TURMERIC AND ITS USES

September 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Tips for Ayurveda



Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that is indigenious to and widely practiced in India.The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term meaning “science of life”. AYU means “life” and VEDA is “book of knowledge”. Ayurveda was first recorded in the Vedas, the world’s oldest existing literature. This healing system has been practiced in daily life in India for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is the science of life which balance us in being healthy.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia . Although turmeric has long been appreciated for its culinary and medicinal value in India, it is only recently that western scientists have recognized this ancient spice for more than just its organoleptic qualities.

In India turmeric is very auspicious and considered to give the energy of the divine mother and grants prosperity. Since ages turmeric was valued for its medicinal properties and extensively used due to its availability. It is popularly used as a dye.

The benefits of turmeric:

  • Turmeric is an excellent natural antibiotic while at the same time it strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora.
  • It is a good anti-bacterial for those chronically weak or ill.
  • It not only purifies the blood, but also warms it and stimulates formation of new blood tissue.
  • It is effective for cleansing the chakras (nadi-shodhana), purifying the channels of the subtle body.
  • It helps stretch the ligaments and is, therefore, good for the practice of yoga.
  • Turmeric promotes proper metabolism in the body, correcting both excesses and deficiencies. It aids in the digestion of protein.
  • Externally, it can be used with honey for sprains, strains, bruise or itch. It is tonic to the skin, for which purpose it can be taken internally as a milk decoction.
  • Turmeric is aromatic and a stimulant and has many helpful functions. It is bitter, slightly pungent and a good blood purifier, and works as a tonic to aid digestion and relieve congestion.
  • It has a soothing action on respiratory ailments such as cough and asthma.
  • It also is anti-arthritic and acts as a natural anti-bacterial.
  • Turmeric may be added to high-protein food to assist digestion and prevent the formation of gas. It is effectively used to maintain the flora of the large intestine.
  • It is used to treat obesity and high cholesterol and to stimulate digestion.
  • It aids in the digestion of protein.
  • Externally, it can be used with honey for sprains, strains, bruise or itch.
  • It is tonic to the skin, for which purpose it can be taken internally as a milk.

Turmeric contains a variety of bioactive substances called curcuminoids. The most active component is curcumin, an orange-yellow volatile oil. Curcuminoids have a number of beneficial properties:

1) good antioxidant activity, comparing well with vitamin C, vitamin E and superoxide dismutase;

2) anti-inflammatory activity that is comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs

3) anticancer properties influencing all the steps of cancer formation: initiation, promotion, and progression

4) protects the cardiovascular system by lowering serum cholesterol and inhibiting platelet aggregation;

5) protects the liver by several mechanisms;

6) in vitro and in vivo studies show curcuminoids can help with HIV in a number of ways, including acting as biological response modifiers

In most homes India, the Friday oil bath routines with the application of Haldi is almost sacrosanct with the South Indian women, resulting in beautiful skin, and hairless bodies!  In fact, in South India, it is considered very auspicious and therefore, is the first item on the grocery list.

In many North and South Indian traditional wedding ceremonies, haldi is applied to both, the groom and the bride, not only to make them look good with fresh glowing skins, but to ward off the evil eye. It is considered by the Hindus as a symbol of prosperity and as a cleansing herb for the whole body.

During ceremonies., pieces of crushed roots mixed with seawater are sprinkled to remove the negative influences from places, persons and things.

The healing properties of turmeric have made it a most sought after ingredient in cosmetics and drugs, as the leaf oil and extract can also be used as sunscreens and bio-pesticides.

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