We recently received an email from someone asking about our turmeric and if it was just as effective in fighting inflammation as curcuma longa. Our reply? Yes! Why? Because curcuma longa and turmeric are actually the same thing. So why is turmeric sometimes called curcuma longa?
To answer that question, we have to introduce a third name, “curcumin”. Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is best known as being the active ingredient turmeric, a member of the ginger family. It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring.
So now we have curcumin, turmeric and curcuma longa. Here are the differences. Curcumin, as mentioned above, is the active ingredient in turmeric; it’s what gives turmeric its healthy punch against inflammation and many other health issues such as pain. Curcumin has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, as it is nontoxic and has a variety of therapeutic properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic functions. Curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric.
Curcuma longa is the scientific name for turmeric. Curcuma longa, and its main active component curcumin, have been evaluated as potential natural remedies for conditions like cancer, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, cataracts, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
If you’re shopping for a natural health alternative to help relieve inflammation or pain, chances are your search should start with “turmeric”, such as a turmeric extract. If your search results give you “curcuma longa” products, you’re on the right track! They are the same! Curcumin is IN turmeric; again, it’s the active component in turmeric so if you find a product that lists curcumin as the active ingredient, you’ve found what you’re looking for.
So why use three phrases for essentially the same thing? Well, curcumin is the active ingredient within turmeric, so it’s not quite the same, though often used interchangeably. Turmeric and curcuma longa are also used interchangeably, though most people use “turmeric” over it’s more formal name “curcuma longa”. And keep in mind, turmeric root can be used in cooking as well, so you will sometimes see turmeric root on grocery store shelves. “Curcuma longa root” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it!
The next time you’re looking for a natural health alternative to help relieve inflammation, keep in mind that you may find a product with turmeric, curcuma longa or curcumin. All will help relieve symptoms. Just be sure the one you choose is organic, certified, and tested to be sure you’re getting the best product possible!