The Golden Powder
Turmeric (curcuma longum) has long been considered a wonderful herb for a variety of uses. It is probably best known for its use in cooking in Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.
It has a bitter, musty flavour and is bright yellow in colour. It is a prime ingredient in curries and other such dishes. It also gives the colour to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin.
Turmeric has rhizomes which are gathered annually and boiled for a number of hours. They are then placed into hot ovens to dry. After the drying process is complete they are ground into powder. Turmeric is also used in its fresh form, much like ginger.
Turmeric is used as a food additive and has the code E100. It is used in many foods, such as orange juice, biscuits, popcorn, cereal, sauces, yoghurt, ice-cream, cake icing etc;
Turmeric helps to protect foods from sunlight. Sometimes turmeric is combined with annatto (another plant-derived colour) to colour cheeses, margarines, butters and chicken broth.
Turmeric is also used as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent, particularly in South Asia. Some countries use it to assist with inflammation, ulcers, scabies, arthritis, gastro-intestinal upsets, diabetes, cholesterol-lowering, appetite loss, wound healing, liver support and it is also used in cosmetics.
It can also be applied topically to assist with eczema. Oil form the leaves is also extracted and used in sunscreen formulations.
Curcumin also has powerful anti-oxidant properties which can help protect our body from free radicals.
Turmeric is a rich source of iron and may be suitable for those suffering from anaemia. Mix 1 tsp raw turmeric juice with 1 tsp honey and take daily.
Try mixing a bit of turmeric with a bit of coconut oil to help bring relief from itchy skin. It may also help when applied directly to ringworm infections.
People suffering with herpes have gained relief by mixing the powder with water and lime juice until a paste is formed and applied liberally to the area. Mumps, measles and chickenpox have also responded very favourably by the same treatment. For sprains and bruises a paste can be made and applied then wrapped in a similar fashion as a poultice.
Turmeric juice taken internally can assist with jaundice by supporting the liver’s function. Turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory action can help the body to repair rheumatoid arthritis.
Next time you reach for the turmeric in your cupboard think of the many incredible ways that this colourful spice can add to your health status.