Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season. In Vietnam, turmeric is called “nghệ”, “củ nghệ”.
When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell
Turmeric is a perennial grown throughout the tropical parts of Asia. It favours a warm and humid climate. Haridra- literally means ‘yellow’ and its strong yellow colour signifies its use as a liver herb that is good at drying damp and moving stagnation in the blood.
Digestion For all intestinal infections and mucus conditions. Turmeric helps to promote ‘sweet’ intestines by reducing pathogenic bacteria and destroying ama.
It has recently been proven to have an affinity for the large intestine and to play a preventative role in bowel cancer. Other clinical trials have proven its efficacy at treating dyspepsia and stomach ulcers. Its bitter and pungent flavours act on the agni of rasa dhatu and enhance its ability to nourish the plasma and blood.
Traditionally used in diabetes to clear ama, kapha and excess fat tissue (Paranjpe 2001, Bone 2003). Liver A stimulant effect to the liver and ran˜jaka pitta increases the flow of blood through the hepatic system and increases bile output.
This helps to dissolve and prevent gallstones.
It is traditionally considered a blood ‘purifier’ and is often used for beautifying the skin and clearing systemic toxaemia; eczema, urticaria, psoriasis and acne. As with many liver herbs it is also good for the eyes; a wash is used in conjunctivitis and styes. Gynaecology
Turmeric is used to clear kapha accumulations from the lower abdomen, uterus and apanaksetra. Fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and leucorrhoea are all treated by reducing congestion.
As a specific herb for rasa dhatu it also works on its secondary tissue stanyasrotas and is used to purify breast milk as well as to promote the flow of the menses. A poultice can be very effective in mastitis (Atreya 1998). Inflammation Curcumin reduces inflammation caused by arachidonic acid (cf usage for dysmenorrhoea).
It is used in dermatitis, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis, colitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis. Hence it is used in pitta–kapha conditions at low doses and mixed with other bitter herbs. It is also a renowned antibacterial. Joints It treats inflammation of the joints, alleviates pain and strengthens the joints and tendons.
Useful for treating gout, arthritis, broken bones and wounds. Heart Turmeric nourishes the heart by virtue of its raktavardhaka and blood building quality. By increasing blood flow and reducing total cholesterol turmeric helps the functions of the heart.
It has an antiplatelet activity and scrapes accumulations from the channels (lekhaniya) which helps to prevent coagulation and reduce kapha in the blood. Infections Turmeric is an excellent antibiotic useful in fevers, sore throat and septicaemia. External Excellent for reducing pain as a topical application in bruises, infections, sprains and pain.
Use it carefully as it stains the skin and anything it comes into contact with.
Curcumin keto form
Curcumin enol form
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.Here are 20 health benefits of turmeric:1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.