Turmeric (Curcumin, Curcuma longa)
Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of alternative therapies including ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Unani and the animistic rituals of Austronesian peoples. It was first used as a dye, and then later for its supposed properties in folk medicine.
Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to 1 m (3 ft) tall. Highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes are found with leaves arranged alternately in two rows. They are divided into leaf sheath, petiole, and leaf blade. From the leaf sheaths, a false stem is formed. The petiole is 50 to 115 cm (20–45 in) long. The simple leaf blades are usually 76 to 115 cm (30–45 in) long and rarely up to 230 cm (91 in). They have a width of 38 to 45 cm (15 to 18 in) and are oblong to elliptical, narrowing at the tip.The plant reaches barely three feet in height and produces both a flower and a rhizome, or stem that is found underground. Though it can now be found throughout the tropics, India has been the largest producer and user of turmeric since ancient times.
Turmeric, a plant related to ginger, is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Central America. Historically, turmeric has been used in ayurvedic medicine, primarily in South Asia, for many conditions, including breathing problems, rheumatism, serious pain, and fatigue.
Today, turmeric is used as a dietary supplement to fight inflammation, arthritis, gastric and hepatic problems, gall bladder problems, cancer and other conditions. Turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder. Its primary active ingredients, curcuminoids are yellow and used to color foods and cosmetics. Turmeric’s underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and made into capsules, tablets, teas, or extracts. Turmeric powder is also made into a paste for skin conditions and toning as well as aesthetic applications.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon of turmeric powder contains: 29 calories, 0.91 grams (g) of protein, 0.31 g of fat, 6.31 g of carbohydrates, 2.1 g of fiber, 0.3 g of sugar, 26% of daily manganese needs, 16% of daily iron, 5% of daily potassium and 3% of daily vitamin C.
As per many clinical studies of turmeric, it benefits for many condition such as, anti-inflammatory aid, pain relief agent, improving liver function especially in Diabetes. Curcumin has shown some promise as a cancer treatment and scientific studies suggest it may have protective effects against pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma. Turmeric aids the body in destroying mutated cancer cells before they have a chance to spread to other areas and also helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. This ancient spice, celebrated for centuries as both food and medicine, has resurfaced within the health and nutrition communities due to the healing properties of Curcumin, which supplies its vibrant color. Curcumin has significant anti-inflammatory properties that are said to rival those found in over-the-counter pain-killers (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin. Unlike OTC drugs, turmeric has no toxic effects on the body and Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant advantages have been shown to protect healthy cells, particularly those found in the colon, from cancer-causing agents.
All that, and it’s tasty too!
Fresh Turmeric Roots