Healing with Tumeric

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Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to one million tall. Highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical with aromatic rhizomes. 

The leaves are alternate and arranged in two rows. Many people can identify ginger but not very many are familiar with turmeric. 

In appearance, ginger and turmeric look alike. Turmeric is roundish and if chewed colours the tongue. The main constituent of turmeric is curcumin. 

Curcumin is a polyphenol that gives turmeric its colour. Curcumin is a polyphenol and is lipophilic in nature, hence insoluble in water and also in ether but soluble in ethanol, dimethyl sulfoxide, and other organic solvents.

 Turmeric is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fibre, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. 

Turmeric can help prevent prostate cancer, stop the growth of existing prostate cancer and even destroy cancer cells.

 Multiple researchers have found that the active components in turmeric makes it one of the best protectors against radiation- induced tumours. 

It also has a preventive effect against tumour cells such as T-cell leukaemia, colon carcinomas and breast carcinomas.

 The other constituents present are volatile oils including tumerone, atlantone, and zingiberone and sugars, proteins, and resins. 

Due to the presence of curcumin as an active constituent and the volatile oils, turmeric is widely used as a medicine for the treatment of many ailments. 

It is vastly used as an anti-inflammatory agent. And hence also shows antioxidant property which is even better than the vitamin E. The rhizome extract had been studied for its anticancer activity. 

The other activities shown are antimicrobial effect (against bacteria, fungi). Turmeric lowers the cholesterol level and inhibits platelet aggregation and hence shows cardiovascular effects. Turmeric has also proven to be effective for the brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.

 In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has been used to treat a variety of internal disorders, such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, or liver ailments, as well as topically to cleanse wounds or treat skin sores.

 It is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn colour, cereals, sauces, gelatines, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.

 Most turmeric is used in the form of rhizome powder. Turmeric leaves are mainly used as spices as they impart a distinctive flavour. Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. 

In India and Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its colour.

 In South Africa, turmeric is used to give boiled white rice a golden colour. In Vietnamese cuisine, turmeric powder is used to colour and enhance the flavours of certain dishes. 

For those looking for alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants and cholesterol drugs, turmeric will be useful. But ensure to discuss this with your health care professional.

 The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells.

 It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from pain. 

Those who suffer from lumbago and spondylosis will also find turmeric very helpful.

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