Turmeric is a spice India uses. It is very rare not to have it in a household. It is a very cheap spice and very popular to cook with. It is a powder ground from the root of a large-leafed Asian plant (Curcuma longa L). Its taste is pungent, bitter, and not sweet like the ginger spice which is in the same “family.” Turmeric grows wild in the Himalayas and is grown across South Asia. Curcumin is found in turmeric, as also found in mustard. The yellow color in mustard comes from curcumin. Curcumin has been used medicinally to cleanse the body, heal wounds and to suppress inflammation. Researchers believe the curcumin can fight disease partly by shutting down a potent protein that promotes an unusual inflammatory reaction in the body’ This spice also has potent antioxidant properties and may even be capable of lowering cholesterol. Curcumin is also used in India as a food preservative and for a coloring agent for food and textiles.
Turmeric healing properties have been known for a long time now especially to the Chinese and Indians. In India for at least 6000 years, turmeric has been used as medicine, beauty aid, cooking, spice, and a dye. For the Chinese, turmeric has been used for the treatment of spleen, stomach, and liver ailments for over a 1000 years. The Chinese have used it to stimulate, and purify. It has been used as an antibiotic, anti-viral, and an analgesic. Turmeric, also known as Indian Saffron, is a root of the ginger family and is grown predominantly in South Asia.
Turmeric is 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 sandalwood powder, milk cream and Rosewater is applied all over the body. 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 does not only add colour, flavour and medicinal qualities to foods, but is also used in the food industry as a natural preservative because of its antibacterial and antifungal activity. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, the active ingredient which has been attributed to prevent and destroy cancer cells. Curcumin is the yellow stuff that is a bit sticky when the turmeric is scrapped.
Curcumin 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 antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, anti-arthritic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial, anti- thrombotic, anti-amyloid, antiviral and anti-ischemic. They aid in the prevention of cataract development, septic shock, antiasthmatic, anti-colitis, anti-fibrosis, are hepatoprotective, 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.
Turmeric is commercially made available in powdered form. It is produced by boiling the root and then it is oven dried. The dried turmeric is then pounded into bright orange-yellow powder form. This is sold as a spice and food additive. One can use the raw root, or purchase the powdered form from the grocery if not being used for cooking.
Turmeric has also been shown to help psoriasis as well. Research has proven that turmeric is effective against the inflammatory reaction triggered by the bacteria, Heliobacter pylori. Many studies and articles have been written on not just the cancer prevention properties, but also the cancer-killing properties of curcumin.
- Curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and also reduce the growth of surviving cells.
- Curcumin also has been found to reduce development of several forms of cancer in laboratory animals, and to shrink animal tumors.
- When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
- Curcumin has been shown to prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
- It has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors. This supports the theory of anti-angiogenesis. The idea of anti-angiogenesis is the starvation of nutrients to cancer cells that will lead to cancer cell apoptosy.
- Turmeric is a natural herb, and as it is known to efficaciously treat and prevent cancer, there is no reason not to try and use it on a regular basis.
Recipe for Turmeric Tea:
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- juice of ½ lemon
Boil water, 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.
Recipe for Indian Turmeric Pickle:
Kept in a sterilised sealed glass jar in the hot sun for 15 days before eating.
- 2 tbsp Fresh Turmeric coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 3 Limes, cut into rough 1 cm chinks
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1- 2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp finely diced Green chillies (depending on heat preference)
Home remedy for a sore throat, may not be yummy, but it’s natural and has got to beat chemical syrups from the pharmacy.
Tumeric Milk Recipe:
- 500ml Milk
- 1 big tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 big tsp grated fresh Ginger
- Honey to taste
Boil together for 5 mins, add honey and sip.
Turmeric stains things very well. Stay aware of the preparation tools being used and keep it off stone, laminex and plastics. Better to use a glass chopping board, and stainless steel bowls and utensils.
Practical Uses for Turmeric
1. Turmeric Tea aka Golden Milk
The name is slightly misleading, but this “tea” is a blend of some kind of milk (including almond milk or coconut milk), spices and optional sweetener.
2. Turmeric Broth
If the Golden Milk drink above is not preferable or if one prefers a more savory warm drink, turmeric broth is a great alternative. Instead of a milk or milk alternative, the base of this drink is broth.
Turmeric Broth Recipe takes preparation in 5 minutes, cooks in 5 minutes, and yields 4 cups. A simple and delicious turmeric broth adds antioxidants and amazing flavor.
Ingredients are 4 cups of broth, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder or freshly grated turmeric, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger (optional), 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon each of cumin, black pepper and salt.
- First, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Then, simmer the mixture for about five minutes.
- Finally, blend with an immersion blender (optional) and enjoy.
3. Soothing Face Mask
This versatile spice can also be used on skin. One of my favorite ways to use it is in a face mask. Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to any face mask recipe as preferred. Mix 2 tablespoons of unsweetened yogurt with ½ teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of honey for a soothing and cooling face mask. Leave it on for about 5 minutes and wash off. Use an old towel just in case.
4. Curry Powder
This vibrant and earthy spice already has a reputation as a staple in many cuisines. One of my favorite ways to incorporate small amounts of this power spice is by making a homemade curry powder. This uses a host of powerful spices and provides awesome flavor to many dishes.
5. Sunrise Smoothie
Not all smoothies have to taste like a piña colada. It has a hint of sweet nestled among earthy spices.
How to prepare: Blend 1 cup of pecan/almond/coconut milk wilh ½ cup frozen pineapple, the juice of one lemon and one orange, ½ teaspoon turmeric, a tiny pinch of black pepper, and about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root. Add a natural sweetener like stevia if desired.
6. Potent Poultice
Trying this spice externally in poultices to smooth skin and reduce inflammation. It is often used in lotions or preparations for skin with eczema or psoriasis for this reason.
7. Acne Gel
Just like in the face mask above, the anti-inflammatory properties of this unique spice makes it beneficial to help cool and stop acne. One can make a paste of honey and turmeric (2 parts honey to 1 part turmeric) and dab on to spot treat.
8. Brighten Teeth
It has been used to whiten the teeth which was part of the least expected function of turmeric.
9. Stop the Itch
A thin paste of aloe vera gel and turmeric can help calm itchy or burned skin.
10. As a Plain ol’ Spice
As part of creative ways to use it, this simple spice is great when added alone to many dishes such as eggs, roasted veggies, meats, and soups for a wonderful flavor.
11. Spice up soap
Add turmeric for color and for skin benefits when making soap. This spice makes a beautiful colored soap that can be especially helpful for soothing irritated skin.
12. Golden Honey
Add 3 tablespoons of powdered turmeric to an 8 ounce mason jar of honey (about 1 cup of honey). By definition, this is actually an electuary. It helps the throats feel better. This can be made ahead of time and stored for a very long time since both ingredients are shelf stable.