If you have been clicking around the internet for wellness articles, you've likely come across turmeric and its many health benefits. Yellow turmeric, scientifically named Curcuma Longa, is a member of the ginger family. The bright yellow color of this root that annoyingly stains your fingers and clothes is from curcuminoids. It's worth all that colouring because these curcuminoids are components that provide the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidising benefits of turmeric. Turmeric can also used as a traditional medicinal herb.
When recipes refer to turmeric, they usually refer to yellow turmeric which is the most common one. While we know that turmeric works magic for our body, there are actually different types of turmeric that provides different health benefits.
Types of Turmeric
1) Yellow Turmeric
78% of the world's turmeric production is from India, and it is one of the reasons that curcuma longa is called Indian saffron.
It is a potent anti-oxidant
Curcuminoids - curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin, are strong anti-oxidants. Research has shown that it has better anti-oxidising effect than Vitamin C. It can also raise the activity of anti-oxidising enzymes. With its powerful anti-oxidising effect, curcumin can help neutralise the free radicals in your body.
It has anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties
Research has shown that chronic inflammation increases the possibility of heart diseases, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's and various degenerative conditions. (For more information, please read these articles: 1, 2, 3)
Curcumin's strong inflammatory property is as powerful as some inflammatory drugs, without their side effects! And curcumin is known to be able to suppress many molecules that leads to inflammation.
2) White Turmeric
White turmeric is a close relative to yellow turmeric, and is scientifically named Curcuma zedoaria (small and plump like ginger). Also an ancient spice, white turmeric is called amba haldi in many Indian languages.
One of the traditional uses of white turmerics is to aid digestion. People used it as a tea infusion with a piece of root boiled in water. Its essential oil and the herb itself are beneficial to treating digestive problems, such as assisting flatulence and irregular bowel movement.
Also anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidising!
Curcumenol, dihyhydrocurdione and curzenone, which are found in white turmeric, have better painkiller effect than aspirin. As it supports the elimination of toxic substances and excess fluids in the joints, It might be a good supplement to take in for people suffering from arthritis. In fact, it is a folk medicine in Indonesia and has been used in skin ailments to treat wounds and reduce pain!
Moreover, oils of white turmeric have the ability to scavenge and inhibit free radicals like its close relative - yellow turmeric. These compounds contribute to its anti-allergen property and assist in preventing and reducing allergic reactions.
3) Black Turmeric
An even less known member of the family is the black turmeric - Curcuma caesia. It is a perennial herb with bluish-black rhizome and is native to north-east and central India. Black turmeric contains the highest concentration of curcumin of any plant species and is thus strongly anti-oxidising and anti-inflammatory. It has traditionally been used to treat arthritis, asthma and epilepsy. When crushed, it can be applied to bruises or sprains to relieve pain.
4) Purple Turmeric
The picture shows the flowering cone of a purple turmeric (Curcuma aeruginosa), how beautiful! It is often grown in Malaysia as a medicinal plant or even as ornamentals. They can be found in rainforests and iare used as a famine food as a substitute to cassava or maize! These rhizomes are found to be anthelmintic and depurative. Like its relatives, they are also used externally to treat skin conditions.
5) Okinawa Emperor Turmeric
Also called the Okinawa Ogon, this type of turmeric has 22 times more of the tetrahydrocurcumin as compared to ordinary autumn turmeric. Tetrahydrocurcumin, as studies revealed, play an important role in anti-oxidising mechanism. Oxidative stress is related to many diseases including diabetes and tetrahtdrocurcumin has shown its ability to increase the total number of insulin binding sites, which results in an impressive increase of plasma insulin.
At Foodcraft, we have a range of products which contains turmeric! Our Natoha Golden Latte is the perfect drink at work or at home. With the special Okinawa Emperor Turmeric infused, you get the ultimate metabolite of all curcuminoids! You can even add cinnamon or black pepper to the drink as these help the absorption of curcumin.
If a night-out with friends is in the works, you can also try our Sake King as it combines all the goodness (from Okinawa turmeric to purple turmeric) in one.
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