From curries to salad dressings, and teas to soups, turmeric has been there and done that! It’s probably the only spice after salt and pepper, to be used in almost every other food preparation, hot or cold, cooked or uncooked. In India, turmeric is also used heavily in worship rituals and ceremonies. The exotic ‘golden milk latte’ is also a traditional Indian concoction of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and milk. The exact origin of turmeric is not known but it is believed to be native to Southern India and Indonesia. The earliest mention of turmeric goes back to 5000 years in the Vedas. Turmeric not only has a permanent space on the kitchen shelf but is also an important coloring agent in the fabric industry and a pharmaceutical ingredient in the Ayurveda. As such, with the growing awareness and demand of this golden herb, this seems like a promising period for the turmeric powder manufacturers especially in India.
Some lesser known facts about Turmeric
Turmeric is a close relative of the ginger plant. It is a produce of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, native to tropical South Asia. There are around 133 known species of Curcuma which have been identified worldwide. They are commonly found in the form of turmeric fingers and powder. Most of them are known by their local names and used for various medicinal formulations. The turmeric plant needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C and a substantial amount of annual rainfall to thrive.
- Medicinal benefits of turmeric
Turmeric began to dominate as an important ingredient in medicine and was extensively used in Ayurvedic healing around 500 B.C. The antibiotic properties of this spice were mostly employed in the purification of blood and skin. It was also used to treat tough conditions as diverse as epilepsy, diarrhea, and urinary infections. Turmeric pastes are even today used to alleviate skin conditions like eczema, ringworm, and other parasitic skin conditions. The first medicinal powder that is applied to disinfect and stop the blood flow from a fresh wound is turmeric. In day to day life, powdered turmeric is frequently used as an insect repellant. A popular remedy of milk simmered with turmeric and sugar is used to cure a cold and cough.
- A potential to cure cancer
According to research, Curcumin or diferuloyl methane, an active ingredient in Turmeric, is shown to have anti-cancer effects on cancer/tumour cells. In a Phase-I Clinical Trial conducted some time back by a medical institute, Curcumin was administered to 25 patients with precancerous changes in different organs. This experiment seemed to suggest that Curcumin could stop the “pre-cancerous changes” from becoming Cancer.
Today, India has emerged the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric in the world. Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world market because of its high curcumin content. In fact, India accounts for about 80% of turmeric production and 60% of exports in the world, with Asian countries consuming much of their turmeric production. As such, one of the leading organic product manufacturers in India is Organic Products India. They are well known as global spices exporter in Europe, USA, Middle-East, China, etc.
From an ancient south Asian herb to one of the most sought after spice in the world today, turmeric has come a long way. No wonder then, it is the gold among spices!