Turmeric: The Golden Spice of Life for Better Health

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Indian cooking as the main ingredient in curry. Turmeric gives Indian dishes a deep golden color. It is also a key medicinal tool in ayurveda, the ancient medical tradition of India, to treat a multitude of conditions.

Turmeric is one of the safest, most ancient and easily accessible home remedies in the world. It has a broad number of uses, is easily stored, and is inexpensive. Adding turmeric to your spice rack effortlessly turns your kitchen into a natural resource for health and healing.

Recently, turmeric has gained the recognition of the scientific community for its potential for lowering cholesterol, reducing blood sugar in diabetics, relieving arthritis, supporting liver function, improving digestion, reducing menstrual cramps, reducing inflammation in the colon, wound healing, fighting cancer and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Its broad medicinal uses are due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant qualities.

Turmeric belongs to the ginger family. The roots of the plant are laid out in the sun to dry, then ground into a powder. The turmeric extract, curcumin, is mostly credited for turmeric’s healing abilities, but there are several other compounds in the plant that contribute to its health-promoting qualities. It is estimated that the average person in India consumes about 2 grams of turmeric a day, which provides around 100 mg of curcumin.

There are several ways to introduce turmeric into your daily routine. The easiest way is to cook with the powdered form of turmeric. This can be used as part of a curry powder mixture or it can be added directly into a meal.  As food is cooking, add a half or whole teaspoon of turmeric powder or use the following recipe for curry powder to achieve the full classic flavor of Indian food.

In a coffee grinder, grind the following ingredients together:

5 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 large bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 small (1.5 inch) cinnamon stick
5 cloves
2 tsp of turmeric powder

Turmeric is also available in pill form. It can be purchased as the isolated curcumin extract, but taking the whole herb provides the additional benefits of other natural healing compounds found in turmeric. Turmeric is a very safe supplement with no known serious adverse reactions. Typically 1 to 3 tablets a day is sufficient as a dietary supplement.

Topical uses of turmeric help with skin disorders and wound healing. To create a medicinal skin pack, mix turmeric powder, chickpea powder and almond oil so that it becomes a thick paste. This mixture can be used as a facemask to treat skin conditions or just to promote beautiful skin. It can also be placed over wounds, scars or burns to improve the healing process. To help with dental problems, mix turmeric with salt and mustard oil and run over the teeth and gums before brushing.