GrainshealthHerbs and Spices

The Two Powerful Asian Root Spices


If your only experience with turmeric and ginger are from eating out in Indian and Southeast Asian restaurants, you need to make them a part of your daily meals.

The plants are related, and the health benefits of each are amazing. They’re powerful, and that’s documented by thousands of scientific studies.


And you don’t have to buy expensive supplements.

Turmeric Contains the Yellow Coloring in Mustard and Indian Curry

Both turmeric and ginger are quite safe to eat on a regular basis. The only caution I’d give you concerns the yellowing coloring of turmeric. Be careful when you cook with it or add it to food because the coloring is strong enough to stain plasticware and countertops.


One of the prime health benefits of turmeric is anti-inflammation. Chronic inflammation is one of the primary biomarkers of aging, and it’s associated with many of the diseases connected with aging. That includes arthritis and joint pain, heart disease and cancer.

Some studies have shown its ability to reduce pain is equivalent to over-the-counter medications.

Many of the scientific studies are of curcumin, and that can be confusing.

Turmeric is the yellow spice that’s added to food, especially in India. The powder is simply the root, which has been ground into a fine powder.


Curcumin is the yellow coloring in the spice turmeric. A lot of the medical research has been done using curcumin, extracted from turmeric. However, the whole spice contains other components besides curcumin, and some of them show health benefits as well.

The curcumin and other powerful compounds within the spice show marked anti-cancer benefits in rats and mice.

Turmeric/curcumin contains numerous antioxidants to fight free radical damage and lower inflammation. It also helps regulates the immune system, so your immune systems cells better detect and destroy cancerous cells. It also improves the signaling of cells and enzymes, which promote a healthier environment in your body, to better discourage and fight cancer.


Turmeric appears to be the single most powerful food to prevent or delay the onset of cancer.

As well as many other medical problems.

It’s the “ounce” of prevention that might really keep you from needing the “pound” of cure.


You can find the actual turmeric roots for sale at any Indian/Pakistani food store. Ordinary American supermarkets carry a bottle of turmeric in the spice section. It’s more expensive than most spices, but it’s not exorbitant. Walmart carries Spring Valley organic turmeric powder. It’s half a pound for about $6.

At one teaspoon per day, that half a pound will last you for months.

Just add the teaspoon to hot water to make a tea, or to a salad, smoothie, soup, lentils, rice or beans. But do make sure you sprinkle some black pepper along with the turmeric powder. Turmeric is not easily absorbed unless eaten with piperine, a component of black pepper.


Ginger Root is Also Used in Indian Cooking

And throughout much of the rest of Asia. You can find powdered ginger root in the spice section of your local supermarket. In some countries, people put pieces of the root into noodles and similar dishes.

It makes a good tea to drink when you have a respiratory infection. It’s also given to people who are nauseated, including pregnant women.


Like its cousin turmeric, ginger reduces inflammation. Therefore, it’s useful for lowering the pain of osteoarthritis.

Studies also show taking ginger significantly reduces blood sugar levels in both healthy people and diabetics.


In one study, subjects taking ginger for twelve weeks saw a significant drop in their weight and their Body Mass Index (BMI).

Even more importantly, the fat burned came from the liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a growing and dangerous trend. Fat deposits are damaging livers much like alcohol-caused cirrhosis does. But NFLD is caused by consuming fructose corn syrup, not drinking alcohol. The subjects saw a big drop in fat in the liver and an increase in liver function.


If you suffer from migraines, you should know a study found that taking 1/8 of a teaspoon of ginger powder at the onset of a migraine reduced the pain just as well as the leading migraine drug, sumatriptan (brand name: Imitrex). Not only is that amount of ginger about 3,000 times cheaper than the drug, it produced no side effects. (Of course the drug comes with side effects.)

Unlike turmeric, ginger is available in American supermarkets in root form, in case you want to add small chunks to your noodles.


However, the most efficient way to consume it is to buy the spice already ground. And one or two teaspoons a day is all you need.

Eat them both, and you’ll help reduce the major causes of aging and chronic disease: high blood sugar levels, inflammation, and free radicals.

And all for about a dime a day.