a multi-leveled impact on “the black dog”. It can serve to balance serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline and glutamate. Curcumin also boosts production of glutathione peroxidase, an essential antioxidant for both brain and liver protection. It can also help reduce the damage associated with heavy metals, like mercury, which are notorious for their link to depression. It is now recognised that the health of your microbiome is also linked to depression, as we awaken to the realisation that the gut truly is the second brain.
7) Nurturing your life within
The human microbiome has become a huge research focus in recent years. We now realise that the 100 trillion organisms that should line our 30-foot digestive tract, are linked to every aspect of our health and longevity. In a study called, “The Effects of Turmeric and Curcumin Supplementation on Human Gut Microbiota”, published in The Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, we discover yet another benefit of the wonder root. In that study, which used DNA technology to monitor the number and diversity of beneficial gut organisms, there were exciting findings. Those participants supplementing with turmeric were found to have a 7% increase in biodiversity, but they also experienced a massive 69% increase in total numbers of good guys.
When you review the hundreds of papers covering the diverse benefits of this herb, it becomes increasingly obvious that it is something truly special. There is no other plant medicine with this massive range of benefits. It is effectively a tool that can help us reclaim responsibility for our own heath.