Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a flowering plant in the ginger family, is widely used as a food coloring and is one of the principal ingredients in curry powder. Turmeric has long been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive disorders and liver problems, and for the treatment of skin diseases and wound healing. Turmeric is a spice people put in food and not a drug. So can a spice in food turn back or prevent Alzheimer’s and any other dementia? Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste and is used extensively as a food flavoring and colorant; it is a primary component of curry powders and some mustard. The spice has a long tradition in Asian medicine to treat problems ranging from flatulence to hemorrhage.
Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many curries, giving them color and flavor. The active compound in turmeric is known as curcumin. Turmeric’s combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling. Turmeric is used extensively in the East and Middle East as a condiment and culinary dye. In India it is used to tint many sweet dishes.