As a part of curative medicine (Ayurveda) turmeric “the golden spice”, has been around for millennia. This warm spice has its intense yellow colour as well as its medicinal properties because of its curcuminoid compounds (especially curcumin). In early days turmeric had an enviable place in our kitchen. Right from healing cuts/wounds to adding glow to a new bride’s face or to get a good night’s sleep, turmeric has been around.
Due to lack of awareness and belief in our age old curative remedies, turmeric somehow lost its glory. More than just a culinary spice or carrying religious significance turmeric possesses potent medicinal properties and applications which are much beyond our awareness.
Today’s woman who is handling both work and home efficiently has definitely called for more stress. Women intrinsically by nature will keep accumulating stress and thereby manifest hormonal imbalances and menstrual disturbance, the most prevalent health issues women and young girls are dealing with today. To the rescue, being a warming herb turmeric is considered helpful in both regulating menstruation and balancing hormones. It has emmenagogue properties which help in stimulating menstrual flow. Moreover turmeric’s anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties help relieving menstrual pain.
To add more value there are many more such medical issues which turmeric can resolve.
1. Helps treat skin conditions
Right from reducing acne, dark circles, lightening scars and marks, moisturizing dry skin, anti-aging to reducing stretch marks the list is endless. Turmeric’s anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties make it a potent cleanser for the skin and remedy for various skin conditions. Thus since ages as a part of a traditional ritual new bride and groom are applied turmeric paste as it makes the skin glow and keeps harmful bacteria away from the body.
2. Reduces gas and bloating
Being a bitter digestive and carminative turmeric helps in improving digestion and reduces gas and bloating issues. Mostly it is the indigested fat which causes digestion issues. Turmeric is a cholagogue, which stimulates bile production in the liver. This encourages excretion of bile via gall bladder and thereby improves body’s ability to digest fats and prevent or dissolve digestion issues.
3. Improves inflammatory conditions
Due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties turmeric has been used to treat various inflammatory diseases like a few respiratory conditions (asthma, bronchial hyperactivity and allergies), gastro intestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders associated with inflammation in the body etc.
4. Relieves pain in joints
It’s known that inflammation causes swelling and pain. As turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties helps reducing inflammation it helps in relieving pain as well. Studies have shown patients with osteoarthritis of the knee getting benefited from curcumin but needs more support from research. But traditional medicine has been using turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties to relieve joint pain since ages.
5. Helps cleaning and healing wounds
Turmeric’s anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties makes it a perfect remedy to clean and heal cuts, burns, bruises and even diabetic wounds.
Important point to keep in mind
Despite curcumin being the major compound in turmeric its bioavailability in body is quite limited. Thus having turmeric alone will never help. To enhance its availability consume turmeric with the combination of any one or both of the following.
1. Black pepper
Studies have shown that the compound peperine found in black pepper enhances the absorption of curcumin in the blood thereby increasing its availability.
2. Fat containing foods
Curcumin is a fat soluble compound thus when consumed with fat containing foods like curries, milk etc. will enhance its availability in the body.
Ways of incorporating turmeric in your daily diet
1. In a hot cup of milk add 1/4th teaspoon turmeric and a pinch of black pepper.
2. In Indian curries add turmeric and black pepper as a part of curry masala.
3. In a hot cup of pumpkin soup add 1/4th teaspoon turmeric and a pinch of black pepper in addition to other ingredients.
4. In a healthy salad dressing – In a bowl mix 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar + 1/4th tsp turmeric + 1 tsp raw honey + salt, black pepper and oregano to taste + juice of 1 lemon.
5. In a green smoothie – 1 cup spinach + 1 cup kale + 1/4th tsp turmeric + 1 Orange + 1/2 banana + pinch of pepper + juice of 1 lime + juice of 1 lemon + 1 inch nub ginger + 1 cup water. Blend them all together.