Turmeric commonly called as “Haldi,” a word derived from the Sanskrit word Haridra, also known as the wonder spice contains a major active component called curcumin. Curcumin with other components in turmeric helps in reducing the inflammation. It is a member of the Curcuma botanical group, which is part of the ginger family, the Zingiberaceae. Turmeric has been used throughout history as a culinary spice, herbal medicine, and fabric dye. Turmeric is also used in religious ceremonies and offerings representing life, purity, and prosperity. It contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is mildly aromatic and has scents of orange or ginger. It has a pungent, bitter flavor.
Ayurveda have been using this spice to treat many health ailments for thousands of years. Turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties in Ayurveda including strengthening the overall energy of the body, relieving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, and relieving arthritis. Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. This spice is commonly associated with Indian and Asian cooking and is often seen in curry spice blends. Turmeric is an excellent source of iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper, and potassium.
Health benefits of Turmeric:
- Boosts Immunity: A good immune system is vital for proper functioning of the body. When the immune system becomes weak, it can cause symptoms like frequent sickness, allergies, fatigue, digestive issues, delayed growth and slow development. Turmeric has antioxidants that are important for your health as well as immune system. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help your immune system function properly.
- Fights Chronic Cough & Cold: Cough due to allergic reactions or by bacterial infection can result in numerous symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, sore throat and post nasal drip. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of turmeric make it a best remedy to treat cough and cold naturally. The anti-inflammatory property heals the soreness in the throat and the chest, which helps relieve the chest congestion in people suffering from chronic cough.
- Lowers Cholesterol: High Cholesterol leads to high blood pressure and cardiac problems such as heart attack. The curcumin found in turmeric helps in preventing cholesterol increase in the body and also helps reduce its levels. Turmeric encourages the liver to help get rid of more of the bad cholesterol in the body.
- Helps prevent Cancer: Studies have shown that curcumin helps prevent several forms of cancer including breast, lung, stomach, liver, and colon because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumors and contribute in the death of cancerous cells.
- Ease your Arthritis: Arthritis is the painful inflammation and stiffness of joints. The anti-inflammatory property of turmeric can help treat symptoms of arthritis and also in some cases it is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Antiseptic: Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. It has been used for centuries to heal the wound and reduce the inflammation. It kills off the microbes that cause the infection.
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Turmeric is also useful in stomach pain, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), fatigue, headaches, bronchitis, lung infections, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, depression, diabetes, worms, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems. Turmeric is also beneficial to skin problems like ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, infected wounds. Turmeric is often used in face packs to get an instant glow and minimize the appearance of dark spots.
You can add turmeric to your vegetables, curries, rice and even meats; make a tea or the very famous ‘Haldi Doodh’ – Turmeric Milk, and can also be taken as a supplement.
Note: Turmeric can have certain side effects on the body if taken in excess like nausea, diarrhea or dizziness. Always speak to your medical professional before adding it to your diet or as a supplement.