Turmeric, which contains the antioxidant Curcuma, is one of nature’s most powerful healers and is documented as effective in conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.Turmeric is an effective alternative to conventional allopathic remedies as well as a peerless condiment, Turmeric makes a valuable addition to the kitchen shelf as well as the medicine cabinet.
Why should I be aware of this?
New research has also found the spice as a preventative and treatment for lung, colon, and liver diseases. Researchers have also found that curcumin, a natural ingredient in turmeric, may dramatically reduce the chance of developing heart failure.
A glass of milk boiled with a pinch of turmeric is an ideal natural medicine for fever and muscle pain as well as for coughs and colds.
How does this affect me?
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytotoxic (fights tumors) properties. This herb is extensively used by Chinese, Unani and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners. The main constituent of turmeric is curcumin, which has lot of therapeutic effects. It is a strong antioxidant and reduces inflammation by reducing histamine levels.
Turmeric and health
- Taking turmeric regularly helps to purify the blood and is good for the liver.
- Turmeric when added to beans and pulses can help to reduce gas and bloating.
- Turmeric contains compounds that herbalists use to treat and prevent conditions of the liver such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.
- Very beneficial for people suffering from digestive and gall bladders problems as it helps to break down fats during the process of digestion.
- Taking turmeric mixed with milk not only heals the wounds, but also treats high blood pressure.
- It helps in reducing cholesterol levels and prevents the internal blood clots that trigger strokes and heart attacks.
- Boil turmeric powder in water. Gargles of this cold and decanted water are beneficial in stomatitis and ulcers of tongue.
- Roast turmeric, grind it to make a fine powder. This powder can be applied to treat toothache.
- External application of turmeric paste cures eczemas and skin ailments.
- Turmeric (especially fresh) mixed in warm milk helps in chest congestions and asthma.
- It is commonly used in common cold, fever and inflammations.
- Turmeric powder increases the mucus content in gastric juices and hence acts against gastric disorders.
- A pinch of turmeric powder with warm water helps in stomach ache.
- Turmeric is used to treat minor cuts and burns since it has antiseptic and microbial properties.
- Turmeric also helps in regulating reproductive system of women.
Turmeric may help prevent Alzheimers
All about turmeric
Fresh turmeric looks like a slender version of ginger, but is bright orange-yellow inside. The length of the main rhizome is approximately 3 – 7 cm. It has a diameter of 2.5 cm, with small tubers branching off. Turmeric is grown in warm climate. Soil rich in humus and sandy in nature is ideal for growing turmeric. It is mainly cultivated in India, China, Taiwan, Japan, Burma and Africa. The common form of turmeric sold in the markets is either the dried rhizomes (hard and yellow) or ground turmeric powder. Turmeric powder is an essential ingredient in all Indian curry powders.
Used since time immemorial
Turmeric is an underground rhizome and is said to have its origins in India. It belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). It has been used for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic purposes since times immemorial. Turmeric is a yellow spice with a warm and mellow flavour. It is mentioned in the Vedas (holy Sanskrit texts dating 2000-1500 BC), as well as by the Chinese scholar Xuan Zang who observed that Indians used turmeric and sandalwood paste to wash their bodies. ‘Charak Sanhita’ oldest manuscript of Ayurveda recognizes turmeric as having numerous medicinal properties.
Turmeric is largely cultivated in India, Southeast Asia, China and the Middle East. In China it was used as a dye, while in ancient Persia it was one of the yellow spices associated with sun worship. Even in modern-day India, turmeric paste or powder is added to daals, vegetables and curries throughout the country. It is the most common spice, and serves the purpose of a flavourant, colourant and digestive. In fact in many households food that is not coloured with turmeric is considered to be ‘inauspicious’.
Turmeric is considered auspicious in India. As part of pre-nuptial ceremonies, both the bride and the groom are given a ceremonial bath with the turmeric paste, sandalwood (chandan) and gram flour(besan). This tradition that has become part of the culture probably came about due to turmeric’s beneficial effects on the skin. Turmeric cleanses the skin and makes it glow. It is considered a symbol of prosperity and a cleansing herb for the body.
It is mixed with water and sprinkled on places, persons and things to remove negative forces.
- Turmeric can heal and prevent dry and patched skin.
- When turmeric is mixed with milk, it becomes a natural cleanser. It also brings a healthy glow to the skin. It is a very important ingredient for face creams and body lotions.
- Paste made with fuller’s earth (multani mitti), Turmeric powder, yoghurt, rosewater can be applied to face to get a clear and glowing complexion.
- A pinch of turmeric powder mixed with a tablespoon of coriander juice and gram flour is an effective remedy for pimples.
- In South India turmeric paste is applied by women all over their bodies before a bath since it improves the complexion and has depilatory properties.
What can I do about it?
How to take it?
While turmeric may be helpful for the treatment of inflammatory conditions in children, appropriate doses have not yet been established. Until more information is available, consider adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of turmeric for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage. 
The following are doses recommended for adults:
- Cut root: 1,500 to 3,000 mg per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
- Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day. 
- The use of turmeric as a coloring agent for food and fabric dates as far back as 600 B.C. Marco Polo, in 1280, mentioned turmeric in notes of his travels in China.
- The turmeric plants were cultivated by Harappan civilization earlier in the 3000 B.
- Sangli, in Maharashtra is the largest trading centre for turmeric in the world.
- Turmeric is a known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic agent.
- Turmeric is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
- Turmeric, the golden spice of life
A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food, K.T.Achaya
- Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices & Flavorings, Elisabeth L. Ortiz
- Indian herbs, M Swaminath