Herbs are so much part of our everyday lives we probably don’t realise how much we use them. Equally, we don’t realise how much they can help us so we wanted to give you more information on these valuable plants.
Herbal medicine is ancient wisdom that has been used throughout the world over centuries. Herbal preparations are made directly from the plant, and use different parts from leaves, flowers, seeds, rhizomes through to roots. Depending on the herb they can come in tincture, paste, tablets or teas.
Our everyday use of herbs includes
Like all medicine herbs do require specialist knowledge to ensure they are used correctly. We are providing you with an overview of the more commonly known herbs. Our blog will identify the traditional associations relating to each herb. EFSA do not issue any supported claims for herbs.
The MHRA is the government’s medical regulatory agency. Any herbal product must be recognised by this body before claims can be made about it.
What this means to you is that no one can tell you that this product is good for specific conditions, nor can they suggest to you how much you can take or even if you should take it.
Turmeric – a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herb
We hope you are enjoying this series on healthy herbs. We have talked briefly about Turmeric before but we felt it was time for an article dedicated to this amazing herb.
Turmeric is an essential ingredient for Indian curries, it is the herb that provides the yellow colouring. In common with most herbs we talk about Turmeric has long standing traditional use going back centuries...
Here in the western world we are slowly catching on to what the Indians have known for a long time. Turmeric is a multi-faceted nutrient offering us all kinds of support. The most important component of Turmeric is the curcurminoids of which the potent is Curcurmin.
You may recall we have featured curcumin before. It is not the easiest nutrient for our bodies to absorb and uptake is definitely enhanced when taken in conjunction with piperine and fats.
Piperine from black pepper enhances the action of other nutrients and medical drugs. This means you can take less medication but maintain the impact... Please do talk to your doctor before you reduce your medications. It follows then that black pepper supports your digestive processes allowing you to absorb more nutrients from your food.
Curcumin is a fat soluble substance and is most easily absorbed into the body when it is combined with other ingredients. Here is a reminder of our favourite recipe:
A jar of coconut butter to which we add 3 parts turmeric and one part black pepper. Mix it together and keep in the fridge, take a spoonful each day.
The other interesting component of turmeric is turmacin which is water soluble ingredient. Early indications show a significant impact in reducing inflammation from use of only 1.5 tsp a day. Water soluble nutrients don’t get stored in the body. This means you need to take them regularly.
Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Two health hazards that modern lives bring us are inflammation and oxidative stress. Turmeric earns its gold star by being excellent at addressing both of these challenges. A two for the price of one solution!
Our regular readers will know the importance we place on managing inflammation because it is so connected to the foundation of chronic disease... Chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s to name a few are strongly associated with inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when our immune system is affected by
- Environmental factors like poor hygiene, viruses or bacteria
- Poor dietary choices
- Stress either mental or physical
- Genetics – our genes can predispose us to certain conditions
- Dehydration affects our body deeply causing physical and mental stress
An acute response is short term and the body tends to rebalance itself within a few days. If your body is unable to shake off inflammation quickly you may experience long term or chronic inflammation.
Signs of chronic inflammation include
- Physical or mental tiredness
- Mood swings
- Digestive problems
- Aches and pains
Equally oxidative stress is a battle in our modern world there are numerous causes of oxidative stress which include
- Poor diet
- Pollution such as exhaust fumes or cigarette smoke
When our bodies experience an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants potential damage to the body can occur within
We help our bodies by using antioxidants to address these issues. The huge benefit of Turmeric is that offers us both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help us by
- Working against all the free radicals we are exposed to every day.
- Reducing the risk of many diseases
- Reducing the effects of aging
- Helping keep our immune systems strong – vital for keeping colds at bay
How can I help myself?
- Make turmeric part of your regular regime
- Make sure you eat a good diet
- Plenty of vegetables and some fruit
- Nuts and Seeds
- Good quality protein – organic and local is best
- Omega 3 fatty acids – eat plenty of fish. If you don’t like fish or think you need more take a good supplement too
- Ensure you have plenty of fibre in your diet
- Avoid refined, processed and sugary foods
We hope this has convinced you that turmeric is a great help to your overall health. It is a clear example that our food really is our medicine
Just in case you need further incentive to give it a go as well as being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant Turmeric is also antibacterial. This is great news for battling the forthcoming cold season!
As ever we welcome your comments and feedback.