What is Turmeric, and Why is it good for you?
According to ancient Indian scriptures and Ayurvedic and Unani medical treatises, the long history of the use of Turmeric in South Asia is well documented. The Ayurvedic Compendium of Sushruta, going back to 250 BC, mentions turmeric use against ailments.
The history of Turmeric dates back to almost 4000 years to the Vedic period in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious relevance. As most historic documents declare, Turmeric has perhaps gotten to China by 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD, West Africa by 1200 AD, and Jamaica in the 18th century. In 1280, Marco Polo recorded Turmeric in his travelogues as a vegetable that exhibited qualities comparable to that of Saffron. Turmeric is mentioned in old Sanskrit medical treatises and also Ayurvedic and Unani medicine systems. The Ayurvedic Compendium of Sushruta, dating back to 250 BC, even specifically prescribes a paste consisting of Turmeric to mitigate the effects of poisoned food.
ABOUT TURMERIC PLANT
Turmeric, taxonomically called Curcuma longa, is a rhizomatous floral perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, native to tropical South Asia. It is interesting to keep in mind that over 133 varieties of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. The turmeric plant requires temperatures between 20 ° C and 30 ° C with a considerable amount of annual rains to grow. Individual plants grow to an elevation of 1 m and have long oblong leaves. Plants are harvested every year for their roots (rhizomes) and are reseeded from those roots in the next season. Turmeric is derived from the tuberous root of the plant, with rough, uneven skin. The rhizomes gradually mature underground. They are usually yellowish-brown with a bland orange interior. The primary root is pointed or tapered at the distal end, measuring 2.5- 7.0 centimeters (1– 3 inches) in length and 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) in diameter, with smaller roots branching off. When the turmeric root is dried, it can be ground to a bitter, a little acrid, yet pleasant tasting yellow powder.
TURMERIC PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING
India is the world’s largest producer and consumer (near 80%) of Turmeric. With its intrinsic qualities and high content of the essential bioactive compound Curcumin, Indian Turmeric is considered the best globally. Erode, a city in Southern India, is the world’s largest producer and also one of the biggest trading hubs for Turmeric. It is also known as “Yellow City,” “Turmeric City,” or “Textile City.” Sangli, a city of Maharashtra, is second to Erode in size and significance as a production and trading site for Turmeric.
The turmeric roots should be processed prior to Turmeric can be used. The processing consists of boiling or steaming the Rhizomes to dispose of the raw smell and gelatinize the starch, creating a much more evenly tinted end product. In contemporary processing, rhizomes are put in shallow pans in big iron drums/boilers containing 0.05 – 0.1% alkaline water (e.g., sodium bicarbonate solution). The rhizomes are then boiled for between 40 – 45 minutes (in India) or 6 hrs (in Pakistan), depending on the variety. The roots are then taken out from water and sun-dried instantly to avoid overcooking. Adequate measures must be taken to ensure that the final moisture content must be between 8% and 10% (wet basis). As a test, it would produce a metallic sound on finger tapping of the root, ensuring that it is sufficiently dry. The dried roots are then polished to remove the coarse surface. By protecting the Turmeric from overexposure to sunlight reduces the rate of deterioration of Turmeric powder.
HEALTH BENEFITS & CURATIVE PROPERTIES OF TURMERIC
Turmeric is a spice and also a medicinal herb that can be consumed in powdered form, paste form, extracted liquid form, capsule/tablet form, or taken directly together with any food. There is no wrong way to take Turmeric; the only thing we suggest is not to boil it too much if you are cooking something hot, like a curry. One of the best methods to take Turmeric is to put a teaspoon of Turmeric Blend in a mug of warm milk of your choice with some Manuka honey; this will additionally help soothe your throat!
Eastern cultural customs have valued Turmeric for its earthy, peppery flavour and other therapeutic properties for over 4,000 years. Specifically, Asian recipes extensively use Turmeric as one of the essential active ingredients in various cuisines, though not just for the nutritional benefit. Turmeric has long been considered as a “holy powder” in India for its use in various religious rituals and ceremonies.
Numerous studies are discovering all the amazing benefits of Turmeric. Modern research findings establish Turmeric as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antibacterial, cardio-protective, hepato-protective, nephroprotective, radio-protective, and also good for the digestive system. Phytochemical analysis shows Turmeric rich in many compounds with potent pharmacological properties, such as Curcumin, Volatile oil, and Curcuminoids, among others.