17 Incredible Health Benefits of Turmeric: The Golden Spice of Life
Medicinal Usage of Turmeric
Turmeric (scientific name: Curcuma long Linn. of family Zingiberaceae) is a vibrant yellow-orange color spice that is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-aging, therapeutic and cosmetic features. The yellow color of the spice is due to a bioactive polyphenolic molecule “curcumin”, which is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, neuroprotective, choleretic and anti-cancer in nature.
A 100 gm quantity of turmeric contains 9.68 gm proteins, 3.25 gm fat, 67.14 gm carbohydrate, and 22.7 gm fiber. Besides, it also contains various important minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper. In India, turmeric has approximately 30 varieties, including Amalapuram, Armour, Dindigam, Erode, and Krishna. Out of these varieties 'Erode' is the best, while the 'Krishna' variety is known to produce the highest yield of green turmeric.
Turmeric is a herbaceous perennial herb with a short stem and oblong leaves, which is very useful in treating various health problems in the human body, including arthritis, inflammation, acne, infections, the common cough and cold, headaches, food poisoning, digestive ailments, fever, poor blood circulation, and liver conditions.
The herb is also used to heal burns and wounds without the formation of pus or infection, as well as against colon, stomach, and skin cancers. Turmeric is anti-parasitic in nature; its fresh juice purifies the blood and is highly effective against many skin conditions.
1. For Healthy Heart
Turmeric keeps the cholesterol level low and inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) and prevents their deposition on the walls of blood vessels, thus safeguarding against heart attack or stroke.
2. Against Poisonous Insect Bites
If bitten by a poisonous insect, then applying fresh turmeric juice on the affected part provides relief. Expose the affected body part to smoke produced by adding turmeric with charcoal burnt. It provides relief from scorpion stings.
3. For Pain or Swelling in Eyes and Improved Eyesight
Boil turmeric powder with water. After the solution cools down, wash your eyes with it. Grind the fresh turmeric leaves and filter its juice. Apply 2 or 3 drops twice a day regularly on eyes. It helps improve eyesight.
4. For Ear Pain
Apply a pinch of turmeric powder decocted with alum 1:20. It is highly effective to treat even chronic ear pain or discharge.
5. For Body Pain/Headache
Adding 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk helps in relieving from pain/headache.
6. For Cough and Cold
Prepare a mixture of turmeric with organic ghee and apply a pinch of it to the mucous lining of the nose. It is effective in nosebleeds and sinuses. Regular intake of a mixture of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1 glass of boiled milk and a pinch of black pepper is very effective in cough and cold.
7. For Anemia
Regular intake of one tablespoon of turmeric juice with honey is used for treatment in anemia.
8. For Dental Problems/Pyorrhea
A paste of turmeric with rock salt and mustard oil is used to treat dental problems, including pyorrhea.
9. As Insect Repellent
Turmeric powder is also used as an insect repellent in the kitchen.
10. For Treating Skin Conditions/Glowing Skin
A paste of turmeric with neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves cures skin conditions, including ringworm, itching, smallpox, chickenpox, skin blemishes, and eczema. In sunburn, use turmeric powder with almond powder and curd on the affected body part. In the winter, mix turmeric powder with unpasteurized milk and apply the paste on the skin. It will impart a glow to the skin.
My cousin regularly applies on her face and skin. On the day before her marriage, she applied a paste of turmeric mixed with gram flour, unpasteurized milk, fresh lemon juice, and rosewater on her face. She washed her face after 20 or 30 minutes and I found her to be more beautiful and fresh than ever. The turmeric paste had left a natural and radiant glow on her face. turmeric paste
11. For Mouth Sores
Apply a paste of turmeric with warm water on the affected area or gargle with lukewarm water mixed with turmeric powder.
12. For Cracks on Heel
Apply the paste of mustard oil with turmeric powder on cracks after washing the feet. It will smoothen the cracks after a few days.
13. For Sprain or Fracture
Apply turmeric paste on the affected part and regularly drink a glass of boiled milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder.
14. For Stomach and Intestinal Disorders
Turmeric is also consumed to cure the entire gastrointestinal system. It is used for treatment against weak stomachs, poor digestion, flatulence, regulating metabolism, to help stomach digest protein and improve its ability to withstand digestive acids and soothe an upset digestive system by relieving from gas and distention. Take half to one teaspoon of turmeric with a cup of yogurt after lunch is beneficial for an upset stomach.
15. For Piles
A paste of mustard oil, turmeric, and onion juice is effective against piles. In the case of rectal bleeding, two to three tablespoons of turmeric taken after every half an hour help in stopping the bleeding, generally in an hour.
16. For Treatment Against Cancer
A few studies found curcumin to be a promising bioactive agent for inhibiting the growth of cultured human prostate, pancreas ad colon cancer cells. Recently, a medical institute in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology – backed by the Indian Council for Medical Research, has earned the US patent for the treatment of cancer by using curcumin.
17. For Psychological Disorders
The bioactive agent ‘Curcumin’ in turmeric reduces oxidative damage and is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory herb that plays an important role to treat various psychological disorders. In India, there are lesser cases of Alzheimer’s Disease or other neurodegenerative diseases of aging, such as Parkinson's disease, as turmeric is used as a common spice in food for daily consumption. Research published in AYU – An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda – reported turmeric to be an effective and safe herb for the treatment of patients with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.
Religious and Aesthetic Significance in India
In India, turmeric is considered very auspicious and sacred with its natural healing properties. It has been used in religious ceremonies, including prayers and weddings, as well as for aesthetic purposes since ancient times. In ancient India, it was also called the golden spice of life for its bright yellow color and was also used as a coloring agent in clothes for purity. In wedding ceremonies, a paste of turmeric with sandalwood powder and milk is applied on the face, neck, hands, and legs of both the brides and grooms for its holiness and aesthetics. It is considered auspicious and protects against evil eyes.
Importance of Turmeric in Ancient Vedic Culture
Also known as Haridra (dear to Lord Vishnu) in Sanskrit, turmeric is known to have high therapeutic value in Indian Vedic culture for thousands of years. In Shushruta Samhita, the herb is mentioned to regulate all three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha* – of the human body.
According to Ayurveda, turmeric has very high anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties and is also known as the “spice of life” and “golden spice”. It is known to cleanse the body’s energy channels and activate the body chakras (energy centers in the body). In ancient Vedic culture, it was considered as the “herb of the Sun” with great healing power and improves the circulation of prana vayu (life energy).
It was called with various names, including Mangal Prada/Bhadra (auspicious), Krimighni (killing worms), Mahaghni (antidiabetic), Varna-datri (enhancing body complexion), Hemaragi (of golden color), Hridayavilasini (delighting to heart), Yoshitpriya (the women’s favorite), Kushtagna (leprosy treating), Tvakdoshahara (cure skin disease) and Varvarnini (superior complexion).
Turmeric paste was found to be effective against shingles, ulcers, conjunctivitis, and malaria. It was also a common practice to apply the turmeric paste on the cut placenta after the birth of a child for healthy recovery. The ancient sages were well aware of the miraculous effects of turmeric to the human body and incorporated it into our daily diet with a core focus on the welfare of humanity.
*To know more about the three doshas, please see my article:
Have you ever used turmeric in some or other form in your diet?
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Mahesh Chandra Gaur