I know we take Sunday off each week in our atozchallenge, but yesterday when I was due to write about T, I was instead taking the opportunity for a long horseback ride through the woods of Pumpkin Hill Preserve (click to see).. What a great Florida park! The schedule gets to forgive me.
The T word is turmeric, a plant which has come to the attention of the health world in the west because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It is raised commercially in India and other Southeast Asia countries. The specific chemical in turmeric which helps reduce inflammation and pain is curcumin and if you take it as a supplement for pain, that is the name you should look for.
Turmeric, the spice, is made by taking the rhizome of the plant and drying it, then making a powder from it. What you have at that point is the spice that you find in many Indian and Asian dishes, yellow in color and having some warm, spicy tones. Because of its color it’s also used as a dye, something I noticed when traveling in Cambodia and seeing the Buddhist monks in their bright yellow-orange robes. The spice has long been a part of religious rites in the countries where it is raised too.
Back to curcumin, it comprises only about 3% of turmeric which is not really enough for effective pain relief. That is why curcumin is concentrated as a supplement. It is also not utilized easily by the body but when combined with piperine, one of the constituents of black pepper, it’s uptake and utilization is increased by 2000%! Supposedly eating two or three black peppercorns with your curcumin supplement is all it takes. I have not verified this but it doesn’t sound dangerous to try. This is a very interesting supplement with other properties as well as the one I’ve mentioned. Check it out if you are looking for something with anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.