May 22nd, 2020 | Updated on May 26th, 2020
Turmeric’s usage in day to day life has very ancient origins in India. In Vedic times, Turmeric was used as a major spice and was used on religious occasions as well.
With time it moved on to other countries like China, Africa, and Jamaica. These days, Turmeric is cultivated massively in India and is known by different names as per the region.
In Sanskrit itself, the spice has been given 53 separate names.
Turmeric Plant And Its Origins
A product of the Curcuma Longa, a herb plant, Turmeric is native to regions of South Asia.
The ideal conditions in which the plant thrives are 20-30-degree temperature and a decent amount of rainfall.
An individual plant grows to a height of 1 metre and it has long and oblong leaves.
India accounts for nearly all of the cultivation of the spice. Erode in Tamil Nadu is the highest producer and hence is also known as the “Yellow City.”
Composition Of Turmeric
The main component of Turmeric is a volatile oil that includes turmerone and many other colouring agents.
An average turmeric piece comprises moisture (9%), curcumin (5-6.6%), mould and volatile oils ( 3.5%), and extraneous matter (.5%).
Some components like turmerone, arturmerone, and zingiberene are responsible for the smell that arises in Turmeric.
Consumption And Importance
So far Turmeric has been put to a variety of uses. It is a popular spice in everyday cooking and the flavour and smell accompanying it is one of the reasons for its popularity.
Thanks to its anti-septic properties many face creams use turmeric as one of their crucial ingredients. In countries like South Africa, it is used to provide a golden colour to boiled rice.
Apart from all the above Turmeric is used in baking cakes, ice creams, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn and other items like sauces and Gelatines.
In Asian countries, the consumption of Turmeric on a daily basis ranges between 200-1000 mg. However, in Rural areas, this consumption figure is higher as opposed to urban areas.
Used For Traditional Treatments
Since a long time Turmeric has been used to counter the effects of severe diseases. As per Ayurveda, Turmeric is supposed to have medicinal properties that can help in providing treatment to ailments like gas, worms, digestion problems, menstruation pains, gallstones, and arthritis.
In certain South Asian countries, it is used as an antiseptic to treat cuts, burns, and bruises. Indians also use it to purify the blood and handle skin-related issues.
Turmeric paste is applied to the bride and grooms face and body before the marriage in Indian culture.
It is a belief that it grants a fresh and glowing look to them. Unani practitioners have widely used Turmeric to expel phlegm from the body.
Turmeric taken with water or milk can be helpful in treating intestinal issues and treat sore throat and colds.
Studies Of Turmeric’s Benefits
Modern studies have revealed that Turmeric can be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and an anti-cancer agent as well.
As per studies conducted by Tilak and Banerjee sufficient consumption of Turmeric can provide anti-oxidant protection to your body. Anti-cancer benefits of Turmeric include inhibiting the growth of cells.
As per a study by R Kuttan and P Bhanumathy, Turmeric extract can prevent animal tumours induced by Dalton’s Lymphoma.
In fact, topical administration of Turmeric has been known to decrease the onset of skin tumours.
Turmeric has been found effective against neuronal, cardiac and kidney disorders as well and a study by Mohanty, Arya by Gupta in 2006 confirms the same.
Addition of Turmeric to the diet is helpful in reducing weight and studies on animals have been conducted with regards to that.
As a dietary supplement Turmeric can keep your digestive processes under control thus leading to a healthy stomach and bowel.
Clinical Studies With Turmeric
Numerous studies on a clinical level have been conducted for Turmeric. In one of the studies, Turmeric was given to around 16 smokers.
The dose was around 1.5 g/day and it was shown to reduce the excretion of mutagens through Urine.
On the other hand, patients of Irritable bowel syndrome were also relieved of the problems arising from the ailment just by consuming Turmeric on a regular basis.
A phase II clinical trial had something interesting to offer. 45 patients suffering from a peptic ulcer were given 2 capsules of turmeric daily and the impact gauged.
After 4 weeks of regular intake, the ailment had reduced in around 48% of the cases. In fact, after 12 weeks this figure increased to an impressive 76%.
Since Turmeric is a great wound healer it is used in Bangladesh to heal the umbilical cord after delivery of the baby.
Studies Of Ingredients Of Turmeric
Turmeric’s beneficial features are because of the presence of bioactive components. One of its important ingredients is the Volatile oil as mentioned earlier.
The anti-viral effects of Turmeric were analyzed and it showed that influenza, parainfluenza, and adenoviruses were inhibited after the regular consumption of Turmeric.
Apart from that Curcuma Oil present was found to delay neuron activity. This means that the same can be used to control problems like oxidative stress and Cerebral stroke comfortably.
Safety Aspects Of Turmeric Consumption
Over the centuries there have been no doubts about the safety of turmeric consumption.
Studies that have been undertaken have also not been able to prove that consuming turmeric in any form can be damaging to a person.
The US FDA conducted food trials with turmeric and they have declared turmeric as being generally safe for consumption.
In the USA hence it is widely used as an ingredient for items like mustard, cereals, chips, butter, and cheese.
To understand its safety a study was conducted on volunteers for a period of three months. During the time period no damages to body weight, BP, renal or hepatic toxicity were seen in any of the volunteers.
Though Turmeric has been known to be beneficial to a person at various times the results are visible only after regular and systematic consumption.
If you are taking turmeric for any particular ailment in mind then make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the safety and dose.
In the future, it is expected that more studies would be conducted to figure out the overall benefits of Turmeric.
Whatever impact they are going to have it is going to be positive only since the ingredients of Turmeric are beneficial in a variety of ways.
This article is republished from NIH. Read the original article here.
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