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This mustard yellow root, turmeric (pronounced TER-mer-ic), is part of the ginger family and is native to India. It’s used for both culinary (curry) and medicinal practices – rich in maganese, but it also contains iron, Vitamin B6, fiber, copper and potassium.

turmeric

It’s often used to treat inflammation, both general and focused, like with arthritis and bowel disease. Scientists use turmeric in cystic fibrosis research due to its main component: curcumin. This mimics the gene related to CF, and researchers are able to develop an understanding of the disease-causing protein by experimenting with this supplement. Furthermore, it has shown it can correct the defects of the gene expression at least in mice, and some CF patients have added turmeric/curcumin to their treatment plan. (Note: Do not self medicate; please talk with a doctor first.) (via National Library of Medicine)

>> Read more: 6 Foods to Fight Inflammation

Turmeric is also tied to Type 2 diabetes prevention, weight loss, boosted immune systems, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s, and even used as a safe pesticide. Women in India are known for using this spice on their skin for a glowing result. (via Med India) Click here to learn how to resolve skin issues with natural ingredients.

Side effects from using turmeric are mild, but include upset stomach and diarrhea. For those diagnosed with GERD, turmeric can make it worse. If taken regularly, it can slow down the blood clotting process. Pregnant women should use caution with turmeric, or avoid it all together.

A gentle introduction to turmeric is often through a hot cup of tea. A leader in integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests bringing four cups of water to a boil, adding a teaspoon of ground turmeric and letting it simmer for 10 minutes.

>> Read more: Tea: Why Some Like It Hot