Turmeric or cucurma longa is a rhizome that belongs to the ginger family. This slightly bitter, yellow colored spice is one of the most essential spices to be found in the Indian pantry, a spice without which almost every curry is incomplete. Turmeric uses however extend well beyond the kitchen encompassing both the cultural and religious life of Indians. Traditional Ayurveda has long extolled its virtues and has applauded its incredible healing powers. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the world woke up to its potential.
Health benefits of Turmeric
1. It is Anti-Inflammatory
Cucurmin, the main ingredient in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance which makes turmeric a potent spice. Inflammation within limits is normal and also essential but when inflammation goes out of control then the body is beset by many diseases such as arthritis, heart diseases, autoimmune disease etc. Cucurmin inhibits the enzymes causing inflammation. Studies have shown that patients who included about 200 mg of cucurmin to their diet experienced less pain than their counterparts who had not included cucurmin in their treatment plan.
2. Helps Manage Diabetes
Diabetics would do well to include turmeric as part of their daily diet. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric helps reduce the insulin resistance in the body thereby enabling the body to accept diabetes drug better. Lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids) and protein glycosylation (alteration of protein molecule) are more prevalent in a person who has diabetes. Cucurmin helps to put a check on this, thus controlling blood sugar levels in a big way.
3. Helps in Healing
Turmeric’s medicinal properties have been recognized since long, especially in the Indian subcontinent. What was once regarded as a grandmother’s recipe, today finds credence with doctors who recognize turmeric’s healing powers. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties hence it serves as a perfect home remedy for wounds. Take a bit of turmeric and mix it with water to form a thick paste. Now apply this paste to your wound. The turmeric will not only kill the bacteria’s and help in healing but also reduce the signs of scarring.
4. Acts as an Antioxidant
Turmeric has a high ORAC score of 159,277 putting it high on the antioxidant list. Cucurmin which is a powerful antioxidant specifically targets the free radicals and works towards neutralizing them. Turmeric thus protects the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
5. Reduces Cholesterol
Turmeric has the effect of lowering bad cholesterol in the body and increasing the level of good HDL in the body. Curcumin, the active ingredient present in turmeric helps in the increase of more LDL receptors in the body. More LDL receptors mean that the livers ability to clear away bad cholesterol from the body increases.
6. Provides Relief from Arthritis
Turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties which make it the ideal thing to have for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It has been documented that people who regularly took turmeric experienced considerable relief from the pain and inflammation.
7. Fights well against Flu
Turmeric is highly effective against common cold and flu primarily because of curcumin and volatile oils present in it. Lipopolysaccharide is a substance found in turmeric which strengthens the body’s immune system. A stronger immune system means you are less susceptible to illness. Whenever you feel a cold or flu coming on drink a glass of milk to which is added a teaspoon of turmeric. You will experience substantial relief.
8. Prevents Alzheimer’s
One reason for the cause of Alzheimer’s is the deposition of amyloid plaques which hinder proper cerebral functioning. Turmeric has the capability of putting the brakes on this disease as diferuloylmethan (one of the main components in turmeric) has the capacity to stop the formation of beta-amyloid which is responsible for plaque formations.
9. It helps Improve Digestion
Turmeric contains certain compounds which help the gallbladder to produce more bile which in turn improves digestion. It is also known to provide relief from gas and bloating.
10. Protects the Liver
The liver produces enzymes that remove the toxins from the body. Turmeric helps increase the production of these enzymes thus it acts as a liver detoxifier. Turmeric also improves blood circulation contributing to overall good health. Turmeric effectively neutralizes the harmful effects of cholesterol on the liver thus protecting the liver from harmful diseases which can be caused by excess fat.
Benefits of Turmeric for Skin
11. Acne Treatment
Turmeric because of its antibacterial nature helps fight acne. Application of turmeric to the skin helps reduce the oil secretions which lead to acne in the first place. A face pack comprising of turmeric powder and sandalwood paste will reduce the breakout of acne. To lighten the spots you can apply a mixture of turmeric and rosewater.
12. Wrinkle Reduction
Turmeric can help reduce the fine lines and wrinkles on one’s face. It also helps in reducing dark circles. To remove wrinkles, you would need to make a face pack of turmeric powder and rice power mixed with milk and tomato juice. Make a nice paste of it and apply it to your face and keep it on for 30 minutes. To remove dark circles, you can make a solution of turmeric and buttermilk and apply it to your under eye areas. Keep it on for 20 minutes and wash off with cold water.
13. Reduces Tanning
Skin tanning is a problem which affects many of us. A paste of turmeric and cucumber juice works effectively against pigmentation and tanning.
14. Facial Hair reducer
Applying a mixture of kasturi turmeric and chickpea flour to the face can help reduce the growth of facial hair. You need to continue with this process for about a month or so to see effective results.
15. Removal of Dead Cells
Turmeric works great as an exfoliant removing the dead skin cells and exposing the soft skin underneath. Make a mixture of turmeric mixed with equal amounts of chickpea flour and raw milk to make a smooth paste. Apply this liberally on your body. Wait for it to dry and then wash it off with water. Do not apply any soap. Regularly going for this treatment will make your skin soft and there will be an added glow.
Benefits of Turmeric for Hair
16. Dandruff Removal
The effects of dandruff can be minimized by the application of turmeric to the hair. Make a mixture of turmeric and olive oil and apply it to your scalp. Wash off after a while. This will remove the dandruff which will increase blood circulation.
17. Prevents Hair Loss
TGF beta one is a protein that destroys hair follicles which results in hair loss on the part of a person. Curcumin strives to put a stop to the activity of TGF beta one thus preventing hair loss.
18. Treats other Scalp Conditions
Turmeric because of its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can provide sufficient relief from a variety of scalp infections such as dermatitis and eczema that lead to thinning hair.