Curcumin, the main component of turmeric has shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions, including its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial activities.
In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has many medicinal properties and in South Asia it is used as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises.
Turmeric is extensively used as a spice, food preservative and colouring material in India, China and South East Asia. It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. In Pakistan, it is used as an anti-inflammatory agent, and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders. Milk taken along with turmeric helps in quick recovery, commonly taken during cold and cough.
It has been used in traditional medicine as a household remedy for various diseases, including biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis. Turmeric is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and other clinical disorders.
Use of turmeric in Cosmetics
Turmeric is also used in a wide variety of skin creams and sunscreens. In south India, women apply turmeric to their body every Friday as part of tradition, where it is believed turmeric provides glow to skin and keeps some harmful bacteria away from the body.
Turmeric is currently used in the formulation of some sunscreens. Turmeric paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair. Turmeric paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC), colorless compound present in turmeric, is believed to have antioxidant and skin-lightening properties and treating skin inflammations. THC is currently extracted and isolated from turmeric commercially.
Other benefits of Turmeric
Use of turmeric as Dye: Turmeric is has been traditionally used as fabric dye for dying Saris in India. However, it turmeric as dye fades when exposed to sunlight and thus makes a poor dye.
Turmeric is also used to deter ants in gardening
Anti Cancer potential of Turmeric: Initial research on anti cancer properties of turmeric has been promising. Studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent, control, or kill several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Curcumin has ability to stop the blood vessels that supply cancerous tumors from growing. Curcumin is also strong anti oxidant, which helps protect cells from damage.
Some Home remedies for various diseases using turmeric:
- Anemia: 1 tsp of turmeric juice mixed with honey daily.
- Asthma: Boil 1 cup of milk with 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Drink warm.
- Burns: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tsp of aloe gel and apply to burnt area.
- Conjunctivitis: Mix 1 tbsp of crushed, raw turmeric in 1/3 cup of water. Boil and sieve. 2–3 drops of this mixture may be used in each eye up to 3 times per day.
- Skin Complexion: Apply a paste of turmeric on the skin before bed, and wash off after a few minutes. In the morning, remove any remaining yellow tinge with a paste of chickpea flour and oil.
- Dental problems: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric with ½ tsp of salt. Add mustard oil to make a paste. Rub the teeth and gums with this paste twice daily.
- Diabetes: ½–1 tsp of turmeric should be taken 3 times a day.
- Diarrhea: ½ tsp of turmeric powder or juice in water, thrice a day.
- Pain: Mix 1 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of ginger with water to make a paste. Spread over a cloth, place on the affected area and bandage. Add 1 tsp of turmeric to 1 cup of warm milk and drink before bed.
- Turmeric for Stomach and Intestines: Turmeric treats the whole Gastro – Intestinal system. In general turmeric is used for weak stomach, poor digestion, dyspepsia, to aid metabolism, and other.
Turmeric is also commerically available in other forms like Turmeric powder, turmeric extract, turmeric paste, turmeric leaf oil, turmeric supplements, curcumin turmeric supplements, which also provides similar health benefits of turmeric.