Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. The name derives from the Latin terra merita “meritorious earth” referring to the colour of ground turmeric which resembles a mineral pigment. In many languages turmeric is simply named as “yellow root”.Turmeric is a rhizome with bright yellow-orange colour inside and a little thick brown skin. It has a warm and bitter flavor with a mild fragrance.Turmeric is aromatic, stimulant and tonic popularly known as haldi in India, is native to Southern Asia and India. It it is commonly used in Indian cooking, best known for its use in many masala (curry). It is usually available in powder form but the root is also available from Asian and Indian grocery shops.
Uses of Turmeric
It was sometimes called “Indian saffron” because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used as a condiment, cosmetic, healing remedy and textile dye. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine.
Turmeric’s use in the kitchen
Turmeric is very strong spice,therefore a small quantity of it is generally sufficient. However, it can be used in many different ways.In Indian cooking, in most of Indian recipes turmeric is used.It is sprinkled lightly while cooking on most of the vegetable like potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, brinjals , peas, pumpkin and onions etc.It makes all recipe with lentils delicious.It can be used as salad dressings by adding a pinch of turmeric powder to them.It is used to flavour and colour butter, cheese, margarine, mustard, liquor, fruit drinks, cakes, jellies, and fruit dishes.Turmeric is a classic addition to chutneys,and pickles. It is blended with melted butter and drizzle over cooked vegetables, pasta, or potatoes. To make yellow rice add a pinch of turmeric to the water as the rice cooks.
It is used in various rituals in Hindu homes, and as a dye for holy robes as it is natural and available in abundance.People use, a rich red powder used in temples around the world, called Kunkum, is made from turmeric and lime. It is used by men and women, after puja, as small a dot of kunkum worn on the forehead between the eyebrows, or in the middle of the forehead.
It is used in almost every curry dish to add color and flavor.An important spice in most of the Indian households the turmeric or haldi is one ingredient in the kitchen that holds a remedy for almost all illness. It corrects disordered process of nutrition and restores the normal function of the system. It is a carminative, antiseptic, a great anti-flatulent , blood purifier and expectorant.According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric is packed with nutrients like proteins, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. All these essential components put together make turmeric a great antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti fungal, anti carcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory agent.
Turmeric / Haldi
Turmeric/ haldi must be included into dibetics diet. The curcumin present in turmeric has a very potent effect in moderating insulin levels and enhancing the efficacy of anti diabetic drugs. Being an antioxidant, it fights off the ill effects of free radicals and reduces insulin resistance. A study performed by Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center , found that curcumin prevents protein glycosylation (where the protein molecule is altered) and lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids), two process that occur commonly in the body when a person has high blood sugar. By controlling these two factors, turmeric increases the person’s sensitivity to insulin lowering his/her total blood sugar.
According to a paper published in the Annals of the Indian Academy of Neurology  (that compiled all the notable studies done with regards to turmeric’s action against Alzheimer’s), it states that turmeric or haldi is capable of preventing and healing Alzheimer’s disease. It states that diferuloylmethan (the main component in turmeric) is the component that reduces inflammation, stops excessive amyloid plaque formation around neurons and prevents their degradation, eventually preventing and reducing the severity of the disease.
Haldi is known to have chemo-protective properties and can protect you from a number of cancers like colon cancer, cancer of the prostate, T-cell leukaemia, radiation induced tumours and breast cancers. A study published in the Journal of Cancer Research found that the compounds present in turmeric were capable of preventing the progression of both invasive and non invasive colon cancers by destroying cancer cells. It also found that the anti oxidative properties of haldi protects the body from damage due to oxidative stress and radiation, thereby reducing your chances or suffering from tumours caused due to radiation.
Turmeric has anti inflammatory and anti oxidative properties therefore it is a perfect home remedy for arthritis. A number of studies performed previously have also established that haldi has amazing immune-protective benefits. Because of its combined actions on the body, haldi has been used as an effective agent in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Studies conducted by Arizona Center for Phytomedicine Research and at the Institute of Chemical Biology,, found that the compounds present in turmeric were responsible for reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis and RA. The study also found that continuous consumption of the root helps to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the conditions.
Prevents liver disease
Turmeric is great for the liver. It protects it from the damage caused by eating foods that contain high amounts of fat and excessive alcohol consumption. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition , found that the anti oxidative, anti carcinogenic and hypocholesterolemic action (an action that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood) of turmeric – mitigated by the content of curcuminoids in it – helps lower the potentially damaging effects of excessive cholesterol on the liver. Since turmeric alters the way body metabolizes fatty acids, this action helps in keeping the liver healthy, and is vital to protecting the liver from diseases such as non alcoholic fatty liver disease and damage caused due to excessive accumulation of fats in and around the liver. In another study published in the American Journal of Physiology, it was found that the root had the potential to prevent alcohol-induced liver disease. The study found that the compounds in turmeric helped in blocking a particular gene that was linked to inflammation and necrosis of the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. Haldi was found to protects the liver from both biochemical and pathological damage caused due an unhealthy lifestyle.
Having turmeric on a daily basis can keep your cholesterol levels in check. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry  found that regularly consuming haldi changed the way the body processed cholesterol. This change lowers the total LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and increased the amount of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol in the body.
Relieves gas, diarrhea and morning sickness
The juice or dry powder of its rhizome, mixed in buttermilk or plain water is beneficial in intestinal problems, especially chronic diarrhea. It also helps prevent flatulence. Fresh juice from the rhizomes, a paste prepared from it, or a decoction made from the plant has been found beneficial in the treatment of vomiting during pregnancy and afflictions of the liver. Turmeric has been found to inhibit bacterial growth and works as a powerful cleaning agent within the digestive system.’
Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:
- Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
- Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
- Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
- If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
- Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.