Haldi wala doodh (turmeric)
Do you remember grandma’s haldi wala dudh (turmeric milk)? It was considered the panacea for almost all ailments.
The golden spice, turmeric (scientific name Turmeric longa) has a long history of use in the traditional medicines of China and India.
Turmeric acts as a powerful healing tool due to the phytochemicals it contains. The main phytochemical in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is derived from the rhizome of the plant. The rhizome has been powdered and used in Asian cuisine, medicine, cosmetics, and fabric dyeing for over 2,000 years. The first European explorers from the Asian continent introduced this spice to the Western world in the 14th century. In fact. the ancient Vedic societies of India regarded it as “the grass of the sun” because of its orange-yellow rhizome. In food and manufacturing, curcumin is used in perfumes and as a natural yellow colorant, as well as a food additive approved to flavor various types of curry.
In Ayurveda, a turmeric paste poultice is used to treat common eye infections, and to heal wounds, treat bites, burns, acne, and various skin conditions. US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson even makes turmeric dressings for the Indian market. In northern India, women are given a tonic of fresh turmeric paste with dried ginger root powder and honey in a glass of warm milk to drink twice a day after childbirth. Many wedding rituals, even today, include a Haldi ceremony where turmeric paste is applied to the bride to enhance her complexion for the wedding day.
It has an incredible list of healing properties including antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antiprotozoal, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory.
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Turmeric is used in Ayurveda to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, although in excess it can make pitta and vata worse. It has many beneficial effects for rasa and rakta dhatus (the blood and plasma of the circulatory system). It also ignites Agni (digestive fire), helping to reduce Kapha and ama (toxins).
As early as the Samhita period itself (around 4000 years), turmeric was renowned for its anti-diabetic properties. Turmeric powder is widely described for its healing effect and for lightening the glow and tone of the skin. Turmeric is known as Vranahara (healing of the ulcer), Varnya (improvement of the complexion), Tvakdoshahara (cure skin diseases) and Kandoohara (cure itching).
A poultice (paste) of turmeric is also applied to the perineum to aid in the healing of any laceration in the birth canal. Powdered turmeric is taken with boiled milk to treat coughs and associated respiratory ailments, and roasted turmeric is an ingredient used as an antidysenteric for children. This ancient remedy is also used to treat dental diseases, digestive disorders such as dyspepsia and acidity, indigestion, gas and ulcers.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Promotes digestion and manages stomach ulcers
Supports the brain and nervous system
Improves skin and complexion
Reduces joint pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Supports healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range (especially when combined with neem and amalaki) Turmeric could also prevent cell damage such as ulcers, sores, kidney damage associated with diabetes mellitus in because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Supports healthy liver function
Nourishes the heart and circulatory system
Strengthens the immune system
Reduces symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety and depression.
Turmeric is available online as a powder, tablet, and liquid extract. Some brands include Maharishi Ayurveda, Curkey, Organic India, Just Jaivik, among others.
Consult your doctor before taking turmeric supplements.