Within the amazing world of medicinal plants, few have a diverse range of qualities and medicinal uses as turmeric. For centuries, many cultures have used this versatile herb to treat many diseases and ailments. , antiplatelet, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic. the active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. In its raw state, curcumin makes up only 2 percent to 5 Within the amazing world of medicinal plants, few have a diverse range of qualities and medicinal uses as turmeric. For centuries, many cultures have used this versatile herb to treat many diseases and ailments. Turmeric is best known with the medicinal action of being a powerful anti-inflammatory but also acts as a blood tonic, emmenagogue, carminative, antibacterial, cholagogue, alterative, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic.
Turmeric has been proven effective in treating many ailments—including arthritis, cancer, dyspepsia, stomach ulcers, gallstones, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis, acne, conjunctivitis, styes, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, leucorrhoea, dermatitis, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis, colitis, asthma, rheumatoid, arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, fevers, sore throats, diabetes, anemia, and hemorrhoids. Turmeric additionally helps balance the female reproductive and lactation systems, and in men, it purifies and improves the health of semen.
The Latin name for turmeric is “Curcuma Longa,” which comes from the Arabic name for the plant, “Kurkum.” It comes from the Zingiberaceae family (same as ginger) and in Sanskrit is called Haridra (The Yellow One,) and is called Jiang Huang in Chinese herbology.
The healing properties of turmeric lie in the fingerlike stalk, or rhizome, the same part that is used to flavor, color, and preserve food. Turmeric is commonly found in Indian curries, giving the food a golden orange color, and is also used in baked products, dairy, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn, sweets, cake icing, cereal, sauces, gelatins, and cheese.
Turmeric is native to South Asia, and India is the largest producer in the world. There are two main varieties. One is harder and is used mostly for dying, and the other one, which is easily found at the supermarket, is softer, larger, and lighter-colored and is used mostly for eating. Turmeric became valuable when it was discovered that it preserved the freshness and nutritive value of foods and was originally used in curries and other food to improve palatability, as well as preservation.
People of ancient India believed that turmeric contained the energy of the Divine Mother and helped to grant prosperity, cleanse the chakras, and purify the channels of the subtle body. Even today, Hindus consider turmeric to have auspicious qualities and use them in many sacred ceremonies. It is commonly made into a paste and applied to the forehead (Ajna chakra or third eye) during pujas (devotional ceremonies) and weddings.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and is believed to balance the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). It has the tastes of pungent, bitter, and astringent with the qualities of dryness, lightness, and warmth. Ayurvedic healers have used it as medicine taken internally in the form of fresh juice, boiled tea, tinctures, or powder, and topically as creams, lotions, pastes, and ointments.
Turmeric has hundreds of molecular constituents, each with a variety of biological activities. There are at least 20 molecules that are antibiotic, 14 that are known cancer preventatives, 12 that are anti-tumor, 12 are anti-inflammatory, and there are at least 10 different antioxidants. The rhizome is 70 percent carbohydrates, 7 percent protein, 4 percent minerals, and at least 4 percent essential oils.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. In its raw state, curcumin makes up only 2 percent to 5 percent of turmeric and has a poor bioavailability, and we excrete most of it in the feces. However, when combined with piperine, a component of pippali (Indian long pepper), the bioavailability of curcumin increases 1,000-fold. Turmeric should be in a 10:1 ratio to the long pepper. Black pepper also has piperine but is very hot and drying and may aggravate Pitta and Vata. Adding fat, in the form of ghee or coconut oil, will help with absorption and digestion as well.