by Ujjwala Baxi
First use of Turmeric was back nearly 4000 years ago to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and also had religious significance. It is found throughout the tropics. India has been the largest producer of turmeric since ancient times.
Turmeric is obtained from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L.(Family: Zingiberaceae)
BEST SEASON TO GROW
The best season to plant turmeric is spring or summer. But if you are living in the tropics, it can be planted throughout the year.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF TURMERIC ROOT
Turmeric has a high nutritional value. Many researches have proven that most of these activities, associated with turmeric are due to its curcumin component. Medicinal properties of Turmeric include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-coagulant, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-ulcer, wound healing and anti-fertility activities.
1. Digestive system It is beneficial for loss of appetite and satiety. Turmeric treats intestinal diseases, bowel issues, and colon cancer. It helps in relieving gas, dispelling worms, and improving digestion. It is also a prebiotic that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut. It also reduces the symptoms of ulcerative colitis
2. Respiratory system Turmeric is a treatment for various respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial Hyperactivity, and allergy).
3. Liver and Gallbladder Turmeric stimulates bile production in the liver and encourages excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats. It’s medicinal properties help in dissolving gallstones.
4. Brain Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. This may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related diseases in brain function. It may also improve memory.
5. Heart Turmeric improves the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels. Endothelium regulates blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the main reasons for heart disease. Turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidation, which plays a role in heart disease. Turmeric helps in lowering LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol and can help reduce your risk of developing some serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke.
6. Joints Arthritis is a common disorder characterised by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and in some cases is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
7. Cancer Curcumin has been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumours) and metastasis (spread of cancer).
8. Skin Turmeric is used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. It also purifies blood and is a remedy for various skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, etc.
9. Diabetes Intake of turmeric extract may reduce the cell-damaging effects of chronic hyperglycaemia in diabetes patients.
10.Infections controller As a herbal medicine, turmeric is used to treat conjunctivitis, chicken pox, urinary tract infections and liver ailments.
Turmeric milk have been consumed since ages by Indians to induce good sound sleep, or to fight cough and cold as a remedy.
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup Milk – cow, almond, coconut, rice all work
- Jaggery to taste
- Vanilla extract optional
- Add spices to a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Heat 250 milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture and continue heating milk, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
- Pour turmeric milk through a strainer into a cup or mug.
- Add honey and vanilla extract (if using) to taste.
- Store remaining spice mixture in an airtight container away from heat and light.
The spice mixture makes enough for three servings using one 250ml cup of milk each time.
Ujjwala Baxi is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator. She is founder of Poshan – Cure thru Diet: a Singapore licensed company. In the last 14 years she has been passionately guiding on preventive and curative diabetes management, gut health through her publications, talks and consultations. You can find her on Twitter @ujjwalabaxi