TURMERIC (Curcuma longa)

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts commonly used: Rhizome.

Properties/energetics: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, choleretic, cholagogue, liver tonic, antiviral/Warm; spicy, bitter.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, musculoskeletal.

Uses: Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory. Both its volatile oil fraction and its stronger flavonoid, curcumin, are comparable to hydrocortisone in treatments of acute inflammation. It has the advantage of being nontoxic, although it is not quite as effective in chronic inflammation. Turmeric has also been shown to stabilize mast cells (those responsible for allergic response), making it useful for all kinds of hypersensitivity. It is an excellent tonic to help prevent hay fever, asthma (with damp lungs), and other allergic reactions to airborne allergens such as pollens, dust, and cat dander. Curcumin has been shown to have liver-protective effects similar to those of Milk Thistle while being a stronger choleretic and cholagogue and to decrease blood cholesterol and inhibit platelet aggregation. Turmeric offers a major treatment for gallbladder disease due to its anti-inflammatory and cholagogue affect. As a gastric stimulant and irritant, it is useful for underactive stomach secretions, which, in combination with its proteolytic enzymes, make it a helpful protein-digesting aid.

Combinations: Drinking Green Tea and eating Turmeric acts as a powerful antioxidant and has a direct role in limiting stress on lungs and bladder caused by smoking.

Affects on specific body types: Turmeric is an excellent tonic for the Monarch that manifests a sluggish liver and digestive tract. It’s particularly useful where poor protein digestion and assimilation play a role in allergies. It may also be useful for Seers with weak livers and allergies, but watch for gastric overstimulation and irritation. Turmeric is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory herbs for arthritic problems and should be thought of for any Seer-type musculoskeletal inflammations.

Precautions and dosage: Avoid use when there is active inflammation of the stomach.
Preparations: Cut the fresh herb before dehydrating it; Turmeric is very hard to cut once dried. Eat the powdered herb in food or stir in water and drink, 1 to 2 teaspoons of powder a day. Tincture: 10 to 40 drops two to four times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition