Turmeric is a gorgeous yellow spice known to be a powerful superfood. Through centuries of traditional use and plenty of modern scientific research, Turmeric has demonstrated remarkable abilities to benefit human health. Let’s dig deep into all things Turmeric!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric ( Curcuma longa) is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric is a member of the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and sometimes even referred to as “yellow ginger.” The part of the Turmeric used for cooking and health is the rhizome, a word that comes from the Greek for “mass of roots.” A rhizome is actually different than a root—it’s like a long tuber that grows horizontally underground. Each section or node of a rhizome has the potential to sprout roots below and leaves above… each piece contains the whole.
Once the rhizome sprouts, Turmeric begins a journey into splendor. Pale shoots stretch upward and quickly grow dark green leaves on a sturdy stem. The mature plant can be up to six feet high, and it blooms in a whorl of gorgeous petals. After harvest, the clusters of rhizomes are washed and then gently processed as powders or extracts.
While the dirt-bound Turmeric rhizome may seem unassuming at first glance, generations of cooks and healers have found that it hides bright gold. Turmeric’s distinctive saffron color and earthy taste give many curries, pickles, and condiments their sunny look and complex character.
What is Curcumin?
You may have heard about one compound in Turmeric known as Curcumin (no relation to the spice cumin). Curcumin supplements are extremely popular, and they follow drug development trends of isolating and intensifying a single herbal component for medicinal use. Curcumin tends to steal the limelight and has often been called the “active ingredient” in Turmeric. Many published articles look at the action of curcumin alone, rather than studying the symphony of compounds found in whole Turmeric.
However, the Curcumin compound is only 5% of what whole Turmeric has to offer. On top of that, isolated Curcumin is difficult for the body to absorb. The truth is, Turmeric has a range of 100s of other active compounds. For example, it’s rich in volatile oils, such as Turmerones, as well as many other “non-curcuminoids.” Recent research suggests these actives may be just as valuable as Curcumin. The non-curcuminoids in Turmeric like those oil-based Turmerones actually enhance the bioavailability of Curcumin and help the body to absorb Curcumin properly.
The moral of the story is that the wisdom of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The dynamic potential of the whole plant cannot be captured in just one constituent, because all of the compounds in Turmeric work together to deliver nature’s wisdom and the full spectrum of antioxidant activity.
Does a Turmeric Supplement Need Black Pepper?
If you shop for curcumin supplements you may notice some contain additives like black pepper or DLPA. Why is that? Well, because curcumin has notoriously low absorption and “use-ability” in the body, companies add black pepper or its derivative, piperine, to many standardized curcumin supplements. But while research has shown that piperine may enhance absorption of curcumin, a whole-herb Turmeric supplement that’s been formulated for absorption doesn’t need black pepper to do the job.
New Chapter believes nature got it right the first time. Our Turmeric Force products are made with two types of whole Turmeric extracts to deliver the hundreds of compounds in the balance that nature intended, complete with Curcumin, Turmerones, and many more. Our Turmeric is expertly formulated for optimal absorption, to unlock multiple health benefits. Think of curcumin as a star player on your favorite sports team. No matter how valuable that player may be, you need the whole team to win a game. So, the answer is—curcumin supplements may need black pepper, but our whole-food Turmeric supplements do not. What’s needed for optimal absorption is the synergy delivered in whole Turmeric!
How is Turmeric Extracted?
Over the years, scientists have found various methods for extracting phytonutrients from herbs. But some of these extraction techniques can use harsh ingredients like the chemical hexane. New Chapter is different. We choose only gentle methods to deliver super-pure, super-potent herbal extracts. We honor the holistic wisdom of the whole plant by aiming to deliver its full spectrum of natural phytonutrients—nothing isolated out or stripped away.
There are different ways of unlocking an herb’s unique profile of phytonutrients for our bodies to recognize and use. One of the most common methods used traditionally for centuries is simple yet effective—it’s the use of water to extract a plant’s beneficial compounds. Using water extracts the water-soluble compounds from a plant, and the result is called an aqueous extract. When you make a cup of tea, for example, the water-soluble compounds in the tea leaves dissolve in the hot water, flavoring the liquid to give you the taste and other benefits you associate with tea. Some of Turmeric’s phytonutrients are water soluble and can be delivered as aqueous extracts.
Not all compounds are water soluble. Some are best extracted using ethanol (alcohol), and others may be fats or oils that won’t dissolve well in water or alcohol. What is a safe, effective way to preserve all of a plant’s beneficial compounds and organic nuances, including its beneficial fats and oils? New Chapter uses a gentle, clean extraction method with natural carbon dioxide gas, known as supercritical CO2 extraction. Supercritical extraction captures the delicate volatile oils, including Turmerones, that may be left out of other formulas (like those curcumin isolates). At the same time, the method can also highly concentrate phytonutrients, in ratios as high as 25 to 1, so the active constituents of the finest whole herbs can be delivered in just one small capsule.
Combining supercritical compounds with an aqueous extraction helps deliver the full spectrum of Turmeric’s beneficial phytonutrients. At New Chapter, we formulate our products with the natural complexity of the whole plant in mind, to deliver botanicals the body can actually absorb. Supercritical extraction guarantees a natural, whole-herb approach, delivering the full Wisdom of Nature for your maximum benefit. We don’t want to leave anything out!
Where Does Turmeric Come From?
When you are committed to sourcing the highest quality botanicals, you go around the globe to find them. It makes sense that the heart of Turmeric’s tradition is where it grows best, in the rainy tropics, particularly in India. Here the soil conditions and climate are ideal for growing the most phytonutrient-dense Turmeric on the planet. New Chapter partners with sustainable and organic farms with a high regard for soil integrity to source the highest quality raw materials, expertly extract them, and deliver them to you. We also partner with Rodale Institute, a leader in organic and regenerative farming practices to achieve our goal of a regeneratively farmed future for all.
Whether you are a novice or an expert to the world of Turmeric, there are a lot of reasons to include this spice into your daily regimen. This magnificent herb with its multiple benefits could truly be an ancient solution for the challenges and concerns of the modern world.
Try Turmeric Force by New Chapter today!