The history & benefits of turmeric

Drink Me Chai have put together this blog post about the history of turmeric and its amazing health benefits, including aiding digestive disorders, lowering cholesterol and even the prevention of some cancers. Find their delicious Turmeric Superblend in March’s Classic box, and find out more about Drink me Chai here.

Turmeric Latte blend is now available on the Drink me Chai website and you can get 20% off using the code TURMERIC20.

As with chai itself, turmeric has a deep connection with India and its holistic healing properties are truly embedded within their culture. From a spoonful of turmeric powder & honey acting as a childhood medicine to a turmeric mask applied onto the bright faces of Indian brides-to-be, the use of turmeric in everyday Indian life has happened for centuries. But only recently has it inspired those outside of India.

A component of turmeric, named curcumin, has been found to be the ‘essential’ element that has given rise to turmeric’s popularity and its enchanted claims. Curcumin itself is seen to be a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as antibacterial; and it is the combination of these qualities that have truly given result to its rise.

But have you ever wondered what it can really do for you – and more importantly, whether all these health claims are true?Here are just some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric:

Digestive disorders

Curcumin has been studied as a therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In both cases, curcumin appears to be effective in improving symptoms when used in conjunction with other medications, and has even allowed for a decrease in the dosage of the corticosteroids used in treatment. If larger trial studies were to be conducted and proved successful, curcumin could be a less-expensive replacement for conventional medicines.


Curcumin has been and still is being studied in vivo and in vitro for prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer. Its anticancer property stems from the belief that it is able to prevent angiogenesis, or the forming of cancer cells by altering cell signalling pathways.

Studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on cancers including lung, breast, colon, leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate. 

Interestingly, many studies show non-specific mechanisms of curcumin’s action on cancerous cells, which is very different to traditional chemotherapeutic medicines that target only one (or very few mechanisms.

While this multiple-mechanism-of-action approach has resulted in divergent opinions in literature as to the usefulness of curcumin as a therapeutic agent, the association of curcumin combined with conventional anticancer drugs has shown to be useful in improving treatment. Different groups worldwide are conducting several clinical trials aiming to investigate the beneficial effects of curcumin in humans, which makes a strong case for curcumin’s potential usefulness in treating cancer.


Is the most common degenerative joint disease worldwide and is characterised by a progressive loss of joint cartilage and subsequent bony changes. Because of curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation, it can aid in reducing cartilage breakdown, improve cartilage cell survival and reduce pain, as several studies have shown.  While these results are promising, researchers should consider more well-planned randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes and longer treatment periods on curcumin to justify its use in treating osteoarthritis.


Curcumin lowers cholesterol levels via two mechanisms; firstly by stimulating conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and secondly by inhibiting cholesterol absorption in the intestines.  Furthermore, curcumin has shown to increase HDL cholesterol, which is the healthy cholesterol . While these properties demonstrate a cardiovascular protective role, i.e. they may aid in reducing risk of heart disease, a reduction in

From reviewing research that has been conducted on turmeric, it is possible to see that its impact is indeed promising. Turmeric may not give you eternal life, but it may be a useful component of your diet for more reasons than just its yellow pigment!

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