Botanically known as curcuma longa, turmeric is a native of southern or southeastern Asia. Turmeric has been mentioned in early Sanskrit writings. Turmeric is a perennial plant, 60 to 90 cm. In height. It has a short stem and tufted leaves. The rhizomes are short and thick and they constitute the turmeric of commerce. It is largely consumed as a spice for daily use. In India, it is used in the same way as saffron.
Botanically known as curcuma longa, turmeric is a native of southern or southeastern Asia. Turmeric has been mentioned in early Sanskrit writings.
The Ayurvedic practitioners in India from time immemorial have used it. It was prescribed by them as a drug to strengthen the stomach and promote its action and also as a tonic and a blood purifier.
An analysis of turmeric shows that it consists of moisture 13.1%, protein 6.3%,fat 5.1%, minerals 3.5%, fibre 2.6% and carbohydrates 69.4% its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium 150 mg%, phosphorus 282 mg%, carotene 30 mg%, thiamine 0.03 mg% and niacin 2.3 mg% its calorific value is 349. Turmeric contains curcumin and an essential oil.
Dry rhizomes yield 5.8% essential oil, while the fresh ones yield 0.24% oil, containing zingiberine. A ketone and alcohol is obtained on volatile distillation.
Turmeric has many medicinal virtues. The rhizome is a valuable household remedy. It is aromatic, stimulant and tonic. It is useful in relieving flatulence. It corrects the disordered processes of nutrition and restores the normal function of the system.
Turmeric is a very useful intestinal antiseptic. The rhizome, its juice of dry powder, mixed in buttermilk or plain water, is beneficial in intestinal problems especially chronic diarrhoea.
It also helps to prevent flatulence. The fresh juice from the plant has also been found beneficial in the treatment of vomiting of pregnancy and affections or the liver.
Turmeric is considered an effective remedy for expelling worms. About 20 drops of the juice of raw rhizomes, mixed with a pinch of salt, should be taken first thing in the morning daily in such cases.
Turmeric, as a rich source of iron, is valuable in anaemia. A teasthingy of the juice from raw turmeric, mixed with honey, should be taken everyday in the treatment of this condition.
Turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of measles. Raw roots of the plant should be dried in the sun and ground to a fine powder.This powder, mixed with a few drops of honey and the juice of few bitter gourd leaves, should be given to the patient suffering from measles.
Turmeric is an effective household remedy for bronchial asthma, which is a chronic form of bronchitis. The patient should be given a teasthingy of turmeric powder with a glass of milk, two or three times daily. It acts best when taken on an empty stomach.
Cold and cough
Turmeric, with its antiseptic properties, is effective remedy for chronic cough and throat irritations.
Half a teasthingy of fresh turmeric powder, mixed in 30 ml of warm milk, is a useful prescription for treating these conditions. In case of a running cold, smoke from the burning turmeric should be inhaled. It will increase the discharge from the nose and will bring quick relief.
Turmeric powder in combination with caraway seeds or oregano (ajwain), is useful in colds for infants and children.
A teasthingy of this powder and a quarter teasthingy of oregano (ajwain) should be added to boiling water and the water should then be allowed to cool.
About 30 ml of this decoction, sweetened with honey, should be given thrice a day in treating such conditions.
External skin disorders
The fresh juice from the rhizomes is believed to have antiparasitic properties in many skin affections. It is especially valuable in ringworm and scabies. In such cases, the juice should be externally applied to the affected parts. Simultaneously, this juice, mixed with honey, should be taken orally.
This juice as well as a paste prepared from the rhizomes and a decoction made from the plant are also considered useful as a local application as well as internally in the treatment of leprosy and snakebites. A paste made from the powdered rhizomes along with caustic lime forms a soothing application for inflamed joints.
Turmeric is very valuable in sprains and swellings resulting from sprains. A paste made from rhizomes, mixed with lime and salt, should be applied to the sprained area.
An application of turmeric powder to boils will speed up the healing process. In case of fresh boils, a few roots of the plant should be roasted and ashes dissolved in a cup of water. The application of this solution will enable the boils to ripen and burst.
Turmeric powder is useful in soreness of eyes. About six grams of this powder should be boiled in about half a litre of water till about half the quantity of water is left.
A few drops of this water should be put in the affected eyes three or four times a day. It is a common practice in India to soak a piece of cloth in turmeric solution for wiping away discharges of acute conjunctivitis and opthalmia.
A teasthingy of turmeric paste mixed with milk cream, sandalwood paste and Bengal gram flour (besan) makes an excellent cosmetic. Applied once daily. It will keep the face fresh and soft.
A pinch of turmeric powder mixed in the fresh leaf juice of amaranth (chauli-ka-saag) serves as a valuable beauty-aid. Applied over the face, it bleaches the skin, prevents it from dryness and wrinkles, cures pimples and makes one look fresh.
This juice, mixed with milk and limejuice, acts as an effective skin tonic to increase and retain its beauty. It should be delicately massaged over the face and neck for half an hour and washed with lukewarm water every night before going to bed.
A pinch of turmeric powder, mixed in a teasthingy of coriander (dhania/kothmir) juice is an effective remedy for pimples, blackheads and dry skin. The mixture should be applied to the face, after thoroughly washing it, every night before retiring.
Turmeric is an indispensable ingredient of the curry powder, which is a blend of many spices and common salt. It gives musky flavour and yellow colour to curries. Curry powder usually contains about 24% of this powder.
Turmeric, both rhizomes and powder, is an auspicious article in all religious ceremonies in Hindu households; It is also an important dye in southern Asia. Turmeric powder and water are used as cosmetics in India and elsewhere in south Eastern Asia.
The information provided here is offered as a service and is not meant to replace any medical treatment. Use this information at your own risk. We caution users not to seek the therapies described here without consulting a registered medical practitioner.