The Phytochemistry of Turmeric


I find it so intriguing how various plants can create the exact same phytochemistry.

Caffeine, for instance, is the most famous phytochemical and is the world’s most consumed psychoactive drug. It is quite rare in nature, yet it shows up in coffee beans (Coffea arabica), tea leaves (Camellia sinensis), kola nuts (Cola acuminate), yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) and guayusa (Ilex guayusa).


Plant Allies

There is phytochemistry that does not effect humans very much, and other botanical-based molecules that are so key to us that we actually have receptor sites within us built especially for them!

When a plant has phytochemistry that can support our wellness, we call that plant ally an herb.


What is Phytochemistry?

Phytochemistry is the chemical make-up of plants.

I prefer to think of phytochemistry like the physical body that embodies the energetics, and therefore the spirit, of the herb.

Most herbs may have a few key molecules that support our wellness. While others have literally hundreds of fantastic molecules that can support us in dozens of key ways! Turmeric is such an herb.


The Phytochemistry of Turmeric

Whole Turmeric is a balance of hundreds of positive phytochemicals, which we also call phytocompounds.

Now a very interesting thing about many of the phytocompounds in Turmeric is that so many of them can also be found in many other precious herbs that have always been held in high esteem since time immemorial in cultures across the world. This is one of the many reasons why consuming Turmeric is so important, because by doing so you are getting the benefit of consuming dozens of other key herbs and foods!

For instance, Turmeric’s:

    – alpha-pinene is found in juniper and peppermint

    – limonene is found in lemon and celery

    – zingiberene is found in ginger

    – caryophyllene is found in clove & tulsi

    – phellandrene is found in sage & cumin

    – santalene is found in sandalwood

    – nerolidol is found in cardamom

to name just a few! The length of this list of herbs readily goes into the dozens.

So if you consume the whole herb of Turmeric or the Turmeric juice, you are experiencing the power of many herbs. It is like if you ‘triangulate’ the power of dozens of powerful herbs, you will arrive at Turmeric!

Potency wise, Turmeric is the confluence of many great herbs.


What Is The Best Herb to Take?

I am often asked, ‘What is the best herb to take?’ Of course the answer to that is the number one answer in herbalism and Ayurveda: “Depends!”

Having said that, an herb which to a large extent is comprised of a balanced blend of an all-star list of phytochemistry would tend to be a good choice! And so here we have yet another reason why we want to consume Turmeric on a daily basis, and in fact, why there are hundreds of millions of people who have done just this for millennia!

Thank You,

Prashanti de Jager
West Marin

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