Turmeric – A Medicinal Plant With Miraculous Benefits

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Turmeric has been a raging fad for quite some time, and you wouldn’t have missed noticing. Right from turmeric lattes in coffee shops to turmeric toothpaste it seems have become omnipresent. You might have also heard of turmeric tea, golden milk and even turmeric smoothies! So, it makes you wonder what all the fuss is about. This article is all about the Yellow Wonder ‘Turmeric’ that is capable of several health and beauty benefits!

What Is Turmeric? 

The bright yellow spice you know as turmeric (also referred to as Indian Saffron) is the powdered form of the root from the plant known as Curcuma longa belonging to the ginger family. In fact, the raw turmeric looks very similar to ginger in appearance. 

Turmeric has been a commonly used spice in Asian cuisine. It has also been a significant part of the traditional medicine systems of the region such as Ayurveda, Siddha, and TCM.

The image below gives you the details such as Botanical name, Family, Nativity, Plant appearance, and Environment in which the turmeric plant grows.

Infographic on Turmeric Plant (capable of health and beauty benefits due to curcumin)Details

Health Benefits Of Turmeric:

The health benefits of this simple root tend to be numerous as there is hardly a part of the human body the spice doesn’t help.

Some of its significant health benefits include but not limited to the below,

  • Improves immunity
  • Aids digestion
  • Enables movements in the joints
  • Helps maintain blood sugar levels
  • Promotes liver function
  • Beneficial for kidney
  • Lowers the risk of brain diseases
  • Enhances heart health
  • Can prevent cancer

Most of the above benefits are a result of potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric. Because of turmeric’s nature to positively impact the body in such myriad ways, there has been so much interest around it.

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Study Supporting Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Hence, unsurprisingly, a lot of research has gone into establishing its efficacy in the prevention and treatment of various diseases. Thus, you will be able to find countless clinical trials on turmeric for each of its known health benefits and other potential uses that have given promising results.

One such research concludes that,

“Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people. Besides, a relatively low dose can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions.”

“Combine Pepper with Turmeric To Maximise Benefits

Furthermore, combining turmeric with black pepper enables better absorption of curcumin in the body. Since black pepper is another readily available spice, you can try to use it together whenever possible to reap the maximum benefits.

How To Use?

  • Sprinkle some powder in your dish:

The easiest way to incorporate turmeric as a part of your diet is to sprinkle a spoonful (Teaspoon) of turmeric powder in all your curries and veggie preparations as done in Indian cuisine. Also, as an added benefit, it will enhance the flavour and aroma of the dish as well.

  • Brew into a tea:

You can also easily make it as a tea, by steeping turmeric in hot water. Further, you can add flavour to it by adding honey to it. 

An important tip here:  Add honey after allowing your tea to cool down a bit. In fact, Ayurveda advises not to add honey to hot food/drink.

Topical Application Benefits Of Turmeric

Besides consuming turmeric for its therapeutic properties and health benefits, it can also be used topically. Turmeric’s inherent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are highly beneficial for the skin.

Topical uses include,

  • Helps revive the skin, and thus brings out its natural lustre and glow
  • Heals wounds as it is a natural antiseptic
  • Improves symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Treats acne and also prevent the associated scars
  • Can help cure rashes, such as those caused by scabies, especially if combined with neem

Study Supporting Topical Application Benefits

Here is a conclusion of a research study  on turmeric’s efficacy in treating skin conditions,

“A growing amount of evidence confirms that curcumin might modulate those phenomena involved in inflammatory, proliferative, and infectious disorders of the skin.”

How To Use?

  • Treating skin conditions:
    1. Mix turmeric powder in water to make a paste and apply in the affected area.
    2. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then wash off with water.
    3. Repeat the process for a few days to notice improvement.
    4. The medicinal properties of Curcumin in turmeric helps in treating skin conditions.
  • Face Mask:
    1. Also, if you wish to use it as a part of your beauty regimen, you can prepare DIY turmeric face masks.
    2. Some of the popular combos include turmeric and yoghurt, turmeric and honey, turmeric and milk, turmeric and aloe vera, etc.
    3. You can try some of these natural masks and stick to the one that works best for you.

Availability Of Turmeric

  • Nowadays, turmeric is readily available in the form of powder, paste, pills as well as dry and fresh roots.
  • Also, if you are into gardening, you can even grow turmeric at home! When the root is fresh, you can peel off the skin, grate it, and use it sparingly on your dishes; or, you can brew a tea with the grated pieces.
  • If you want to make it as powder, dry the roots under the sun. After they had dried up, you can grind it in your mixer. Then, sieve it, and store it in an air-tight container.

The below image shows how Turmeric is called in other languages.

Infographic that mentions Turmeric's names in Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and Tamil languages

Safety Considerations:

Turmeric usage is safe in most people generally, especially if added as a spice in smaller quantities (a teaspoon) to your food targeted at general well-being. In fact, as per Ayurveda, this simple spice is special as it is Tridoshic, which means it is suitable for everyone.

But if you wish to take it in larger quantities for its medicinal qualities, perhaps as a curcumin supplement, make sure you do not fall under the categories below.

  • If you are on blood-thinning or platelet thinning medications, use turmeric with caution.
  • There is no clear indication of positive or negative effects of turmeric related to fertility in men. But, traditionally turmeric usage is associated with females rather than males
  • Those with iron deficiency should exercise caution while taking turmeric as it can interfere with iron absorption
  • Since turmeric is highly potent in lowering blood sugar levels, if you are on diabetes medication, you will have to make sure sugar levels doesn’t drop too low

Similarly, topical usage of turmeric usually is safe except when you are allergic to it. To be on the safer side, do a patch test before using it.

Note that it can leave a yellowish tinge on the skin after washing off, it is normal. Only if you develop any swelling, irritation or redness, it means you may be allergic to it.

Final Word:

So, go on, and grab some turmeric roots or readily available turmeric powder. And, make it an everyday practice to use it in small quantities.

For, it is evident, the potent ingredient Curcumin in Turmeric can help you in maintaining general health. Not only that, you can see, Turmeric has an impressive amount of topical uses too!

Interesting fact:

Did you know turmeric can be used for dyeing textile?

Now, having known about Turmeric, would you like to test your knowledge on Turmeric? Take this Quiz!

Images from canva.com

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