The Ecology of Humans (57-6) Turmeric


The turmeric plant is a perennial herb native to southeast India. Like ginger, the rhizome portion of the plant is boiled, dried, and ground into its spice form.

Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, giving the spice its golden color. Curcumin inhibits inflammation and improves memory and attention ability.

Curcumin is a diarylheptanoid: a relatively small class of plant secondary metabolites with 2 aromatic rings (aryl groups) joined by a chain of 7 carbons (heptane). Diarylheptanoids have potent antioxidant properties.

As a traditional folk medicine, turmeric has been used for stomach and liver ailments, for fever, and as an antiseptic for open wounds. Turmeric has antimicrobial properties.