A native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia especially Indonesia, turmeric is integral to Asian cooking. A member of the rhizome family, besides imparting a yellow colour and a characteristic flavour to food, it has a long history of use in India Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Botanically known as Curcuma longa, derived from the Arabic name for kurkum plant, known as saffron, turmeric is often confused and substituted with the same. Totally unrelated to saffron, a member of ginger family, the root of the turmeric plant in its dried form is used as spice. Mildly aromatic with a pungent bittersweet flavor, it was called “Indian saffron” as its shares the deep yellow orange color of the saffron. Turmeric is used as a condiment, textile and culinary dye.
Turmeric is used extensively in Indian, Middle East, Moroccan, African and Southeast Asian cookery, especially in curries, vegetables, rice, fish and meat dishes to add color and flavor. For the traditional ayurvedics, turmeric is a very important herb. Considered a cleansing herb for the whole body, it gives energy and grants prosperity. The finger like stalk is scalded, dried and used for medicinal preparations. An excellent natural antibiotic, it strengthens digestion, prevents the formation of gas and helps to improve large intestinal flora.
It purifies the blood, aids digestion of protein, promotes proper metabolism in the body, correcting both, excess and deficiencies. It is used in treatment for fever, mild stomach upset, infection, arthritis, dysentery, jaundice and other liver problems. Ancient Chinese physicians used turmeric to treat chest congestion, menstrual discomforts and many more ailments. Turmeric may help to relieve carpel tunnel syndrome, joint inflammation and prevent cancer. Add a pinch or two of turmeric to warm milk to soothe respiratory aliments such as cough or asthma.
Sprinkle a bit of turmeric with honey (optional), on cuts, bruises, or scrapes after a thorough wash, as the anti bacterial action will prevent wound infections. One should be careful while using turmeric since its deep color can easily stain. Quickly wash the soiled area with water to avoid further staining. Turmeric powder should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Fresh turmeric rhizome should be kept in the refrigerator.
Kevin Pederson has been managing a number of natural home remedies websites which have information on home based natural cures and remedies for cold and cough and benefits of turmeric and other natural herbs .