Traditional benefits of turmeric, used for centuries in Aruvedic medicine, include its ability to assist with digestion by encouraging the release of enzymes that break down fats and carbohydrates, to remove intestinal parasites and improve inflammation.
It is also currently being investigated, with encouraging results, for its potential to prevent or treat cancer and alzheimers disease. See link at the end of this page *
It seems that the more that I research the benefits of turmeric and other spices the more I discover the many properties for good health and well-being that they have in common.
Turmeric is helpful in relieving pain caused by arthritis and is thought to prevent colon and prostate cancer if used regularly in conjunction with vegetables from the cruciferae family (cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower).
Curcumin, the major component of turmeric, seems to be another one of the ‘anti-everything-bad’ substances (anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic), which may help to lower cholesterol, treat wounds, even malaria and HIV AIDS.
Although some studies, which are ongoing, have no scientifically proven findings yet there is such a strong anecdotal body of ‘evidence’ to support their hypotheses that indisputable conclusions are probably not far away.
The perennial turmeric plant or curcuma domestica is a member of the ginger family (zingiberaceae) and is native to the Wet Tropics of Asia.
Growing vigorously from bright orange, knobbly rhizomes, its shoots produce a thick stem and brilliant green leaves which grow up to about a metre high, followed by beautiful white flowers.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric spice is used in most Indian dishes, imparting a beautiful golden colour to foods such as curries and sweets. To absorb the beneficial curcurmin from this spice, it should be cooked, using oils or fats. It can also be more readily absorbed when served with black pepper - or even fermented for added nutritional benefits.
It can also be used as a fabric dye (a word of warning if you are grating turmeric for curries etc ; unless you wear gloves you will end up with bright yellow hands!). I also use it to enhance the flavour of cakes and give them a happy yellow colour!
If you wish to grow your own turmeric plant in a pot it is very easy to do. Just purchase some fresh ‘fingers’ or rhizomes from your greengrocer and plant one or two, shallowly, in well drained soil. Position your pot in a sunny or partly shaded spot and water well.
Bearing in mind that the natural habitat of turmeric plants is in humid, tropical countries, the use of a steamy glass-house or well protected warm spot in your garden will probably give the best results.
Turmeric rhizomes are ready to be harvested when the leaves start to yellow and turn brown. Dig them up, use some and re-plant the rest!
Tropical Superfoods is pleased to grow or purchase fresh, local turmeric rhizomes to boil, dehydrate and grind into turmeric powder, cut into chips or grate, to assist in maintaining your good health, by demonstrating how this is done.
If you know of other benefits of turmeric perhaps you could share your experience?
* A recent article by Dr Joe Mercola concludes that turmeric is, indeed, helpful in treating some cancers. That sounds like a 'breakthrough' doesn't it?