BRIGHTLY COLOURED turmeric has been used in Indian, Asian and Moroccan cookery for centuries as an integral part of the spice mix of curries and other spicy dishes.
Now, this rising star of the spice aisle has also developed a following among holistic wellness practitioners and the health conscious amongst us.
However, its safety is now in question following the death of a young San Diego woman, Jade Erick, who died after receiving a turmeric treatment intravenously as a treatment for severe eczema.
NBC news in America, reported that the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death an accident.
The American National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) explains that turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for breathing problems, pain, fatigue and rheumatism.
Today, the spice is also used to help with inflammation, arthritis, stomach, skin and liver problems as well as cancer.
A type of chemical named curcuminoid present in turmeric is thought to be the reason for its health benefits, especially with inflammation-related diseases.
However, the NIH says this claim is not supported by strong studies. The organization does say that research indicates curcuminoids could reduce heart attacks in bypass patients after surgery, help with osteoarthritis pain (as well as ibuprofen) and decrease skin irritation.
While generally viewed as safe, too much turmeric (as with anything) can have its dangers and certain medical conditions, like gallbladder problems or diabetes, can be exacerbated by the spice.
Mixing it with other medications is not advisable. The safety of administering turmeric through an IV aren’t well known as the practice is less common.
Mark Stengler, a naturopathic doctor who offers turmeric orally, told NBC News, “It hasn’t been well studied. It’s more theoretical, so it’s more investigational.”
However, we should not stop using this flavourful spice in our curries and tagines, as like most things in life, a little bit of everything is good for you.