Turmeric is considered as a healthy spice that is routinely used in cooking, especially in Pakistani and Indian foods.
It scientifically belongs to ginger family. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa and Curcuma domestica. It comes from the root component of the plant and widely grown in Pakistan and Indian sub-continent.
Once the turmeric crop is ready, it is taken out from the soil, cleaned and thoroughly dried before grounding to make powder. The powder form is used in cooking and can be preserved for long period at room temperature. It has a very characteristic bright red-orange color.
In sub- continent, there are variety of turmeric crops grown. In Pakistan, Qasur Turmeric type is commonly used and quite renowned.
Turmeric is used from ancient times in foods for its taste and color. At the same, it has also been used for its medicinal properties.
It is naturally gifted with medicinally beneficial chemicals that contain many antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-infective effects. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and Vitamin D.
The main constituent of turmeric is called Curcumin
Many research studies have been conducted to assess the health benefits of turmeric, but it should be noted that the majority of those scientific research studies were carried out on the extracted curcumin constituent of turmeric and not the use of whole turmeric.
Therefore, the scientific opinion about the health benefits of turmeric is mixed
Historically it is used to treat respiratory conditions, pains and general weakness.
Pain and Inflammation
Turmeric is widely used to treat arthritis pain and to reduce inflammation. Herbal practitioners routinely suggest use of turmeric to lessen joint pains.
Turmeric is considered as best home remedy for reducing inflammation caused by internal injuries.
Inflammation is a normal body response, but too much inflammation is not good for health. The unwanted inflammation is found associated in causing many systemic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is believed that routine use of turmeric can reduce the unwanted inflammation that may prevent heart disease & stroke, arthritis, diabetes and digestive conditions.
Use of turmeric is found beneficial in patients of heart disease and stroke. Reportedly, it improves blood flow and stabilizes blood pressure. In one study, it was reported that turmeric stimulates regeneration of brain cells and thus improves old age dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, neurological conditions especially helpful in preventing stroke or patients who had stroke earlier.
Turmeric is also found useful in regulating blood sugar levels and thus preventing or controlling diabetes.
Some studies support regular use of turmeric in preventing many types of cancers. It is also found to be useful in inactivating some types of cancer cells. However, scientific data is not conclusive.
Turmeric improves digestive health. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it controls the gastric acid reflux disease and helps in healing of gastric ulcers.
Turmeric is found to have strong anti-infective effect, which includes anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity. It is routinely used to treat skin infections and other skin conditions in India.
As a home remedy, it is also suggested to be used to treat seasonal cold and cough.
Turmeric is also considered as blood cleansing agent.
How to use
It is routinely used as a spice in cooking curries and other recipes.
As a home remedy, turmeric is commonly used by mixing a small quantity in water or milk for treating internal injuries/ inflammation. It is important to use it for a couple of weeks to assess the health benefits.
Possible side effects
Turmeric is generally safe to use as a spice. It is safe to use food items in moderation.
For diabetes patients, doctors advise to consume turmeric with caution. Because turmeric can increase the effects of diabetes medications and in some patients may cause the sugar level to drop suddenly.
Avoid use with other foods
It is generally safe to use with other foods.