Haldi, Halada (Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Guajarati, Marathi)
Botanical name Curcuma longa
Family Zingiberaceae, the ginger family
The exact origin of turmeric is not known but it originates from South or South East Asia, most probably from Western India.
Turmeric has been grown in India since ancient times and is being used since 2500 years. It reached China by 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD and West Africa by 1200 AD. It was introduced to Jamaica in the 18th Century. Now the turmeric is cultivated throughout the tropics.
Turmeric as Saffron
In the 13th century, Marco Polo, wrote about his travels in China, described turmeric:
“There is also a vegetable which has all the properties of the true saffron, as well as the colour, and yet it is not really saffron.“
Medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron.
Turmeric as medicine
Turmeric has been used as medicine in South East Asian region of the planet. Turmeric rhizomes are used to treat wide range of medical conditions. To reduce inflammation hot water extracts of the dried turmeric rhizome be taken orally in Ayurvedic
medicine. Turmeric is used to lessen the ageing processes. In Greek medicine, turmeric has been used for liver obstruction and jaundice and can be applied externally for ulcers and inflammation. Roasted turmeric used as an ingredient of a preparation used for intestinal disease. A hot water extract of the dried rhizome has been taken orally to slow lactation, to regulate fat metabolism, for diabetes, diarrhoea, liver diseases and has been taken as a tonic and to calm the stomach. The fresh juice taken regularly on an empty stomach has been used to prevent stomach disorders.
- Turmeric is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is a source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium and Manganese and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, turmeric has the ability to reduce blood clotting it prevents strokes and heart attacks.
- For faster wound healing spread some turmeric over scrapes or cuts after washing them carefully. Turmeric will help prevent bacterial infections from occurring in the affected area.
- A little bit of turmeric powder added into the hot milk cure internal injuries.
- Turmeric is also used to improve digestion, as it can trigger additional bile production, thus aiding fat metabolism. Turmeric has been revealed to neutralize protozoan’s, due to which fact the plant is conventionally applied for dysentery.
- Cur cumin is a highly beneficial component when it comes to liver protection from chemical medicines. It is conventionally applied for liver conditions. Due to regular alcohol abuse or Tylenol application (painkilling remedy), liver tissue may be destroyed. Turmeric helps make chances of liver damage lower.
- Due to its capacity to reduce inflammations, turmeric can relieve arthritis and decreases inflammatory processes.
- According to recent research, turmeric may help cure cancer. It is thought to reduce the activity of tumour cells called lymphoma. A test conducted on animals also shows that turmeric prevents tumour appearance in animals.
- Externally the dried rhizome has been applied to fresh wounds and to insect stings and to help the healing process in chickenpox and smallpox and to act as a tonic, and to alleviate itching. Inhalation of turmeric smoke is reputed to relieve hiccups.
Turmeric has been used from ages and has no side effects. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classifies turmeric as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). According to FDA listings; turmeric should be avoided during pregnancy, or in case of hepatitis and jaundice. Abnormally high turmeric doses may cause stomach cramps.
Turmeric in food
It is used to give colour, taste and aroma to food. It is an important ingredient of curry powders. It is also used in stews and curries and in rice to give colour.
- Improve skin tone: Turmeric gives glowing effect; use of turmeric reduces hair growth and blackheads. Turmeric is an effective tonic and a blood purifier. It decreases the formation of wrinkles and restores youth.
- Treating pigmentation: Mix turmeric with lemon juice and apply it on your face regularly. Regular application will reduce the pigmentation efficiently. Cucumber can be used as a substitute of lemon.
- Reduces acne: Turmeric mix with sandalwood powder and a little water applied to face reduce the acne. It’s herbal and much cheaper than the creams available in the market.
- Sunscreen: This spice has been used as an ingredient in sunscreens.
- As cleanser: Mix turmeric powder with milk and apply it on face it’s a good cleanser.
- Removing freckles: You can also make a paste of ground turmeric with milk of banyan or pipal and soak it overnight and then apply it for one hour before bath. This will help in removing freckles and also give glow to the face.
- Night cream: Prepare a paste made from turmeric and milk or yogurt and apply it to your face. Allow the mask to dry and leave it on overnight. For a less messy night time you can add a pinch of turmeric to your favourite moisturizer or treatment product. Wash off the mask in the morning with a gentle cleanser.
- Treatment for cracked heels: If you are suffering from cracked heels, mix three spoons of turmeric with a few drops of coconut oil. Applying this will give relief to your heels. Alternately, you can apply a mixture of turmeric and castor oil, apply it on your heels ten minutes before taking bath and do it regularly till your heels are in good condition. Turmeric acts as a healing agent.
- To get rid of dead cells: Mix some gram flour with turmeric and make a paste by adding water. Apply it on your body and scrub gently while you take bath. Do this regularly to get rid of dead cells and gain a spotless and glowing skin.
Having problem with gums?
Apply a mixture of turmeric, rock salt and mustard oil to the affected area around two to three times a day and wash your mouth with Luke warm water. Turmeric has been used in tooth pastes and tooth powders as well.
Use in cosmetic industry
Turmeric is popularly used in cosmetic industry for preparing herbal products. It is also used as a fabric dye, a usually soluble substance for staining or colouring in fabrics as well as for preparing natural hair dye.
Use in chemistry laboratory
An unusual use for turmeric is in the chemistry laboratory. Turmeric is used in the laboratory alongside litmus papers. Turmeric goes brown in the presence of alkaline (basic) substances, such as baking powder. Strips of paper soaked in turmeric can therefore be used as an indicator.