Turmeric has been used for over 4000 years by humans. It has been used both for its medicinal properties and as a spice in curries. In India, we use turmeric everyday as a spice in most of our food preparation. We mix it in milk and drink it especially if not well. We even apply it to wounds.
The love for turmeric is catching up across the world. Here are some interesting facts about this wonderful spice.
1. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory
Curcumin is the active substance in turmeric. A very powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. A journal, Oncogene, published a study, whose results demonstrated that curcumin was one the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. As a result, many believe it to be effective (without side-effects) in diseases like cancer, arthritis and chronic pain.
2. Turmeric Detoxifies the Body
Studies have shown that the active compound in turmeric, curcumin, helps the liver in removing toxins and purifying the body of the multiple toxins that we intake through our food and environment. It also reduces some of the effects of dangerous carcinogens.
3. Turmeric was called Indian Saffron
Due to its colour, turmeric was used as a less expensive alternative to saffron which gave the name ‘Indian Saffron’ to turmeric.
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4. India is the largest producer of turmeric
India is both the largest producer and consumer of turmeric powder. The vibrant yellow colours in Indian curries comes from turmeric. In fact, the spice it originated in southern India about 4000 years ago. Erode, a city in South India is the largest producer of turmeric.
As per Statista, in 2020 India exported approximately USD 232 billion of turmeric (the second largest is Germany which exported only USD 6.9mn turmeric).
5. Turmeric is anti-depressant
Turmeric also has anti-depressant properties. Its ethanolic extract markedly attenuated swim stress–induced decreases in serotonin, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, and noradrenaline and dopamine concentrations, as well as increases in serotonin turnover. (Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
6. Turmeric is used for treating wounds and infections
Turmeric is applied on wounds, burns, minor cuts, blemishes etc. The antibacterial properties help treat skin related ailments, and prevent the spread of infection. Turmeric is said to minimize skin irritation, rashes, itching, swelling and inflammation associated with most types of eczema.
It has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine to treat diseases with abdominal pain, sprains, swelling, to purify blood and remedy skin conditions.
Turmeric is therefore considered great for boosting immunity.
7. Turmeric is great for the Skin
Turmeric is used for treating acne. It helps prevents wrinkles and removes dead dull skin giving a glow to the skin. It also helps remove excess facial hair. It is not for no reason that ‘Haldi Ceremony’ is held in Indian weddings where turmeric is applied to the skin of the bride and groom. It is to help their skin glow on their wedding day.
A mixture of turmeric and aloevera can also help you soothe sunburned skin.
Because of its cosmetic properties, turmeric is used in many creams, soaps and foundations that are available in the market.
8. Turmeric can be used as a dye
In many ancient civilizations like India, Egypt and Mesopotamia, dyeing was common around the 3rd century BC. Turmeric was extensively used in the dyeing process for both its bold yellow colour and a reddish-brown colour that it gave when mixed with alkaline substances.
9. Turmeric was used as litmus paper
As mentioned above, turmeric turns reddish brown when it comes in contact with alkaline substances. As a result, turmeric paper was used as a litmus paper to test alkalinity of a substance.
10. Curcuma has over 130 species
Turmeric is a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous plant belonging to the ginger family. As many as 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. Of course, we use only a few of them for regular consumption and many are used for medicinal properties.
The Lakadong turmeric from Lakadong, India is considered the best turmeric because of its high curcumin levels. It has 7-12% of Curcumin levels, while the average is around 2-3%.
So, grab your turmeric latte today, and don’t forget to include turmeric in your diet!
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