The most recent item to get the spotlight? A spice by the name of turmeric, which may just be the new secret weapon of health in general.

It was even called a “rising star” by Google Food Trends, since searches for turmeric jumped a whopping 56% between November and January.

Turmeric, a root in the same family as ginger, has long been used as an anti-inflammatory compound in Chinese and Indian medicine. Its active ingredient, a yellow compound called curcumin, has been found to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties in lab and animal studies. And although more clinical trials about the benefits of curcumin for humans are needed, it’s been linked to lower total cholesterol levels and improved liver function after liver disease or damage.

Turmeric has a ton of great benefits for your body and here are some of them:

Arthritis

If your knee pain is the result of arthritis, turmeric can be quite helpful. It contains over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 is an enzyme that can lead to lead to pain, swelling, and inflammation. Inhibitors, of course, prevent those symptoms. Curcumin is one of these compounds, and on its own, it has been shown to be highly effective at reducing inflammation.

Dry skin

Turmeric can do wonders for dry, chapped skin, including on your lips. Mix a few pinches of the spice with an essential oil of your choice (such as grapeseed or vitamin E) and apply to patches of dry skin for an instantly smoother, softened surface.

Good source of manganese

A trace mineral that helps metabolize cholesterol, carbohydrates and protein and support healthy bones.

Contains iron

An essential protein component for metabolism and the formation of red blood cells. Also vital for muscle health!

Vitamin B6

Important for regulating mood and helps the body turns food into energy.

A powerful antioxidant

Antioxidants play an important part in the body, helping to protect the body from free radicals which cause ageing and various diseases. As well as being a powerful antioxidant itself, curcumin also stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes – helping it further in the fight against free radicals.

Turmeric tea for weight loss

How does turmeric tea work to boost weight loss? Simple. Excess weight creates chronic or low-grade inflammation. This is like a continual fire in the cells. Because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, it can help diminish excess weight-related inflammation and boost fat burning by suppressing the inflammation messages cells receive. By changing the way fat, muscle, pancreatic and other cells receive these messages, curcumin can help curb insulin resistance, high blood sugar and other metabolic conditions that are the result of obesity. When your body isn’t fighting inflammation, it functions properly and you’ll begin to lose weight.

It has been established that, even in quite high doses, it’s very safe to use turmeric, with up to 8g per day of the extract curcumin being used in some trials. In terms of supporting optimal wellness and prevention of disease, usually 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder per day is advisable, added to your food.

Generally turmeric and curcumin are very safe, although it’s important to see how your body reacts to the spice, especially your digestive system, as for some people it can loosen the bowel a little or cause irritation to the stomach. However this usually only occurs if consumed at very high doses.