COMMON MAN SAFFRON@TURMERIC

Yellow is an auspicious color and signifies festivities and celebrations and is associated with the guru and goddess of learning. The invitations for marriages etc is usually sprinkled with the yellow colour. Yellow color of Indian cuisine is very conspicuous and is due to turmeric and occasionally with saffron or Kum Kum.

WHAT IS TURMERIC

Turmeric is the root of a plant called Curcuma longa belonging to same family as that of ginger and cardamom (Zingiberaceae).  It is a beautiful tropical plant with yellow or yellowish-white flowers, luscious fruits, and very large lily like leaves.  Turmeric is the spice that’s widely used in Indian cuisine. It’s what gives Indian curry its vibrant yellow hue.  It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C, and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season. It can also be cultivated in a kitchen garden.

PROCESSING OF TURMERIC

Turmeric roots if dried as such are very hard and cannot be easily powdered  that is why these are first boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice ,for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Turmeric can be cultivated in many parts of India. Erode, a city in Tamil Nadu, is the world’s largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia  and Sangli, a town in Maharashtra, is the second largest and most important trading center for turmeric in Asia.

USES IN FOLK MEDICINE

The Friday oil bath routines with the application of Haldi is almost sacrosanct with the South Indian women, resulting in beautiful skin, and hairless bodies! In fact, in South India, it is considered very auspicious and therefore, is the first item on the grocery list. The turmeric plant is tied around the vessel used to make Sweet pongal on the harvest festival, which is celebrated on the Makarshankranti Day, universally celebrated on 14th of January, every year.

In many North Indian traditional wedding ceremonies, haldi is applied to both, the groom and the bride, not only to make them look good with fresh glowing skins, but to ward off the evil eye. It is considered by the Hindus as a symbol of prosperity and as a cleansing herb for the whole body. Pieces of crushed roots mixed with seawater are sprinkled to remove the negative influences from places, persons, and things during ceremonies.

As in India, it is used in China, Japan, and Korea for a range of indications including, Amenorrhea.

Used in cooking as a spice for over 2,500 years, turmeric has a bitter, musty flavor similar to mustard. It is this spice that gives Indian curries their characteristic bright yellow-orange color.

The healing properties of turmeric have made it a most sought after ingredient in cosmetics and drugs, as the leaf oil and extract can also be used as sunscreens and bio-pesticides.

In fact, Turmeric has been in the global limelight for the granting of the controversial patent on it!

Turmeric is also used in various rituals, such as the turmeric ceremony or gaye holud, part of the Bengali wedding. It is widely used in all parts of India during wedding ceremony, particularly in North India and the Deccan Plateau.

It is also used in Pujas to make a form of the elephant God Ganesha. It is made by mixing turmeric with water and forming it into a cone-like shape.

During the south Indian festival Pongal, a whole turmeric plant with the root is placed as part of the ceremonial decorations. Also, fresh root is some times tied around the pot boiling the ceremonial rice.

In southern India, as a part of the marriage ritual, a piece of dried turmeric tied with string is sometimes used to replace the Thali necklace temporarily or permanently.

In Goa and Karnataka turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering on the leaf — rice flour, and coconut-jaggery mixture, and then closing and steaming in a special copper steamer (goa).

Friedrich Ratzel in “The History of Mankind” reported in 1896 that in Micronesia the preparation of turmeric powder for embellishment of body, clothing and utensils had a highly ceremonial character. He quotes an example of the roots being ground by four to six women in special public buildings and then allowed to stand in water. The following morning three young coconuts and three old soma nuts are offered by a priestess with prayer, after which the dye which has settled down in the water is collected, baked into cakes in coconut moulds, wrapped in banana leaves, and hung up in the huts till required for use

It is an important herb used in  rituals and ceremonies  in India. It is also a ingredient in cosmetics as it is beneficial for the skin. Burning turmeric can repel insects. Inhaling the smoke can assist in coughs, asthma and congested nasal passages.

It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. Pakistanis also use it as an anti-inflammatory agent, and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders. In Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, turmeric is applied to a piece of burnt cloth, and placed over a wound to cleanse and stimulate recovery.

Modern Neopagans list it with the quality of fire, and it is used for power and purification rites

Turmeric is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use Turmeric, for the coloring of rice bottoms as well as a starter ingredient for almost all Iranian fry ups (which typically consist of oil, onions and turmeric followed by any other ingredients that are to be included). In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and is extensively used in almost every vegetable and meat dish in the country for its color as well as for its medicinal value. In South Africa turmeric is traditionally used to give boiled white rice a golden color.

In the middle Ages, turmeric was called “Indian saffron” and was used as a substitute for saffron, a much rarer spice. If you want to color food yellow, choose turmeric over saffron—it is far less expensive.

For countless centuries, turmeric has been used not only as a spice but as a healing aid in traditional Asian medicine. For example, historically it has been consumed to help gastrointestinal problems, arthritic pain, and a lack of energy. And in recent years, scientists have documented that tumeric and the natural compound it contains called curcumin may protect and heal due to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.

The roots are pounded and pressed to extract a juice that, when mixed with water, is helpful in earaches and to clear the sinuses through nasal application. The astringent qualities of turmeric are also useful in cases of consumption, tuberculosis, bronchitis, colds and asthma, the root being lightly cooked and eaten. At times, turmeric has been taken as a diuretic, and topically it can be helpful with pimples or to stop bleeding.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES AND USES

Turmeric is a thermogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anthelmintic, appetite inducing, diuretic, laxative, expectorant and carminative herb. Turmeric is a good source of Vitamin C and potassium. It also contains a chemical called Curcumin which has good antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In clinical studies, turmeric has established its anit-cancer and anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory behavior. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. It is well recognized as the best anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, colorant, antiseptic and wound healer. Turmeric is used for epilepsy and bleeding disorders, skin diseases, to purify the body-mind, and to help the lungs expel Kapha

The main organs that turmeric treats are the skin, heart, liver and lungs. And it

Detoxifies the liver

Balances cholesterol levels

Fights allergies

Stimulates digestion

Boosts immunity

Enhances the complexion

Therapeutic uses of Turmeric: Anemia, cancer, diabetes, digestion, food poisoning, gallstones, indigestion, IBS, parasites, poor circulation, staph infections, and wounds.

Turmeric helps to regulate the female reproductive system and purifies the uterus and breast milk, and in men it purifies and builds semen, which is counterintuitive for a pungent bitter.

Turmeric reduces fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems in general.

Turmeric is used to treat external ulcers that respond to nothing else. Turmeric decreases Kapha and so is used to remove mucus in the throat, watery discharges like leucorrhea, and any pus in the eyes, ears, or in wounds, etc.

TURMERIC HOME REMEDIES

Diabetes: One tea spoon( tsp) of turmeric is added to some gooseberry(amla) juice and this mixture is consumed every day. This is very effective in normalizing the blood glucose levels and reducing insulin resistance

Losing Weight: Turmeric stimulates the production of bile in the liver and the excretion of bile thus increasing the flow of bile in the system and aiding in the breakdown of dietary fat.

Natural Cure for Joint Pain: Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property is beneficial against rheumatoid arthritis.

Due to its powerful antioxidant effect curcumin  is able to neutralize free radicals that cause havoc on the joints. Regular usage of turmeric can shorten the duration of morning stiffness, longer walking time and reduced joint swelling. Turmeric is also effective with Osteoarthritis in its ability to reduce pain and disability.

Natural Acne Cure: Due to its anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties oral as well as topical use of turmeric is very use full in acne.

Mix a pinch of turmeric with coconut oil or milk and apply on the acne and black heads. Turmeric not only works on drying out the acne, but also erases any marks left behind. That is why it is used as a ubtan

Natural Remedy for Cold: Due to its anti-inflammatory property  turmeric alleviates inflammation and congestion from lethargic mucous membranes. Add turmeric powder with some pepper and jaggery to a glass of hot milk and take it thrice a day it will relieve congestion and cure colds. In cases of dry cough, add some ghee to the mixture.

Curcumin Improves Memory: Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric slows the progression of Alzhimer’s disease in mice .Studies show that in elderly Indian populations that routinely use turmeric as a spice, incidences of neuro-degenarative diseases are low.

Natural Therapy For Wounds: This is a very popular Indian remedy. You can arrest bleeding in fresh wounds by plugging the site with some turmeric powder.

Natural Treatment For Fungal Infection/Scabies: A paste of turmeric is applied especially in infections affecting the crevices of the fingers and toes. The known antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties of turmeric make it the first and best choice in such conditions.

Natural Cure For Worm Infections/Scabies: Turmeric is a powerful anti-bacterial agent. You can get rid of intestinal worms by consuming a ground paste of Turmeric and curry leaves.

Anemia – Consumption of 1 tea spoon( tsp )of turmeric juice mixed with honey is good in anemia.

Asthma—Boil 1 cup of milk with 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Drink warm.

Burns—Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tsp of aloe gel and apply to burnt area.

Conjunctivitis— Mix 1 tsp of crushed, raw turmeric in 1/3 cup of water. Boil and sieve. 2–3 drops of this mixture may be used in each eye up to 3 times per day.

Complexion— Apply a paste of turmeric on the skin before bed, and wash off after a few minutes. In the morning, remove any remaining yellow tinge with a paste of chickpea flour (besan) and oil.

Dental problems—Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with ½ tsp of salt. Add mustard oil to make a paste. Rub the teeth and gums with this paste twice daily.

Diabetes— ½–1 tsp of turmeric should be taken 3 times a day.

Diarrhea— Take ½ tsp of turmeric powder or juice in water, 3 times per day.

Pain —Mix 1 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of ginger with water to make a paste. Spread over a cloth, place on the affected area and bandage.

Add 1 tsp of turmeric to 1 cup of warm milk and drink before bed.

Osteoarthritis -Turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis because of its ability to reduce pain and disability.

Ears, Eyes, Nose and Mouth

Mix a pinch of Turmeric with pure ghee and apply it to the mucus lining of nose to stop the sniffles. It also stops nosebleeds, helps to clear the sinuses, restore a more acute sense of smell, and helps to purify the mind and brain.

Turmeric helps to maintain the shape and integrity of our eyes.

A Turmeric/water decoction, 1:20, is used to treat conjunctivitis and eye disease in general. Soak a cloth in the decoction and then cover the eye with it. This helps to relieve the pain as well.

To increase the bio-availability of food and the ability of the stomach to withstand digestive acids.

Turmeric is able to calm an upset digestive system by getting rid of gas and distention. Carminatives also tend to increase absorption and nurture the intestinal flora.

Turmeric is used to protect food products from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for oil-containing products..

Menstrual problems – women who experience monthly menstrual cramps, may try using turmeric extract or bitters twice daily for two weeks prior to expected menstruation. Turmeric is an antispasmodic to smooth muscles so it reduces digestive and menstrual cramping. It should reduce the severity of pain, if not ease them completely.

Turmeric is useful as an external antibiotic in preventing bacterial infection in wounds.

Bodies responding to seasonal changes with the flu, coughs, and running noses, are immediately administered with honey mixed with turmeric, or turmeric mixed in milk by the homemaker, to soothe and to cure.

Turmeric is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis,

Athlete’s foot ,  apply a paste made from turmeric—or, in some cases, ginger, a close relative of turmeric that may be even more effective. Both ginger and turmeric pastes appear to destroy the guilty fungus. Otherwise dilute one part of turmeric oil to two parts of water and apply it directly to the affected area, using a cotton ball or clean cloth.

Poultice. An excellent way to relieve the pain of bunions is to apply a teaspoon of fresh, grated turmeric to the bunion twice a day. The poultice acts directly on nerve endings at the site of trouble. It reduces the amount of substance P, a pain-transmitting chemical, that’s produced by the nerves. Turmeric, ginger, and hot peppers all seem to have an effect on this substance.

One secret of turmeric’s medicinal power is the many antioxidants it contains such as vitamins C and E, along with several carotenoids. It also contains lesser-known, but more effective antioxidants—specifically, curcumin and related compounds called curcuminoids.

Other Health Disorders  – Turmeric decreases congestion and inflammation from stagnant mucous membranes. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory to the mucous membranes, which coat the throat, lungs, stomach and intestines. Regular use of turmeric can benefit from Colitis, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, and post-giardia or post salmonella conditions. The itching and inflammation that accompanies hemorrhoids and anal fissures can reduce by use of turmeric. Turmeric can also benefit skin conditions including: eczema, psoriasis and acne, for those it is potent detoxifier.

Turmeric is also recommended for bunions, those painfully inflamed deformities that occur on the side of the foot or big toe. Its anti-inflammatory action helps reduce the swelling that makes bunions so painful.

Although most usage of turmeric is in the form of root powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra), leaves of turmeric are used to wrap and cook food. This usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. This imparts a distinct flavor.

Turmeric is also used fresh, much like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as fresh turmeric pickle which contains large chunks of soft turmeric.

USEFUL COMBINATIONS

Black pepper. One of the chemicals in ordinary black pepper, piperine, seems to improve the bioavailability of turmeric. In fact, researchers at St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India, found that combining turmeric with black pepper may significantly increase the body’s ability to use it.

Take half a teaspoon of the mixture three times a day.

For external use, this mixture works great as a poultice on sore joints—if you don’t mind that your skin will turn a little yellow. To make the poultice, mix a little of the blend with warm castor oil and soak a cloth in it. Wrap the cloth around the sore joint, then wrap that with plastic wrap. Leave the poultice in place for about 40 minutes.

COSMETICS

Turmeric extract has reported use in the following product types: facial moisturizer/treatment ; hair color and bleaching ; anti-aging ; body wash/cleanser ; moisturizer ; sunscreen: moisturizer ; facial cleanser ; around-eye cream ; exfoliant/scrub ; acne treatment

Turmeric is currently used in the formulation of some sunscreens.Turmeric paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair. DYE

Turmeric makes a poor fabric dye as it is not very lightfast (the degree to which a dye resists fading due to light exposure). However, turmeric is commonly used in Indian clothing, such as saris.

GARDENING

Turmeric can also be used to deter ants. The exact reasons why turmeric repels ants is unknown, but anecdotal evidence suggests it works.

PRELIMINARY MEDICAL RESEARCH

A small but informative clinical trial by Johns Hopkins investigators shows that a pill combining chemicals found in turmeric, a spice used in curries, and onions reduces both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract.

Scientists find turmeric and black pepper spices may prevent breast cancer

Curcumin and Vitamin D3 may Dissolve Plaques of Alzheimer’s Disease

Turmeric Found to Be Beneficial for Lung, Liver and Colon Health

Curcumin Reduces Heart Enlargement and May Prevent Heart Failure

Eating curcumin, a natural ingredient in the spice turmeric, may dramatically reduce the chance of developing heart failure, researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre of the Toronto General Hospital have discovered.

It may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, according to a study by University of Arizona researchers

Turmeric has been investigated for its cholagogous influence on the secretion of bile, pancreatic, and gastric juices. It is currently being evaluated for its anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties.

Turmeric may be helpful in preventing the blockage of arteries that can gradually cause a heart attack or stroke in one of two ways. Turmeric makes cholesterol levels low and inhibited the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol). Oxidized LDL deposits in the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Turmeric may also prevent platelet build up along the walls of an injured blood vessel. Platelets collecting at the site of a damaged blood vessel cause blood clots to form and blockage of the artery as well.

DR. DUKE’S RECIPES

Universal Curry Spice

Here’s a spice blend that works for any curry: Mix 1½ tablespoons minced garlic, 1½ tablespoons minced ginger, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon crushed dried chilies, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon coriander, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Add a dash of pepper, which may help to synergize the activities of turmeric. This medicinal mix can be melded into sautes, soups, stews, or anything else where you really want to get turmeric’s tasty punch. Curcumin curry, I call it. I recommend taking 1,200 milligrams daily, divided into three doses.

Dried root. The recommend dose is 1.5 to 3 grams a day.

CAUTION: CONTRAINDICATIONS, INTERACTIONS, AND SIDE EFFECTS

Because it stimulates the uterus, it is not recommended for pregnant women. It is also not advised for those with gall bladder disease or gallstones.

There are some suggestions in medical literature that people with gastrointestinal problems such as gallstones, stomach ulcers, hyperacidity, or bile duct obstructions shouldn’t eat large amounts of turmeric. The German E Commission has advised against turmeric only for those people with biliary obstruction.

Apart from this, there’s some evidence that having too much turmeric may cause stomach irritation in people who are sensitive to it. The irritation may be merely annoying, or it could lead to ulcers in supersensitive people.

Eating very large amounts of turmeric could potentially damage white and red blood cells. As a practical matter, however, there is little likelihood that anyone would ever ingest enough to make this happen.

CONCLUSIONS

Looking into the colour and taste, and so many uses of turmeric it is justified to call it common man’s saffron. Turmeric gives the energy of the Divine Mother and grants prosperity of health. Turmeric is effective  for.

References

Melanie Grimes, NaturalNews.com, August 20 2010

www.melaniegrimes.com

Curcumin in tumeric spice fights liver damage and cirrhosis

by S. L. Baker,  NaturalNews.com  , September 28 2010

Hypoglycemic effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa L. rhizomes) on genetically diabetic KK-Ay mice.

5/22/2008 – (NaturalNews)

Curcumin and turmeric delay streptozotocin-induced diabetic cataract in rats.

Suryanarayana P, Saraswat M, Mrudula T, Krishna TP, Krishnaswamy K, Reddy GB.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jun;46(6):2092-9.

Effect of tetrahydrocurcumin on insulin receptor status in type 2 diabetic rats: studies on insulin binding to erythrocytes.

Murugan P, Pari L, Rao CA.

J Biosci. 2008 Mar;33(1):63-72.

Curcumin attenuates the effects of insulin on stimulating hepatic stellate cell activation by interrupting insulin signaling and attenuating oxidative stress.

Lin J, Zheng S, Chen A.

Lab Invest. 2009 Dec;89(12):1397-409. Epub 2009 Oct 19.

Curcumin and diabetes free articles Results: 12


Dr. Gian Singh

Short URL: http://theasiantimes.com/?p=575

Posted by on Dec 10 2010. Filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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