Turmeric – The Wonder Spice of India

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.
Alzheimer’s disease
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.
Immune System
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.


Turmeric – The Golden Glory: Widely Used Spice in Indian Cooking

The scientific name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. The turmeric powder is prepared by the roots of this plant. The powder has a yellow colour and a very good aroma. Turmeric has the first place in any puja, wedding or thread ceremony; house-warming etc. turmeric is the most important ingredient in the Indian kitchen. It gives colour, taste and aroma to the dishes. Turmeric has blood purifying, anti-septic and digestive properties. These days, we see an increase in the usage of artificial ingredients in various food and food products, which may affect our health adversely. With the intake of turmeric, the adverse effects on health can be controlled. Turmeric is also a very safe and an effective beauty aid. Applying a paste of turmeric and sandal wood to the face and washing it after 15 minutes makes the face glow and is believed to cure pimples.

Turmeric is also full of medicinal values. It has anti-cancer properties. For cuts, turmeric is applied to the cut to stop the bleeding and avoid infection. The intake of turmeric keeps pregnant women healthy. It helps to increase the anti-biotic properties in babies. Turmeric is a spice widely used in India in cooking various curries. It has also been used since ancient times as a traditional medicine and also for beauty care. In Ayurveda, the system of Indian medicine, it is an important herbal product prescribed for various ailments. It is very commonly used throughout India as an ingredient for traditional beauty care treatments. Some reputed health benefits of turmeric include a reputation for supporting healthy skin care, healthy cholesterol levels, liver and gall bladder health, and possible joint-pain relief through anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The antioxidant power of turmeric is so effective that it actually helps to preserve the shelf-life of foods that it is added to. Turmeric has antiseptic properties. Putting its powder over the cuts, bruises or scrapes helps in stopping blood loss as well as healing the wounds.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric powder help in alleviating the pain associated with arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric is alterative, analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardio-vascular, carminative, digestive, diuretic and stimulant. Natural plant products like turmeric have been formulated to heal and prevent dry skin, treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne, and retard the aging process. Traditionally, women rub turmeric on their cheeks to produce a natural golden glow, extract of turmeric has been added to creams for use. Washing with turmeric improves skin complexion. Natural cleansers like milk and turmeric powder are effective natural cosmetics in themselves; they bring a healthy glow to the skin and make the skin beautiful. They also help to restore youth by controlling wrinkles on the face. Effective healing properties of turmeric have made it sought after ingredient in cosmetics and drugs, as the leaf oil of turmeric and extract can also be used as bio-pesticides and sunscreens. Turmeric is also very effective tonic and a blood purifier. It is skin-friendly and constitutes an important ingredient in many creams and lotions.

Turmeric – Most Popular Spice of India

Turmeric is one of the most popular spices of India. It is also popular as medicine used as a part of home remedy. Turmeric is added to many dishes in India. Further, it is also regarded by the Hindus as something sacred for use in ceremonial and religious occasions. Besides flavouring the food, turmeric is believed to purify the blood and a remedy for skin conditions. Indians have known the magical medicinal properties for ages. Ayurveda used it for the treatment of many inflammatory conditions and diseases like arthritis and muscular disorders. It was also used to tackle asthma, flatulence, colic and ringworm. A pinch of turmeric powder put in your cooking every day is not just to give a vibrant yellow colour to your food, but also to antidote you. An Indian kitchen is rarely seen without a tin of turmeric powder on the shelf.

Turmeric is one Indian spice that continues to be reinvented and rediscovered throughout the world. In India and other Asian countries, the use of turmeric is mostly popular as food adjunct in many vegetable, meat and fish preparations. Turmeric not only adds to taste, flavour and colour of the dish but also, it is believed that it preserves the food. Moreover, due to its medicinal virtues, by consuming turmeric regularly with food in any form, it prevents many diseases. Turmeric, by dint of its aromatic oil content, flavours foodstuffs, acts as an appetiser and aids digestion. It is also used to colour liquor, fruit drinks, cakes and jellies. It is used to flavour and at the same time colour butter, cheese, margarine, pickles, mustard and other foodstuffs.  Turmeric has been traditionally regarded as important source of medicine. It is said to be anti-oxidant, due to the phenolic character of curcuma. It is considered useful both for internal and external applications. It is considered useful for cancer patients. It is a stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier, vermicide, and an antiseptic. It is taken with warm milk to act as expectorant. Mixed with lime it is applied externally to get relief from sprains and pains. Turmeric is considered as excellent natural cosmetic.  Smearing turmeric paste on the face and the limbs during the bath is found to clear the skin and beautify the face. Many cosmetics available in the market are manufactured using turmeric as one of the ingredients.

Turmeric has been used worldwide since very ancient times. Several unique properties of the Indian turmeric make it an ideal choice as a food flavour. It also finds use in the preparation of liquors, dyestuffs, medicines, cosmetics and toiletries. It is used as natural colorant. The curcuma present in turmeric imparts its distinctive yellow colour. In beauty care, women have used turmeric paste since very ancient times. Today it finds use as an antiseptic and an anti-tanning agent. It prevents and cures pigmentation, making skin translucent and glowing. It cools and makes the skin smooth. It is used to purify blood. It also helps in protecting the skin from allergy.

Turmeric Powder Benefits – How to Add Turmeric in your Food and Enjoy its Benefits?

All over the world people enjoy Indian food because of its rich taste and the spices added to it. Without spices, Indian cuisine would lose its meaning and uniqueness. It will not be any different from other foods. Varied kinds of blended Indian spices characterize the flavor of most of the exotic Indian dishes.

Indian spices have been in use since time immemorial. Most of the spices have medicinal values as well and by using these in the food we are adding more ‘health’ value to the food.

What would Indian dishes be without that tempting yellow colour? Turmeric “the golden spice of life” is one of most essential spice used as an important ingredient in cooking.

Without turmeric the food would look dull and insipid. Turmeric powder, also known as ‘haldi’ adds that beautiful, bright yellow colour to Indian cuisine. Turmeric was also used nearly 3000 years ago, in the ancient Vedic culture of India. It is used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies.

The turmeric powder is obtained from the dried grounded underground stem “rhizome”.  The rhizome of the turmeric is yellowish orange tuberous juicy stem. It is a tropical plant perennial herb, curcuma, cultivated in India since ancient time. It is known as poor man’s saffron because it offers a less expensive alternative yellow colour.

Turmeric is the principal ingredient in the curry powder. It adds zest to any dish and when combined with other spices it adds a wonderful curry flavor. It is used in almost all Indian vegetable and meat dishes. Its use in cooking provides a lot of health benefits and healing properties. It is an inseparable part of the food recipes. Combined with other spices it is used to marinate food items.

Benefits of turmeric in Indian Cuisine:

  • It is one of the principle ingredients of curry powder.
  • It imparts musky flavour, a warm, mild aroma and yellow colour to curries.
  • A small pinch of turmeric powder adds an orange-yellow tinge to salad dressings.
  • It is used in liquor, fruit drinks, cakes, table jellies, fruit dishes etc.
  • Drinking warm milk with a pinch of turmeric powder will help to soothe sore throat.
  • When added to food it helps to keep the food free from bacteria.
  • It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • It is used to flavour and colour butter, cheese and margarine.
  • Turmeric is added to chutneys, pickles, and relishes.
  • It is used in liquor, fruit drinks, cakes, table jellies, fruit dishes etc.
  • Turmeric oil is also used to impart the flavour in food.
  • Turmeric is a blood purifier so it promotes good complexion.

Turmeric is one of the most strong traditional Indian spices and it in fact gets stronger when cooked so use it carefully. As it is a powerful yellow dye so do not touch your clothes when using it. Turmeric has medicinal as well as many therapeutic benefits as well. So when it is added to food, besides its bright colour, it also provides health benefits.

Thus, turmeric powder when added to food has a wide range of benefits. It not only makes the food more attractive, due to its curative properties, it makes you also beautiful.

The Popularity of Traditional Indian Spices

India is known in the world for its beautiful traditions and its mouth-watering food. The food items and the recipes are famous throughout the world due to the spices used in them. These spices add aroma and taste to the food, they also possess certain medicinal values.

Indian food cannot be imagined without these spices. Indian spices like celery, coriander, cumin, and mint have been proved to cure a variety of diseases like common cold, cough, cancerous tumors etc. Now people are beginning to understand the significance of Indian spices in food and medicine. Spices are known to have a positive influence on the digestive process and the absorption of the food.

Spices not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the food they also provide color, and taste to a range of cuisines. Even the western countries have adopted the use of these spices in food preparations. These may be used whole or in powder form. Indian food and spices have been popular all over the world since early times.

The Romans and the Arab traders imported spices from India. Indian cuisine and spices became very popular all over the world by the Middle Ages.  India had active spice trade with major kingdoms in Asia and Europe. At that time many battles were also fought to get access to the spice route to India.

Some of the main and commonly used Indian spices comprise black pepper, turmeric powder, asafetida, cardamom, mustard, coriander, ginger, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel, cloves etc. The spices are also used to make a variety of medicines and cosmetics. Mustards and  cloves are used to preserve food for long period of time.

The spices are derived from different parts of the plants.

  • Roots – Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion are the roots of the plant. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and other beauty products. It is used for treating internal injuries. Ginger is used for treating stomach problems, ulcers, common colds and acidity.
  • Leaves – The leaves of peppermint, rosemary, curry leaves, coriander and  methi are very popular.  Mint leaves give a unique and distinctive flavor to the dishes. Coriander leaves have a refreshing aroma. These leaves have a number of medicinal benefits like improving digestion and the appetite.
  • Bark – Cinnamon, the most popular varieties of Indian spicy, is the bark of a tree. It has a rich aroma and a strong flavor. It is used in a number of dishes for its appetizing taste. It aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and to improve the digestive system.
  • Flowers – Caper, rose and saffron are parts of the flower, and are  used in the Indian cuisine for their rich and unique fragrance.
  • Seeds – The seeds of cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek etc. are some very popular Indian spices. Fenugreek is used for purification of blood, as a laxative, and as an antidote for various skin problems. Cumin is a popular seasoning, which is rich in iron and has antioxidant properties.

Thus, spices essentially add spice in life and to the diet. Using spices is a simple way to improve the food and to boost your overall health. This is the major reason for the popularity of traditional Indian spices.

How to Store Spices?

Very few cooks store the spices correctly. Dried spices are usually displayed in glass jars on the kitchen shelf or in wall racks, and fresh spices such as ginger or lemon-grass, are often kept on a kitchen shelf or in a vegetable rack, sometimes in a sunny spot or under bright lights.

Storing fresh spices…unless you are going to use the fresh spices the day they are bought, they should be chilled rather than stored at room temperature. Lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves are best wrapped in a piece of kitchen paper and stored in the salad compartment of the fridge up to 2 weeks. Fresh galangal, ginger and chillies will keep for up to 3 weeks in a sealed container, lined with kitchen paper in the fridge. If you would like them to keep longer, fresh spices can be pounded to a paste, then put in small sealed containers and frozen for up to six months.

Storing dried spices…both ground and whole dried spices should be stored in air tight containers in a cool, dark cupboard or drawer as light, heat and moisture lessen their quality.

Storing other spices….bottles or tubes of spices pastes or purees, such as ginger and garlic puree, will keep unopened until the best before date. However, once opened, they should be stored in the fridge and used within the time specified.

A small, clear Perspex can be used to grind both cinnamon and cassia bark. Traditional wooden Japanese ginger graters make the work of grating light and are easy to clean. A stainless steel grater works equally well.  Use the finest grating surface and work over a flat plate to catch the juices. Opaque jars made of either china or metal don’t need to be stored in a dark place, but they are still better kept in a cool cupboard out of the heat of the kitchen. The stainless steel spice container is ideal for storing dried spices. The individual pots are sealed when the inner lid is closed. A second lid ensures that no light or moisture gets into the tin. Small jars with air-tight seals or screw tops are perfectly good containers for storing dried spices, providing they are kept in a cool, dark cupboard and not in a rack on the wall, or on a kitchen shelf.

Spice baskets make useful and interesting gifts. Choose small baskets and line them with pretty, patterned fabric, tissue paper or a banana leaf. Fill with a collection of spices. If you like, pick a theme for each basket, for example, pack spices for Thai cooking, seasoning mixtures for Indian cooking, or spice mixtures to mull warming drinks or just take a mixture you like and pack them in cute bundles.

The spicy flavour of CHAT MASALA may seem a little strange at first, but it can become quite addictive!

Coriander has a warm spicy flavour, which goes particularly well with lemons.

Herbs and spices have been prized since the earliest times, and today we still depend on them to enliven our daily meals and bring fragrance to our lives.

The Golden Turmeric – Health Benefits & Healing Properties of Turmeric Powder

It is said that turmeric was used nearly 3000 years in the ancient Vedic culture of India. It has and is being used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies. Uses of turmeric powder range from food to medicines. Turmeric Powder is used widely in Indian Dishes. Almost all Indian vegetable and meat dishes use turmeric either as separate spice or in the spice mixture. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Brine pickles and to some extent mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatines, butter and cheese etc. use turmeric oleoresin. Turmeric is used in the preparation of medicinal oils, ointments and poultice. It is stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic. It is also used in cosmetics. The botanical name for turmeric is Curcuma longa L.

Hindi: Haldi

Bengali: Halud, Pitras

Gujarati: Haldhar, Haldi

Kannada: Arishia

Konkani: Halad

Malayalam: Manjal

Marathi: Halede, Halad

Oriya: Haldil
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Bhale Padharya – Gujarati Dish Khaman Dhokla, Methi na Thepla



Makes about 30 pieces; Preparation time-30 minutes; Cooking time-25 minutes


2 teacups split Bengal gram                      ½” piece ginger

½ teaspoon soda bicarbonate                   5 tablespoon oil

A pinch of asafoetida                                salt to taste

4 green chillies

For Tempering:

¼ teaspoon mustard seeds                         8 curry leaves

For Garnishing:

½ cup chopped coriander leaves                ½ cup grated coconut Continue reading

Turmeric – Flavouring Spice for Aroma & Colour to Food, Medicinal Spice of the World


Hippocrates, the father of medicine said, “Let food be the medicine and let medicine be the food.” The former part of the sentence is for the sick and the latter is for the healthy. For the sick, positive natural foods are the true natural drugs. For the healthy, natural foods are the means of freedom from disease. Hippocrates firmly believed that natural foods have unlimited power to sustain health and restore it when lost. There is hardly any health problem or natural body process that is not influenced in some way or the other by the foods we eat. Researches indicate that certain specific foods can serve as powerful natural drugs like laxatives, antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-ulcer, analgesics, tranquillizers, cholesterol reducers, cancer fighters, fertility agents, anti-hypertensive, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and so on. Food can be thus called as miracle medicine that we can use in preventing and treating diseases and in boosting mental and physical energy and vigour and well-being. The adoption of sensible eating can thus free mankind from diseases and contribute to his well-being. Continue reading