turmeric-and-powderTurmeric or Haldi

The plant

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.

Spiritual Significance

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

Controls diabetes 

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 [9], 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.

Prevents Alzheimer’s

According to a paper published in the Annals of the Indian Academy of Neurology [1] (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.

Prevents cancer

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[6] 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.

Relieves arthritis

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[7] and at the Institute of Chemical Biology,[8], 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 [2], 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[3], 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.

Lowers cholesterol

Having turmeric on a daily basis can keep your cholesterol levels in check.  A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry [9] 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.


Curry leaves

Curry patta      Image result for Curry leaves

Curry tree Plant

The curry tree is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries.

Scientific name: Murraya koenigii
Higher classification: Murraya
Rank: Species

Curry leaves are natural flavoring agents with a number of important health benefits, which makes your food both healthy and tasty along with pleasing aroma. They contain various antioxidant properties and have the ability to control diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, excessive acid secretion, peptic ulcers, dysentery, diabetes and an unhealthy cholesterol balance. They are also believed to have cancer fighting properties and are known to help protect the liver.

Scientific Information: The scientific name of the curry plant is Murraya Koenigii Spreng and it belongs to the Rutaceae family. The plant is native to India and is usually found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is cultivated in various other countries such as China, Australia, Nigeria and Ceylon. Height of the plant ranges from small to medium. The most useful parts of this plant are the leaves, root and the bark.

In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves are believed to have several medicinal properties such as anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and hepato-protective (capability to protect liver from damage) properties. The roots are used for treating body aches and the bark is used for snake bite relief.

The leaves, with their vast herbal properties, are used in various local cuisines across India and other parts of Asia as flavoring agents. Curry leaves resemble ‘neem’ or Indian lilac and their name in most Indian languages translates to ‘sweet neem’.

Nutritional Value of Curry Leaves

The main nutrients found in curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper and minerals.  It also contains various vitamins like  nicotinic acid and vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, antioxidants, plant sterols, amino acids, glycosides and flavonoids. Also, nearly zero fat (0.1 g per 100 g) is found in curry leaves.

Some of the other chemical constituents present in curry leaves include carbazole alkaloids. Research studies held by the Department of Home Economics at Kenmei Women’s Junior College in Hyogo, Japan showed that alkaloids found in curry leaves possess antioxidant properties. Carbazole alkaloids include mahanimbine, murrayanol, mahanineoenimbine, O-methylmurrayamine A, O-methylmahanine, isomahanine, bismahanine and bispyrayafoline. . Further studies conducted at the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University suggested that these chemicals had insecticidal and antimicrobial properties as well, specifically mosquitocidal properties.

Health Benefits of Curry Leaves

Most people think that curry leaves just add flavor to the food and they throw the leaves away while eating eating their soup or curry. However, curry leaves are far more important than many people realize, and they offer a number of health benefits without the side effects of other medicines.

Stops Diarrhea: Research studies conducted by Ashish Pagariya and  Maithili, V. concluded that the carbazole alkaloids present in curry leaves or Murraya Koenigii had anti-diarrheal properties. Experiments on lab rats showed that carbazole extracts from curry leaves had significantly controlled castor oil-induced diarrhea. A bunch of curry leaves can be ground up and the paste can be eaten or the juice of the leaves can be consumed.

Gastrointestinal Protection: Use of curry leaves is recommended as a cure for gastrointestinal issues in Ayurvedic methodology. One important is due to the fact that they are considered to possess mild laxative properties. Make juice out of a bunch of curry leaves and add lime juice. This mixture is to be consumed for indigestion or a paste made from the leaves can be added to buttermilk and taken every morning on an empty stomach.

Antioxidant Properties: Research studies conducted by Mylarappa B. Ningappa et al. at Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Molecular Parasitology and Protein Engineering Laboratory in Bengaluru, India have indicated that curry leaves or Murraya Koenigii is a good source of antioxidants.  The presence of various vitamins like vitamin A, B, C and E help in reducing oxidative stress and free radical scavenging activity. Curry leaves can be added to your curries, vegetable stews and soups. They are also available in dried powder form.

Anti-Diabetic Properties: Perhaps one of the biggest health benefits of curry leaves is its use in diabetes control. Research conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Madras, Chennai had shown that the anti-hyperglycemic properties of curry leaves were beneficial in controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.

Fights Cancer: The chemical constituents found in curry leaves such as phenols are helpful in fighting cancers such as leukemia, prostate cancer and colorectal cancers. Research on curry leaves at the Department of Medical Chemistry at Mejio University, Japan showed evidence of cancer fighting properties in the carbazole alkaloids extract from curry leaves.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels:  Curry leaves are also known to reduce bad LDL cholesterol level. Studies conducted at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Kerala, India have shown that curry leaves have the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

Good for Hair Growth: Curry leaves are believed to help in strengthening hair roots. Dry curry leaf powder mixed in oil can be applied to your hair with a quick massage. The paste from curry leaves can also be applied in cases of gray hair. Doing these on a regular basis can improve hair growth as well.

Eyesight: Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A and are therefore good for eyesight. Vitamin A contains carotenoids which protect the cornea, which is the eye surface. Deficiency of vitamin A may cause night blindness, cloud formations in front of the eye and even the loss of vision loss in some cases.

Radio-Protective and Chemo-Protective: Studies on the extracts of curry leaves have shown positive results in reducing the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, while also offering protection against chromosomal damage, protection of bone marrow and prevention of free radicals becoming active in the body.

Protects Against Pathogen Attack: Research on curry leaves has revealed that they are also effective in fighting bacterial and fungal infections. The leaf extracts from the plant have been comparable to popular, mainstream antibiotic drugs.

Protects the Liver:  Your liver plays a major role in the digestive system and it needs to be protected from any attack by free radicals, as well as viral and bacterial attacks that can result in infection. Research on curry leaves has indicated that the tannins and carbazole alkaloids present in curry leaves exhibited good hepato-protective properties. They are also helpful in protecting the liver from various diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Skin care: Curry leaves are also helpful in skin care. The juice or paste of the leaves can be applied on burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations and insect bites for quick recovery and clean healing.

Ref. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-curry-leaves.html

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.