Turmeric is a rhizome from the same plant family as ginger. Turmeric has more than 100 components. The main component of the turmeric root is a volatile oil, containing turmerone. The yellowish color is from natural coloring agents called curcuminoids.
Curcuminoids consist of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, 5’-methoxycurcumin, and dihydrocurcumin－all of which are natural antioxidants. The volatile oils in turmeric include d-α-phellandrene, d-sabinene, cinol, borneol, zingiberene, and sesquiterpenes. There are a variety of sesquiterpenes, like germacrone; termerone; ar-(+)-, α-, and β-termerones; β-bisabolene; α-curcumene; zingiberene; β-sesquiphellanderene; bisacurone; curcumenone; dehydrocurdione; procurcumadiol; bis-acumol; curcumenol; isoprocurcumenol; epiprocurcumenol; procurcumenol; zedoaronediol; and curlone.
The components responsible for the aroma of turmeric are turmerone, arturmerone, and zingiberene. The rhizomes are also reported to contain four new polysaccharides-ukonans along with stigmasterole, β-sitosterole, cholesterol, and 2-hydroxymethyl anthraquinone.
This complex array of compounds, including the unique polysaccharides, has made turmeric a staple health ingredient for centuries amongst generations of Indians and Chinese. The ingredients in natural turmeric are also cradled in a form that is highly bioactive when released in our gut.
Almost everything sold in USA is synthetic Curcumin labelled as “Turmeric”. Synthetic curcumin is made by the reaction of 5 malonyl-CoA with cinnamic acid. Synthetic curcumin is very insoluble in water (also blood) and is poorly “bioavailable”. So manufacturers resort to gimmicks (nanoparticles, additives etc) to “increase” bioavailability. Science dictates that nothing can increase the solubility of curcumin in water.
Natural products, created by nature, are symbiotically accepted by human bodies. But their production follows the “Laws of Harvest” and are commercially less profitable. Synthetic products are much cheaper to manufacture and can be produced in copious volumes. But they are not really as beneficial because the human body tends to react to them as a “foreign” substance.
Consumers have the final vote. Are you going to buy what’s good for you or whats convenient for the manufacturer?