Turmeric is truly the most wonderful spice God has given us. Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric. This gives the yellow colour and the pungent aroma to the spice. When added to a dish it gives it a bright appetizing colour and flavor. It is used in most of the Indian dishes.
Turmeric not only adds colour to a dish but it also boosts up your health.
Forms of Turmeric
Turmeric is available as a whole rhizome, as powder and as leaves. Its powder form is used more often than the other forms.
- Rhizome – Turmeric rhizome is used fresh also, like ginger. It is used in dishes, to make pickles and during winter season it is used to make chutneys.
- Powder – This is the most common form of turmeric used in cooking. The rhizomes are dried in ovens and then powdered. It is also used in medicines and skin creams.
- Leaves – The fresh leaves of the turmeric plant are also used in cooking.
Medicinal Value of Turmeric
In China and India turmeric has been used in medicines since a long time. It has been used to cure a number of ailments due to its antimicrobial, anti septic, anti fungal and anti bacterial properties.
It has been used as a medicine for disorders of stomach and liver and also to heal sores. In Ayurvedic medicines it is used for a number of ailments like aches, pains, wounds, skin, gastric and liver problems.
Fresh juice of turmeric is used to treat skin problems like scabies, eczema, skin allergies, etc.
Turmeric powder mixed in warm milk is a common home remedy for fever and internal injury.
Turmeric paste is used to treat open wounds due to its anti septic property. It also removes the tan from the skin.
Due to its anti oxidant properties it is known to stop cancer in all stages especially prostate and breast cancer. Studies have shown that curcumin found in turmeric restrains the growth of colon cancer.
Curcumin helps to lower cholesterol and prevents LDL or the bad cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels and cause blockage. Thus it prevents heart attacks.
Due to antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties, turmeric helps to stop the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain which causes Alzheimer’s disease.
Its anti- inflammatory property helps to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric helps in the digestion of the food and prevents formation of gas, feeling of bloating and stomach ache.
Turmeric boosts up and makes the immune system of the body stronger. It is used as a home remedy to treat common cold and chest infections.
Uses of Turmeric
Turmeric is commonly used to colour saris and food products like cheese, yogurt, salad dressings, butter etc.
In India turmeric is considered very sacred and propitious so it is frequently used in a number of Indian ceremonies, weddings etc. A day or two before the wedding turmeric paste is applied on the body of the groom as well as the bride, this makes the skin soft.
Turmeric is a versatile plant that gives us this wonder spice. It is used in most of Indian dishes for that beautiful golden yellow colour as well as for its health benefits.