Curcuma Longa, a rhizome and member of the ginger family, grows wild in the forests of Southeast Asia. It has been used for culinary, medicinal and ceremonial preparations for many thousands of years. The scientific community have recently tapped into its medicinal potential, revealing to the world this Ancient Indian Ayurvedic superfood, healing root and natural anti-biotic.
Ayurveda, the holistic medical science originating in India, reveres Tumeric for its ability to calm the stomach, fight ear and sinus infections, anti-inflammatory effects for arthritis, to kill internal parasites, to regulate women’s cycles, for reproductive health and to purify the blood. When mixed with honey, it can be taken at the onset of any flu symptoms and even applied to skin irritations or wounds, it accelerates healing (especially in diabetic patients) and its anti-septic qualities avoid any infections.
Tumeric is also known as one of the most effective and useful ingredients in natural beauty recipes. It is used as the skin softener in Asia, a paste made from sandlewood powder, milk cream and Rosewater is applied all over the body. This is an important step in wedding ceremonies in India. Beforehand the bride and groom are treated with this by each others families to see if there were any blemishes, birth marks, or even any moles placed in unlucky positions of the body! It is also used in religious and spiritual ceremonies in temples and places of worship.
Its no co-incidence that Indian culinary traditions are full of herbs and spices, and dairy preparations like ghee. Many of these components that make up a ‘curry’ are actually medicinal and along with their predominantly vegetarian diet, results in India having the lowest colon cancer rates in the world.
Tumeric’s distinctly warm earthy and even tangy flavours add a very unique addition to cuisine of India, the Middle East, Jamaica, South America, Africa and South East Asia. Colouring everything it touches with that yellow/orange hue we know from Indian cooking. Where it is grown fresh, the leaves of the plant are also used to wrap foods for cooking giving the contents a distinctive subtle flavour, in the same way that banana leaves do. It not only adds colour, flavour and medicinal qualities to your foods, but is also used in the food industry as a natural preservative because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal activity.
Tumeric & Curcuminoids
Curcumin, a word you will definitely hear more about, is one of the active ingredients (curcuminoids) of turmeric. It is extracted and used in combination with other plant extracts in many natural medicines and supplements.
Curcuminoids are high in antioxidents, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, anti-arthritic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial, anti- thrombotic, anti-amyloid, anti-viral and anti-ischemic. They aid in the prevention of cataract development, septic shock, anti-asthmatic, anti-colitis, anti-fibrosis, are hepatoprotectective, and prevent and inhibit Skin UV damage. It has shown to help maintain healthy stomach, colon, prostate, oral cavity and liver. Curcumin inhibits tumor metastases, pancreatitis, drug or alcohol-induced liver fibrosis, cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease resulting in a reduction in stress, depression, and anxiety.
Recipe for Tumeric Tea, By: Kurma Das
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup
* Juice of 1/2 lemon
Bring water to a boil, then add powdered herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain tea into a mug, add maple syrup and lemon, stirring to combine. Drink warm. Makes 1 serving. That’s it!
Recipe for Indian Tumeric Pickle:
Kept in a sterilised sealed glass jar in the hot sun for 15 days before eating.
2 tbps Fresh Tumeric coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 Lime
3 Limes, cut into rough 1cm chunks
1 tbsp salt
1 – 2 tsp Tumeric powder
1 tbsp finely diced Green Chillies (depending on your heat preference)
Home remedy for a sore throat, may not be yummy..but its natural and has got to beat chemical syrups from the pharmacy.
Tumeric Milk Recipe:
1 big tsp Tumeric powder
1 big tsp grated fresh Ginger
Honey to taste
Boil together for 5 mins, add honey and sip.
Tumeric stains anything and everything, very well!! be aware what preparation tools you are using and keep it off stone, laminex and plastics. Better to use a glass chopping board, and stainless steel bowls and utensils. Wear gloves if you like the colour of your fingernails!
My personal uses: Add to soups, salads, curries, sauces, baking, seasonings, marinades, felafel, homous and dips, even mashed potato and rice, you really can add it to so many of your existing recipes for colour, flavour and of course, medicinal qualities.
So, with all that being said, it’s very simple to include Tumeric for flavour, colour and health in your diet, whether you can get it fresh, powdered or capsuled, an inexpensive and enjoyable prevention for colon cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and relief for inflammation in the body among so many other benefits.
One of natures gifts to us, if you haven’t seen it in your local stores, you will find links on our blog to a place you can purchase USDA certified organic Turmeric powder, its very good quality and you can be assured of its purity and strength.