A native of India and Indonesia, turmeric is a perennial with a pulpy, orange, tuberous roots that grow to about 2 feet in length. The aerial parts, which reach 3 feet, include large, lily-like leaves, a thick, squat, central flower spike, and funnel-shaped yellow flowers.

Purported medicinal uses of the herb include:

The active constituent is known as curcumin. It has been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic effects. First, it protects against free radical damage because it is a strong antioxidant. Second, it reduces inflammation. It accomplishes this by reducing histamine levels and possibly by increasing production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands. Third, it protects the liver from a number of toxic compounds. Fourth, it has been shown to reduce platelets from clumping together, which in turn, improves circulation and helps protect against atherosclerosis. Numerous studies have also shown cancer-preventing effects of curcumin. This may be due to its powerful antioxidant activity in the body.

Turmeric is a very important herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. A symbol of prosperity, it was considered a cleansing herb for the whole body. Medically, it was used as a digestive aid and treatment for fever, infections, dysentery, arthritis, and jaundice and other liver problems. Traditional Chinese physicians used turmeric to treat liver and gallbladder problems, stop bleeding, and treat chest congestion and menstrual discomforts. The ancient Greeks were well aware of turmeric. It had been used to make yellow-orange dyes.

Turmeric is extremely safe. It has been used in large quantities as a food with no adverse reactions. However, persons with symptoms from gallstones should avoid turmeric.

Turmeric's potential anti-clotting effect might cause problems for those with clotting disorders. Unusually large amount of turmeric consumption may result in stomach upset.

Do not take turmeric if you are pregnant, or if you are suffering from acute jaundice or hepatitis.

FDA lists turmeric as a herb that is normally considered safe.

- Ingredient used in Human formula

- Ingredient used in Canine formula