The Benefits of Turmeric or Haldi
Origin And General Information
Latin Name: Curcuma longa
Turmeric is also known as Curcumin and Indian Saffron.
It is called Haldi in India
Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant native to South Asia including India.
The plant needs good rainfall and a hot and humid climate to grow. Waterlogging. however, kills it. Hence proper removal of extra water has to be ensured.
India is the world's largest producer and exporter of turmeric. It grows 90% of the world's turmeric output. Nizamabad in the Andhra Pradesh state of India is called the 'Turmeric city' as it is the biggest turmeric producing city in the world as also the most important centre of turmeric trade. Sangli in the Maharastra state of India is the 2nd most important trading centre for turmeric in Asia.
Fresh turmeric is used little and root is the part that is used as a spice and mostly in ground form. When ground, turmeric is a bright yellow coloured, warm and bitter flavoured spice.
Turmeric is an integral part of Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Indian cooking uses turmeric in almost every meal.
Varieties Of Turmeric
In India, the following famous varieties of turmeric are available.
- Local haldi, China scented, Red streaked, Alleppy and Thodopuza.
The major varieties of turmeric are:
- Alleppy finger - from Kerala. This is the variety that is more popular and available in American markets. It has richer colour and more flavour because of the higher content of curcumin.
- Nizamabad bulb - from Andhra Pradesh
- Erode & Salem turmeric - from Tamil Nadu
- Rajapore & Sangli turmeric - from Maharastra
Uses Of Turmeric
- Turmeric is used in Asian cuisines and its medicinal usage goes back to over 6000 years.
- Countries like India, China & Indonesia have been using turmeric in herbal remedies.
- Turmeric is used in various Indian ceremonies both marriage and religious.
- It is also used to colour and flavour food. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder.
- An extract from turmeric is used in brine pickles, some varieties of mayonnaise, non-alcoholic drinks, gelatin, cheese and butter.
- It is used as a dye in the textile industry.
- Turmeric is also used to spice sauces, pickles, sausages etc.
- Condiments, cosmetics, dairy products, confectionery, bakery, ice creams, cereal products, manufacture of oils, poultices all use turmeric in some form or the other.
Tumeric oil is extracted from the root by steam distillation. It is a spicy & gingery smelling aromatic oil, yellow to light brown in colour.
- Turmeric oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and anti oxidant.
- In aromatherapy, turmeric oil is used to destress and relax.
- As a massage oil, it is used to relieve muscular pains and aches.
- Turmeric oil is also used to treat skin infections and wounds.
As turmeric oil is very strong, use it sparingly ( about 3 drops to 1 tablespoon of the carrier oil) and preferably mixed with some other oils, like canola oil, grapeseed oil, ginger oil or ylang-ylang oil.
Precautions With Turmeric Use
Turmeric use in food on a daily basis or even in every meal thrice a day has been found to be safe. When it comes to using it as a medicine, it is advised to talk to your doctor or health care provider, more so, in the following cases.
- If you are on blood-thinning drugs like warfarin, clopidogrel, aspirin etc.
- If you are taking stomach acid-reducing drugs like cimetidine, famotidine, ranitidine, omeprazole, lansoprazole etc.
- If you are taking drugs for lowering blood sugar.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Nutrients In Turmeric
Turmeric has zero cholesterol, is rich in antioxidants and fibre. It is a rich source of Vitamin B6, choline, niacin, riboflavin. The fresh root is high in vitamin C. It is an excellent source of iron and manganese and a good source of potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
Turmeric also contains many phytonutrients and essential oils like turmerone, curlone, cerumen, cineole and p-cymene.
Nutritional Levels In Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Nutritive Value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which benefits in a wide number of diseases.
- Turmeric benefits in epilepsy and bleeding problems, in various skin diseases and respiratory diseases.
- Turmeric reduces fevers, diarrhoea, urinary problems, poisoning etc.
- Ulcers respond well to external application of turmeric. It removes pus and watery discharges like leucorrhoea.
- Turmeric benefits in detoxifying the liver regularise cholesterol levels, stimulate digestion, fights allergies and boosts immunity.
- Turmeric reduces inflammations, makes the blood thin, neutralises free radicals which makes it especially beneficial in arthritic conditions.
- Turmeric benefits the female reproductive system and uterus, breast milk, increases and purifies the semen.
- Turmeric improves mental functions and is neuroprotective, reduces insanity, protects in brain affections, stroke and Alzheimer's.
- Turmeric is also available in capsule form.
Turmeric Milk or Haldi Wala Doodh
Milk is a good source of vitamins A, B12 and, thiamine, nicotinic acid and K besides being in minerals like calcium, potassium and phosphorus. It is a very healthy drink for growth of the body, providing strength and boosting immunity. Adding turmeric to it raises its health benefits because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Haldi milk is very commonly drunk beverage especially in winter as it keeps minor respiratory diseases at bay.
Turmeric milk helps in reducing arthritis symptoms, osteoporosis and relaxes muscles thus helping in easier movement. It also helps in quicker joining of fractured bones. It cleanses the blood and liver, driving toxins out of the body, aids in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.
Turmeric milk improves blood circulation and gives relief in ear pain and other pains.
Turmeric Milk - How To Make Haldi Milk
Uses Of Turmeric In Specific Health Conditions
In Cracks Of Hands & Feet
- Add salt to reasonably hot water and keep the affected hand or feet dipped in this water for 15 minutes.
- Grind raw papaya. Add mustard oil about 1/4 th weight of the ground papaya. Also, add 2 tbsp turmeric. Cook this well and make a poultice. Tie it on the affected area. Continue for 2 to 3 days.
- Add turmeric powder to unboiled milk and massage for preventing cracks. Putting turmeric in the cracks heals them.
- On sustaining an injury, drink a glass of hot milk to which 1 tsp turmeric has been added. It relieves pain & swelling. A paste of turmeric and water should also be applied to the injury.
- Take 2 tsp turmeric powder, 4 tsp wheat flour, 1 tsp desi ghee and 1/2 tsp rock salt. Add little water and cook this mixture. After it's done, cool suitably and apply this mixture on the injury.
For Fomenting A Painful Injury Make The Following
In 1/2 lt hot water, add 1/2 tsp rock salt and mix well. Then add 1 tsp turmeric powder. Cover the vessel. When the water is tolerably hot dip a cloth in this water, wring the excess water out and foment the injury.
- In case of fractures take milk with 1 tsp of turmeric dissolved in it for benefit.
- Grind 1 onion and add 1 tsp turmeric powder to it. Tie this mix in a cloth. Keep this in sesame oil and heat the oil. When the cloth is warm enough foment the injury. After some time, make a poultice of the mixture and tie on the injury.
In Dental Diseases
- Mix turmeric, salt and mustard oil. Brush the teeth and gums with this mix daily to strengthen the teeth.
- Roast turmeric well, then grind it fine. Massage the painful teeth with this for relief from pain.
When there is an accumulation of gas in the abdomen, swallow a mixture of 5 gms turmeric and salt with hot water.
Mix turmeric in ghee or oil. Heat this. Use this as a warm dressing for the wound to heal faster.
Drink a mixture of turmeric powder and salt mixed in hot water. One can also suck a piece of turmeric.
In cases of chronic cough, add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder to 1/2 tsp honey and lick this.
In cough with expectoration, take hot milk to which 1/2 tsp turmeric has been added.
In Asthma & Cough
- Roast turmeric and grind. Take 1/2 tsp of this turmeric powder and mix with 1 tsp of honey. Lick twice a day.
- Boil 1 tsp turmeric powder in a cup of milk. Drink hot.
Take 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds. Make a paste of these with milk and apply on the face for a few minutes daily.
In case of frequent urination and excessive thirst, take 8 gms turmeric powder with water twice a day or mix with honey and lick.
Take 1/2 tsp turmeric 3 times daily, with water.
Mix 1 tsp Aloe gel in 1 tsp turmeric powder & apply on the burn.
Take 1 tsp turmeric powder mixed with 1 tsp honey daily.
For Clear Complexion
Mix turmeric powder with water to make a paste. Apply at night. Wash off after 10 minutes.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.
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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly