The deeper we get into autumn, the more orange we see. The leaves change color and the local farmers’ market begins to fill with pumpkins and other orange foods and foliage. In the supplement world, though, people are seeing orange for a different reason.
The buzz is all about turmeric (Curcuma longa), the orange- and dark-yellow-hued spice which is native to India.
Turmeric’s active ingredient – curcumin – gives curry powder, used extensively in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, its characteristic color. But beyond its vibrant hue – freshly harvested turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, is brilliantly orange when sliced – curcumin has become one of the most extensively medically researched botanicals.
Turmeric’s associated benefits include helping maintain a healthy inflammatory response and providing powerful free radical scavenging activity. It even helps maintain the health of brain cells, and promotes healthy liver function.*
The good news for health conscious consumers is that turmeric is widely available, in different formulations. Here’s a sampling:
1. Turmeric featuring Meriva. To enhance absorption, some turmeric products feature Meriva, a unique phytosome technology.
2. Turmeric with Bioperine. Bioperine, a black pepper fruit extract, is an ingredient added to some turmeric products to enhance the bioavailability and absorption of turmeric’s curcuminoids and certain nutrients in the GI tract.
3. Liquid turmeric capsules. If you don’t like carrying bottles because you’re worried about breakage or stains (that beautiful orange color can be tough to get out of your favorite t-shirt), you’ll be happy to know that some brands produce turmeric liquid extract in capsule form which offers convenience and portability.
4. Turmeric soap. For consumers who delight in turmeric’s exotic fragrance, there’s a way to bathe with it. Try a turmeric bar soap which also contains neem or one with sandalwood. A turmeric facial wash is also available.
Do you have a favorite way to sneak turmeric into your food or drinks? Share it with us in the comments below.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.