The Magical Values of Turmeric
Turmeric is a very common spice in Indian kitchens.It is impossible to think of Indian food without turmeric. It is considered as king of the kitchen, and is used daily in cooking, but still people are unaware of the magical benefits it possess. It is an antiseptic and anti oxidant and is used in many beauty treatments. Not only this, you would be really surprised to know that it cures many diseases by its Ayurvedic healing properties. But before going into its benefits, let us discuss about its origin.
Origin and Description of Turmeric plant
Turmeric (botanical name Curcuma longa lin) is a tropical plant perennial herbs, cultivated in India since ancient time. It is a rhizomatous plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It grows in a temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C, and requires a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.It is 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season. Turmeric, commonly known as "Haldi", comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. It is a native of India and apart from India, it is cultivated in Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, East & West Africa, South Pacific Islands, Malagasy, Caribbean Islands and Central America. In India, it is cultivated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
Varieties of Turmeric
There are two main types of turmeric
Alleppey - It is deeper in color and more flavorful, is the type most likely to be found in American markets.
Apart from these two other types are
Red streaked , etc.
Turmeric Cultivation in India
India has 185.32 lakh hectares under turmeric cultivation with a total production of 701.66 lakh tonnes. Andhra Pradesh topped both in area and production with 73.93 lakh hectares and 375.77 lakh tonnes respectively. Tamil Nadu follows with 33 lakh hectares with 158.64 lakh tonnes (As per latest Statistics). Productivity was highest in Tamil Nadu 6118 Kg/ha. The important varieties used in India are: 'Alleppey Finger' (Kerala) and 'Erode and Salem turmeric' (Tamil Nadu), 'Rajapore' and 'Sangli turmeric' (Maharashtra) and 'Nizamabad Bulb' (Andhra Pradesh). In Tamilnadu, the important varieties cultivated are Erode local, BSR-1, PTS-10, Roma, Suguna, Sudarsana and Salem local. Among these varieties, 70-75% is occupied by the local varieties. .
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, etc. Ayurveda appreciates the medicinal qualities and the colour of turmeric. This is evident through the various names of turmeric specified in ancient texts of Ayurveda. Some of these are:
- Haridra - enhancer of body complexion.
- Kanchani - looks like gold.
- Nisha - imparts beauty by enhancing complexion which is as beautiful as a full moon night.
- Gowri - yellow in colour.
- Krimighni - works as an antibacterial and antihelmenthic.
- Yoshit priya - used in gynecological disorders.
Turmeric has a long list of medicinal values and it cures many diseases. The main organs that turmeric treats are the skin, heart, liver and lungs. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. Turmeric is also used for epilepsy and bleeding disorders, skin diseases, to purify the body-mind, and to help the lungs expel Kapha. Turmeric has been knowuan to treat and cure Anemia, cancer, diabetes, digestion, food poisoning, gallstones, indigestion, IBS, parasites, poor circulation, staph infections, and wounds. It helps to regulate the female reproductive system and purifies the uterus and breast milk, and in men it purifies and builds semen . It reduces fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems in general and also fight against allergies.
Turmeric is beneficial for its influence on the liver. It is a natural liver detoxifier. In spring more consumption of herbs and foods can strengthen the liver. Turmeric shares similar liver protectant compounds that milk thistle and artichoke leaves contain. It is said to shrink engorged hepatic ducts, so it can be useful to treat liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and jaundice.
Bacterial Infection / Wounds
Turmeric is useful as an external antibiotic in preventing bacterial infection in wounds. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
Menstrual problems of Woman
For women who experience monthly menstrual cramps, use of turmeric extract twice daily for two weeks prior to expected menstruation works a lot. Turmeric is an antispasmodic to smooth muscles so it reduces digestive and menstrual cramping. It should reduce the severity of pain, if not ease them completely. Certainly, diet and standard of living have a reflective influence on the menstrual cycle, but turmeric is a great addition.
Recent scientific research shows that turmeric can cure host of diseases.They found that turmeric restrain the growth of various types of cancer. Turmeric is used for the treatment of skin cancer or pre cancerous skin conditions. Both topical and internal uses are beneficial.When turmeric is combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
Turmeric paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where it is believed turmeric gives glow to skin and keeps some harmful bacteria away from the body. This tradition of Haldi in Indian marriage is a very well known ceromony. Turmeric paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair. Turmeric is also used in various rituals, such as the turmeric ceremony or gaye holud, part of the Bengali wedding. It is widely used in all parts of India during wedding ceremony, particularly in North India and the Deccan Plateau. It is also used in Pujas to make a form of the elephant God Ganesha. It is made by mixing turmeric with water and forming it into a cone-like shape. In south Indian festival Pongal, a whole turmeric plant with the root is placed as part of the ceremonial decorations. In southern India, as a part of the marriage ritual, a piece of dried turmeric tied with string is sometimes used to replace the Thali necklace temporarily or permanently.
Turmeric can help out your skin tone and colour and prevent pigmentation of skin. So before investing in an expensive product try using haldi available at your kitchen. Turmeric, Milk and Gram Flour is very helpful to get a glowing skin. Pregnant women can paste of turmeric and cream or turmeric and yoghurt on stomach and back. This will help the skin to become flexible and soft and there will be no stretch marks on skin after the birth of baby. Turmeric is an inexpensive beauty aid. It is used in the formulation of some sunscreens and it helps prevent pimples and marks. Apart from these, turmeric can be used to cure wrinkles, cracked feet, pigmentation and scars left by acne, to get get of unwanted hair, etc.