The Healing And Nutritional Properties Of Turmeric
Turmeric is a powerful healing food that has been used in the ancient India systems of medicine for thousands of years.
It is one of the most commonly used herb and spice in the Ayurvedic diet and it has many health benefits.
Turmeric – An Ayurvedic Super Food & Herb
Turmeric looks similar to ginger and can be identified by its bright golden orange color.
Typically the root of the plant is used, either fresh or dried.
It has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger.
Grow your own Turmeric at home
Using fresh turmeric you purchased at the market, break off a piece about two inches long and place it in a pot with sandy soil such as cactus soil or soils used to grow tropical plants.
Water it regularly to keep the soil slightly moist and the root should start to grow in four to five weeks.
Whenever you need some turmeric, dig up the root underneath the soil and and break off a small portion. The turmeric root will continue to grow. Click here to check out a more detailed explanation on how to grow turmeric at home.
General uses of Turmeric
Fresh or dry powdered turmeric is often used in cooking as a warm, bitter and pungent spice not only for flavoring but also for assisting with the digestion of other foods. It pairs well with Ginger.
Turmeric can be used as an infusion (in the form of tea) where it is prepared by cutting the root into thin slices and infused into hot water for at least five minutes before straining.
Nutritional Properties of Turmeric
Turmeric root contains many healthy substances and oils such as as termerone, curlone, curcumin, cineole, and p-cymene which are responsible for its healing properties mentioned below.
Specifically, curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound (the main pigment that imparts a deep orange color) is known to have the anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid (prevents neurodegenerative diseases), anti-ischemic (prevents cardiovascular diseases), anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is low in calories and contains no cholesterol, but contains a very rich source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals including such as vitamin C, E, B-6, B- 5, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium.
The anti-oxidant strength of turmeric is one of the highest among known herbs and spices.
Healing Properties of Turmeric
Turmeric is a natural preservative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antibiotic.
In addition it strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora. Eating turmeric with meals helps prevent gas.
Externally it can be made into a paste and applied directly to the skin to improve complexion and help relieve rashes, boils, infections, eczema, acne sores and wounds.
In recent studies turmeric has shown to have anti- cancer benefits. There is much research and reports available proving turmeric to be helpful in preventing cancer. It only makes sense as it has so many health benefits and healing properties.
Turmeric can also be used to treat dental infections, sinus conditions, menstrual difficulties, hemorrhaging, toothaches, bruises, parasites, poor circulation, staph infections, chest pain, jaundice, ulcers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, and colic.
Too much turmeric however, may thin your blood and contribute to bleeding disorders. Excessive consumption of turmeric may cause stomach upset.
Ayurvedic properties of Turmeric
Turmeric is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste, slightly warm in energy and pungent in post-digestive effect.
Tumeric is a Tridosha herb which means it is good and beneficial for all three types of doshas including Vata, Pitta, Kapha and any combination of these three.
It is probably most effective at treating Kapha imbalance, by helping prevent a predominantly Kapha person from gaining weight and experience fatigue.
Turmeric is a stimulating, warming herb which can help to reduce Kapha and bring Vata and Pitta back to optimal levels of health.
It is considered a natural and Ayurvedic stimulant, antiseptic and analgesic (pain reliever).
Turmeric is especially known as an alterative – to cleanse and purify the blood and lymph tissues – it helps dissolve tumors and blood clots.
It is used in Ayurveda to strengthen the liver, improve circulation, promote menstruation and nourish all the body tissues.
In Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic diet, turmeric aids in the metabolism of sugar, fats and oils, thus it is excellent in treating hypoglycemia and diabetes.
In my next article, I will feature specific Ayurvedic recipes and remedies using turmeric. The application method and the right dosage is important to know.
image courtesy of h-bomb