Monday, 27 May 2013

Tantalizing Turmeric

Turmeric is natures miracle spice. It has been used in food preparation, as a medicine and as a beauty aid in many parts of the world from times immemorial. It is such an amazing product that there have been attempts to patent Turmeric!! Thankfully, any such attempt has been turned down so far.

Lets start with some trivia about Haldi/Turmeric. 


 The Botanical name of Turmeric is Curcuma longa L. It is part of the ginger family. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric which has been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic effects. Curcumin is known for its antitumor, antioxidant, anti-amyloid and anti-inflammatory properties. The rhizome or root of turmeric plant is used to make turmeric spice. The rhizome is boiled and then let to dry. The rough skins are removed and grounded to make a fine rich yellow turmeric powder. Turmeric is natural preservative. When added to Indian delicacies such as curry and rice, it gives a rich color and slight flavor to food. Turmeric combines well with spices such as chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin, and cinnamon.

Medicinal benefits: It may be used to heal many health disorders like liver problems, digestive disorders, treatment for skin diseases, wound healing, atherosclerosis, bacterial infection, and eye disorder turmeric has long been used in Medicinal as an anti-inflammatory agent. Drinking warm milk with turmeric is believed to check minor internal bleeding. 

Place of turmeric in ayurveda: The main organs that turmeric treats are the skin, heart, liver and lungs.  Turmeric is used for epilepsy and bleeding disorders, skin diseases; to purify the body-mind is the most common use of Turmeric in Ayurveda. Turmeric reduces fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, and insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems.

As a cosmetic agent: The skin is the main portion of the body and provides a shielding barrier against harmful chemicals, microbes, and ultraviolet radiation. Natural plant products like turmeric have been formulated to heal and prevent dry skin, treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne, and retard the aging process.
Turmeric is used in many celebrations of Indians . Especially in weddings across India, brides are rubbed with turmeric on their bodies for that special bridal glow. New born babies also rubbed with turmeric on their forehead for good luck. Traditionally women rub turmeric on their cheeks to produce a natural golden glow, extract of turmeric has been added to creams for use as a colouring agent. A compound called curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric. Nowadays there are lots of herbal products in the market in which main herb used is turmeric as natural ingredient. 

Now for some Do-It-Yourself Turmeric skin care recipes.
  • Face-Wash for all Skins 
    Make a paste of honey and yogurt, adding a little turmeric. Apply on the face and wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes. you may add besan/chickpea flour to make it thicker. Yogurt has AHAs found in expensive anti-ageing creams. Honey has antiseptic and moisturizing properties.

  • Scrub for Dry Skin 
    Add dried bread crumbs and a pinch of turmeric in milk or cream. Apply it on the face. let it dry for 10 minutes, moisten with milk and rub gently on the skin, rinsing it off with water. Or alternatively, you may soak leftover chapati in the turmeric-cream mix and rub the chapati on your face.

  • Oily Skin Treatment 
    Apply besan, few drops of lemon and curd curd mixed with a little turmeric on the entire face, and wash it off with plenty of water after twenty minutes. Use it once a day. it works as both, a face wash and pack.

  • Acne Control 
    Make a paste of kasturi turmeric powder in mint juice, apply on the pimples for 30 minutes and then wash with lukewarm water. It helps to control acne. You may even use mint juice and turmeric as an astringent. Keep in the fridge and apply as often as you want with cotton.

  • For Stretch Marks 
    Extracts of turmeric have proved useful in lightening stretch marks. But prevention is better than cure. Mix a teaspoon of turmeric in 50 ml of olive or coconut oil. apply everyday during bath time when pregnant. you wont have any stretch marks!

  • For Fair Complexion 
    A traditional fairness secret: make a paste of sandalwood and turmeric and apply daily on the facial area for best results. Washed off with cold water once it dries.
  • For Freckles 
    Freckles impact face beauty badly. To remove, apply lemon juice and turmeric mixture to lighten freckles.
  • For Hair Removal 
    Mix turmeric, besan and wheat flour in equal quantities  with sesame oil, knead it into a dough. Use this mixture for hair removal purpose by making fingers of the dough and rolling them on your arms, legs and areas where you would like to remove hair. If done  2-3 times on babies till about one year of age, they will never have to wax!!

     Ingesting Turmeric for health benefits:
    In India we use turmeric extensively in our food. however, a mix of milk and turmeric is considered a potent health drink. The mixture of turmeric and milk is often touted as an all-natural cure for a variety of ailments and to promote good general health. While many of the medical benefits of turmeric are still unproven, it has been determined that turmeric contains a photochemical called curcumin, which has some benefits to the body, both inside and out, because of its high antioxidant content. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years.

    For Strengthening Bones and Reducing Free Radicals

    One of the numerous health benefits of turmeric and milk is the bone-strengthening properties of the two. Mix a 1/2-inch piece of fresh (green root) turmeric or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and cup of milk in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until almost boiling and the turmeric has turned yellow. Let the milk cool a bit, discard the piece of turmeric root and transfer the drink to a glass stir in 2 teaspoons of honey. Drink regularly.
    Because of turmeric's high antioxidant content, the combination of milk and turmeric is commonly recommended to fight free radicals that cause damage to skin cells and make your skin lose elasticity. It also boosts your immune system.