Tumeric the Spice of Life
Updated: Nov 12
The fame of tumeric, once upon a time very lowly spice, is very well deserved. It is only in the last 5 years that the western hemisphere has woken up to its qualities. In the eastern cultures it has been a part of every day life for a millennia.
Last week I briefly referred to adding tumeric as an ingredient to a remedy for colds, and today to really expose its virtues.
Tumeric, botanical name, Curcuma longa, is now cultivated throughout the world but it is believed to have originated about 5000 feet up in the Himalayas. In India it is cultivated extensively in West Bengal, Bihar, areas right up in the North, all the way down to the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Tumeric has many uses:
a source of die for the orange colour
as a cooking ingredient
as a addition to many beauty products
Of all of the above, the medicinal use is paramount. Looking at this with an Ayurvedic eye, tumeric as a botanical is composed of amazing chemisty which makes it the "go to" herb/ingredient for almost all ailments. Tumeric is the equivalent to an Indian household as paracetamol to a British household. To give you a gist of an idea of its uses:
for skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, dry skin
the smoke of fumigated tumeric when sniffed in helps with hiccups and breathing difficulties
orally taken it acts as a pain reliever
in the digestive system, it clears the wasteful matter and toxins
in the respiratory system it helps to expel phelgm
using it as a paste and applied to the body it helsps reduce fevers and high temperatures
Tumeric has of course made headlines in its potential for cancer treatments.
In the Indian culture, tumeric is so revered that when celebrating a marriage the bride and the groom take part in the "haldi ceremony". Just look at the fun in the images below:
For me personally, tumeric along with asfoetida are 2 ingredients that should be in every kitchen cupboard and a "generous" pinch of each should be added to at least one family meal a day. For example, if its pizza night then a pinch can be added to the tomato base or a pinch can be added to the gravy that comes with a Sunday roast.
My son, a university student of 18, leads the uni life but even he took with him a tub of tumeric and asafoetida to add to his meals, be it a take away or a grand cook for all pot with everything thrown in!
Credit & Talent
Thank you to all the talent below which made this post so good.
Image 1 - Tumeric - Alandiashram
Image 2 - Bride and little Girl at Haldi ceremony