Superfood Part V - Turmeric | Haldi | Curcuma Longa
How often have you heard your mom or grandma ask you to have “Haldi Doodh” when you are not well? It practically seems to be the universal medicine if one was to go by the number of occasions it has been had. It is supposed to be so holy that it forms a part of most marriage functions in india, the Haldi ceremony. If you are born in the 80s in India, you are sure to have heard cosmetic companies using turmeric in their ayurvedic cream before and during every movie break.
So, is there any truth in all these claims or is it just a hyped spice that adds flavours to the food?
Turmeric derives its botanical name from a natural polyphenol, Curcumin, which is the most critical elements for the medicinal properties turmeric is supposed to have.
What are the benefits of having Turmeric?
Basic nutritional aspects of 100g of turmeric include 340 percent of the daily recommended intake of manganese and 517 percent of iron.
Apart from this, it is also an excellent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. These properties help in making turmeric effective against a variety of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Apart from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also known to improve the function of endothelium, the lining of blood vessels. All the properties put together make it a potent weapon against heart diseases as well.
Being anti-inflammatory, it is known to work against arthritis joint pain as well. “In a study with people with rheumatoid arthritis, Curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug.” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#TOC_TITLE_HDR_10)
Curcumin is also known to increase the levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The BDNF protein is associated with improved memory and learning. While more studies are required to ascertain this hypothesis, initial findings show promising results. BDNF also helps against mood swings. Continued consumption of turmeric is known to help patients fight depression.
Turmeric is also an excellent blood purifier. If had with milk before sleeping, it washes away all the toxins in the blood. What further ensures good sleep is that turmeric helps with the digestive system; heartburn, bloating, acid reflux, all can be taken care of by having turmeric with milk. “Haldi Doodh” also goes a long away as an immunity booster in helping against chest congestions, cough or the flu by improving the immunity.
And for everyone who do not want to age, turmeric is known to have anti-ageing properties. Not only for consumption, but even the application on the skin makes the skin glow. Hence you would find many of the face packs having turmeric as a key ingredient. Even applying turmeric paste can help with acne and other skin problems too.
Turmeric is known to be so effective that the ministry of Ayush has gone on to say it can be effective even as a post COVID 19 herb (https://ayushnext.ayush.gov.in/detail/research/curcuma-longa-for-covid-19-a-review?change_language=en).
How to consume turmeric?
While Curcumin is as magical as mentioned above, it is very difficult to get absorbed in the human body. The best way for its absorption is if it is had with black pepper. Black pepper contains pepperine that increases the absorption of Curcumin by 2000%. Other ways of having turmeric include having it with fats (olive oil, flax seeds, etc.) or substance with quercetic (apples, grapes, onions, citrus).
Is it safe for everyone to have turmeric?
While the golden spice has its share of health benefits (including joint pain relief, as an immunity booster and a beauty treatment), it can also impact a few health conditions. If someone is on blood thinning medications, turmeric accelerates the thinning and hence the chances of easy bleeding. Turmeric supplements also enhance the effect of diabetes medication and can result is hypoglycaemia thereof. Turmeric can also lower the testosterone levels and impact male fertility.
Turmeric forms an ideal partner for Chyavan Kaya Swastham (https://www.chyavanrishi.com/products/chyavan-kaya-swastham) to work as an energy and immunity booster. It also works well with Chyavan Dard Nivarak (https://www.chyavanrishi.com/products/chyavan-dard-nivarak) to aid in joint pain relief and muscle and bone development.