Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the star ingredients of Ayurveda. It is called Haridra in Sanskrit and has been used for thousands of years. Turmeric is a long herbaceous plant with tapered green leaves, dull-yellow flowers, and yellowish-orange colored rhizomes. It grows in many regions of Asia, but it is mainly native to India and is a staple in a variety of cuisines.
The Golden Spice
Turmeric, the golden spice of Ayurveda, is a multi-faceted ingredient with extraordinary curative properties and health benefits. It helps detoxify, immune modulation (which reduces inflammation), metabolic correction, and wound healing for ailments ranging from skin lesions to liver function problems.
It comes as fresh rhizomes with an earthy flavor similar to mustard greens but with no bitterness. Usually found in curry powders used across Indian dishes, thankfully giving them their signature bright yellow color. However, the powdered spice has a robust mustard-like flavor and aroma that can be bitter, earthy, and pungent.
In the past decades, scientists have extensively researched turmeric to understand the benefits of curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric. The studies show that it improves the body’s antioxidant capacity and protects against cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of turmeric also helps improve brain function and reduces the risk of dementia and brain diseases. It can help patients with arthritis and other age-related chronic diseases.
Turmeric And Ayurveda
It is unique in Ayurveda because of its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating properties. Thus, the consumption of turmeric eliminates ama (toxins) and improves the flow of fluids and subtle energies. In addition, Ayurveda says it has an affinity for rakta and rasa – the blood and plasma. It also helps mobilize various elements in the body that are responsible for liver health and immunity.
Various uses of turmeric can balance all three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) in moderate quantities. In excess, it will aggravate Vata and pitta. Consume it with some form of fat and a pinch of black pepper to improve absorption and increase the bioavailability of its active ingredients.
Benefits Of Turmeric
Diabetes: Ayurveda refers to diabetes as prameha – and states that this golden spice is the best medicine to prevent it. In one of the principal texts, curcumin in turmeric is the ultimate curative and preventive agent for Diabetes mellitus. Scientific research also shows that turmeric or curcumin extract can benefit individuals with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus. There is also growing evidence that the uses of turmeric can stabilize blood sugar levels and make the disease more manageable.
For Skin: It is a popular custom in Indian wedding ceremonies to apply turmeric paste to the bride and bridegroom to bring a glow to their skin. It has anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties that make it an effective disinfectant. It can treat cuts, infections, and burns on the skin. In combination with other natural ingredients, it is a popular home-remedy treatment for pimples and acne.
For Immunity: It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It can vastly improve the body’s defense against infections and foreign invaders. The curcumin in turmeric enhances digestion efficiency and blood circulation in the body. It increases the production of vital enzymes that detox the liver and help the body eliminate toxins. For these reasons, it works as an immunity-boosting health tonic that promotes general good health.
Anti-inflammatory: It is one of the best spices to fight and prevent chronic inflammation. Sustained use of turmeric (topically and orally) can relieve muscle stiffness, joint pains, and knee problems. In addition, it also helps individuals with osteoarthritis and inflammation-based bowel diseases.
Ayurvedic Benefits Of Turmeric
- Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper to one cup of milk.
- Bring it to a boil and allow it to cool down.
- Add ghee for extra health benefits.
- Add other spices like ginger powder, cinnamon powder, or cardamom or to improve the taste.
Golden Honey: Add one teaspoon to a quarter cup of honey and mix it with turmeric powder and ginger powder. Consume one teaspoon daily to fight allergies, flu, or cough.
Topical Paste: Turmeric powder can be combined with other ingredients to make face packs or ointments to treat skin problems or improve skin health.
Turmeric Ginger Tea: Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, and fresh ginger – steep in water to create a healthy brew. Once the tea is warm, you can also add lemon to it.
Additional Benefits of Turmeric
Other health benefits:
- Reduces inflammation and maintains steady blood sugar levels
- Works as a heart-protective spice that decreases bad cholesterol
- It improves brain function and protects against Alzheimer’s
- Eases IBS symptoms and improves bile production
- Reduces menstruation pain and cramps
- Can reduce symptoms of psoriasis and eczem
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