The relationship between the spice Turmeric & Indian continent marks its history some 4,500 years ago. The spice is considered as auspicious & sacred in Hindu religion. Even today it is used in marriage ceremonies in India. Turmeric is used in almost every Indian delicacy from spicy to sweet. The most common and world famous example is the curries. Though the usage of Turmeric has been since the ancient times, it was in the 500 BC that Turmeric evolved as a medicine in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicine system of natural healing that is still practiced today. Like, inhaling fumes from burning turmeric is said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds, and turmeric paste is applied for all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox to blemishes and shingles. Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for turmeric. The beautiful & vibrant colour of Turmeric is used as a dye for centuries. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with turmeric.
Though we are more familiar with the use of turmeric in food, we lack the awareness of its medicinal properties. Turmeric is called as ‘Curcuma Longa’. This is due to a substance called as Curcumin, which makes Turmeric all that important. Curcumin has significant, anti-inflammatory properties that are said to rival those found in ibuprofen. Turmeric has no toxic effect on body, unless consumed in extremely huge quantities. Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant advantages have been shown to protect healthy cells in the body, especially those found in the colon, responsible for cancer. Turmeric also helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
The importance of Turmeric in western world grew in the mid 20th century. Since then this spice has acquired a quintessential space in the western world with the Google Food Trends Report 2016 stating it as the top trending food across the globe.
There are not just one but many reasons for consumption of this spice. Just to state a few:
- Curcumin is the main material in Turmeric, which is useful as an anti-inflammatory and is a very strong antioxidant.
- Turmeric is a spice that is consumed as well as can be directly applied on wounds as well as used as a beauty ingredient.
- Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
- Curcumin is also beneficial at fighting heart diseases. The heart attack risk is decreased by 65% in those who consume Turmeric on a regular basis.
- Curcumin also reduces production of cancer causing cells.
- Curcumin also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Curcumin is also an anti-depressant. However, further research on the same is still going on.
- Turmeric powder has a huge role to play even in cosmetic products, it is used in anti-ageing products.
Given the dozen of health benefits of turmeric, incorporating this valuable plant into your diet and daily lifestyle will certainly improve the quality of life.