The well known herb Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a native to tropical South Asia, is used as a culinary spice around the world. In Indian medicine, turmeric is used extensively as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic wound healer for cuts, burns and bruises. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.
A number of modern studies show that turmeric has promise for fighting infections, reducing inflammation, and treating digestive problems. An important component of the herb, curcumin, has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and an effective anti-inflammatory.Recent research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for a range of conditions that respond well to herbal anti-inflammatories. These include indigestion, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, osteoarthritis and atherosclerosis.
Many of the other uses of turmeric stem from its anti-inflammatory activity. This may help maintain remission in people with suffer from ulcerative colitis. Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may also help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Turmeric may help prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries.
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric's anti-cancer potential, but results are still very early.