Turmeric – From Tradition To Research


                Turmeric has always been integral part of Indian kitchen with varied uses – as a condiment to medicine . In this article , the journey of Turmeric from ancient times to present has been tried to explore .

Description :

                        Family : Zingiberacaeae

                         Botanical Name : Curcuma longa

                         English Name : Turmeric

                         Hindi Name : Haldi

                         Synonyms  : Haridra ( Symbolizing special bond with Hari / Lord Vishnu or one  which improves skin complexion)

                                               Kanchani ( Which gives colour of gold )

                                               Nisha ( Related to night )

                                               Krimighna ( Which kills germs )

                                               Yoshita priya ( Liked by women )

The Plant :

                      It is an annual herb . Orange to yellow coloured rhizomes grow underground . Leaves are    30 – 40 cm in length and smell like ginger . Petiole is long and broad like leaves and it smells like mango . The stalk of the flower is 12 – 16 cm long and yellow flower grows at its tip . Fruit is oval with deep yellow pulp.

raw turmeric

TRADITION :

            Rituals :

  • The yellow of turmeric is a virile colour , colour of sun spreading across the sky and reaching out to the earth . When sprinkled over deity , the idea is to evoke the deity’s grace and power. Turmeric is antiseptic – destroyer of germs as Gods destroy demons .
  • Yellow is the colour of Solar Plexus Chakra  – which is the energy centre relating to the metabolic and digestive system .
  • As a ritual in Indian weddings , brides and grooms are anointed with turmeric paste . Turmeric is sprinkled on invitation cards  also .
  • Turmeric improves fertility and is considered as a symbol of purity and prosperity.

              Culinary Uses :

  • Fresh leaves are used in cooking .

  • Leaf is added in Ghee ( clarified butter ) for aroma .

  • Raw turmeric is used as pickle .

  • As a condiment ( in powdered form ) in most of the Indian food .

 AYURVEDA :

                    Properties of Turmeric :

                                            Taste  :  Bitter , Acrid

                                             Properties  :  Dry  , Light

                                             Potency  :  Hot

                                             Post Digestive Property  :  Acrid

                      It balances Vata , Pitta , Kapha  and is mainly used in vitiated condition of Kapha and Pitta .

                      It is used as thermogenic , antiseptic , anti inflammatory , appetizer , carminative , anthelmintic , anti allergic , expectorant , haematinic , styptic , febrifuge , tonic , vulnerary  , alterative.

                       It is used in ulcers , skin disorders , hepatomegaly , spleenomegaly , hyperlipidemia , malignancy , diabetes , arthritis ,      jaundice , bronchitis and general debility .

Post natal period  : Haridra khand pak has purifying effect on uterus and breast milk .

Diabetes  :  10 – 15 ml juice of turmeric and gooseberry ( Amla ) in equal quantity should be taken daily as a prophylactic measure . If juice is not available , powder of  both herbs should be taken in equal quantity . This is called ‘ Nisha – amalaki Yog’.

Bronchial Asthma / Cough : It acts as an expectorant .

  • It is roasted and given with honey or warm water .

  • Inhalation of turmeric smoke reduces cough .

  • Put it in saline water for 21 days and then parched on fire ,should be kept in mouth. It checks hiccough , cough , asthma , disorders of kapha .

Anaemia  :  It should be mixed with Triphla ( three myrobalans ) , honey , ghee       ( clarified butter )  for  internal  use .

Colic : Turmeric 10 gm with equal quantity of yavani ( Trachyspermum amami ) and salt 2.5 gm is powdered and cooked in ghee 40 gm . It should be taken warm in severe colic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 Paronychia : Fresh rhizome ground with milk and castor oil is applied externally.

Bone fracture / Sprain / Wound :

                                        External : It is applied locally with lime stone .

                                         Internal : Powder mixed with Murraya paniculata is given. It can be given with Candy Sugar ( Mishri ).

Disorders due to change of place : Turmeric pounded with sour gruel should be taken .

As a Cosmetic : It’s paste is applied  on face in combination with either cucumber / honey / milk /  curd /aloe or rosewater . It enhances complexion and texture of skin. Paste made with turmeric powder and gram flour can be used as a body scrub .

Teeth : Brushing teeth with turmeric powder and mustard oil or salt or alum , clears tartar and teeth  become white .

Dose :  Juice  – 5 – 10 ml ; Powder – 1 – 3 gm

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RESEARCHES :

             Active Principles : Present studies have shown that Curcumin , Curcuminoids and essential oil are the main active constituents of turmeric. Curcumin imparts yellow  colour and is responsible for its biological activity.

Anti – Oxidant Property  : Anti – Oxidants can act at different levels .These are broadly classified  into  5  Levels – Level – 1 , Level -2 , Level – 3 ,        Level – 4 , Level – 5.

                Level – 1 : Prevention of radical formation , mainly by enhancing the levels of SOD and catalase  or by sequestering transient metals like iron.

                Level -2  :  Scavenging of primary radical ( OH , O₂ ,ⁱO₂ ) or breaking chain initiation .

                Level – 3  :  Scavenging of secondary radical ( ROO ,LOO ) or breaking the chain of propagation (conventionally studied as inhibitory lipid peroxidation ).

                Level -4 : Repair and reconstruction of lipid membrane aided by glutathione peroxidase or by increase in level of glutathione  .

               Level – 5 : Repair of DNA and other  cellular constituents .

            Turmeric works at Level – 2 , Level – 3  and Level – 4 .

Anti inflammatory Property :  Curcumin shows an anti inflammatory effect in acute , subacute  and chronic models of inflammation in mice and rats . It also exerts a significant response in a controlled trial in Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis .

Hepatoprotective : Turmeric and Curcumin have been shown to protect liver against a variety of toxins  in-vivo and in-vitro . Turmeric in diet has been found to stimulate enzymes –  aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase , glucuronyl transferase , glutathione S transferase  which metabolise xenobiotics.

Respiratory System : It is useful in Bronchial Asthma . Its anti  allergic effects are also proven.

Immunostimulant  Activity  : Stimulates reticulo endothelial system , acts as immune stimulant .

For complete article click :

 http://www.positivehealth.com/article/ayurveda/turmeric-from-tradition-to-research

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