Turmeric (curcuma longa) is one of the most popular and multi-purpose herbs of Ayurveda. It is very beneficial for improving digestion, reducing pain and inflammation, and balancing Vata and Kapha doshas. Its specialty is breaking down undigested toxins (called ama) at all the tissue levels. As one of the most science-backed medicines of Ayurveda, it has been proven to increase brain function, prevent heart disease & cancer, and dramatically increase antioxidants in the body.
Also known as Haridra, turmeric is the essential spice of any Indian kitchen - and rightly so! Its numerous benefits are unmatched. If its beautiful aroma and flavor weren’t enough, turmeric adds a boost of antioxidants and digestibility and reduces the inflammation of every meal. It can be taken with food, as a supplement, or even used externally for wound healing as a paste with honey.
In the yogic tradition, it is even believed to detoxify the pineal gland and aid in third eye awakening. HDH Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam shares to “rub organic turmeric on the forehead and apply kumkum (oxidized turmeric) on the Third Eye - that detoxifies the intra-organ called Third Eye.” Turmeric has a deep penetrating action, capable of going through the deepest tissues (including the liver and blood) and removing unwanted chemicals, heavy metals, and undigested food waste. For this reason, it is one of the ultimate herbs to take to clear and awaken the Ajna Chakra.
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Let’s take a look at the scientific evidence. Turmeric is now widely known for its power to reduce pain/swelling and support the joints. Curcumin is its primary active anti-inflammatory compound, which is actually just as powerful as some Western anti-inflammatory drugs but without any side effects! Chronic inflammation is the culprit behind most chronic diseases so its very important to mitigate this in our bodies. Curcumin also boosts levels of the brain hormones responsible for better memory and cognitive function (and helps to prevent Alzheimer’s).
Although Indians have been using it for centuries, finally modern science can confirm: there really isn’t much turmeric can’t do for you. And a few key tips before you go: turmeric absorbs better into the body with black pepper and/or a fat soluable. Try making a nice golden milk with black pepper or adding it into your cooking along with a healthy fat like ghee or coconut oil.
Be aware that turmeric is a blood thinner. Do not take turmeric if pregnant, before/after surgery, or if experiencing bleeding problems. Turmeric can prevent blood clotting. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking with any other medications.