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Turmeric

Introduction:  Turmeric or Curcuma longa, a ginger family of Zingiberaceae is used widely in cooking in many Indian and Southeast Asian regions.  They are perennial plant of rhizomatous nature requires a temperature of 20 to 30 degree Centrigrade to grow.  They are mainly used by boiling the rhizomes in the water for 30 to 45 minute and dried in hot ovens and then it is ground into powder of orange-yellow color which can then be used as coloring and flavoring agents.  The taste has a bitter, pepper  flovored, mustard aroma.  Mainly in India, the root are widely used in many therapy related to Ayurvedic medicine. The root contains a bitter volatile oil, brown coloring matter, gum, starch, calcium chloride, woody fiber and a yellowish coloring material that is known as cucurmin which has many medicinal effects.

Medicinal Uses:   The turmeric is described as the herb having the ability to protect the liver against toxic substances such as heavy metals, lead, prevent the formation of gallstones or decrease the size of stones already formed and to increase the flow of bile.  They are also used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Apart from the above mentioned, they taken as blood purifier, effective in common cold, leprosy, dropsy, inflammation and wound healing. They seem to have highly aromatic and antiseptic property per Indian medicine. It is used in swelling, insect stings, wounds, whooping cough, inflammation, internal injuries, pimples, skin tonic, and also in liver ailments and jaundice.

                                                                                        

Pharmacology:  Curcumin (1,7-bis (hydroxyl-3-methoxyphenyl) -1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione), is the most important active polyphenolic ingredient responsible for the biological activity of turmeric.  The aromatic ring systems, which are polyphenols, are connected by two α, β-unsaturated carbonyl groups. The two carbonyl groups form a diketone. The diketones form stable enols or are easily deprotonated and form enolates, while the α,β-unsaturated carbonyl is a good Michael acceptor and undergoes nucleophilic addition.  Curcumin has the ability to suppress the acute and chronic inflammation. It reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels and by possibly increasing the production of natural cortisone by adrenal glands.

 

Home Remedies:

Medicinal Tincture and Lotions:  The root is boiled in the water for 30 to 45 minute and dried in hot ovens and then it is ground into powder.  They are usually dissolved in boiling alcohol and filtered to make a medicinal tincture. Turmeric is dissolved in water for use as an eyewash, and in milk to make a soothing skin lotion.

                                                                                        

Turmeric Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 spoon of dried turmeric powder
  • A small piece of ginger sliced or crushed
  • 1/2 spoon of cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 spoon of cloves ground
  • A pinch of black pepper ground
  • A small piece of lemon
  • 1 spoon of honey (for taste)
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Method:  Add the dried turmeric powder, sliced ginger, cardamom seeds, cloves, and black pepper to the water and boil it.  Now leave it for 5-10 minutes in medium flame and add milk and leave it for 2 minutes in medium flame.  Now filter it and add honey and few drops of lemon and stir well and serve it hot.

             

Uses:  Since turmeric contain Curcumin as its main ingredient, it is proven to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.  The other uses can be viewed above.                                                                    

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