Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) is a small perennial herb native to East India and belongs to the ginger family. It’s known as a culinary spice (Turmeric) and as a medical extract called Curcumin.
Turmeric is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda Medicine which can be used against Cancer and heart disease. The spice has excellent anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective properties.
Turmeric root has a delicious, earthy and woody flavor, reminiscent of orange and ginger. The use of turmeric as a coloring and flavoring agent in food is ancient. In medieval Europe, turmeric was known as Indian Saffron. India is the world’s leading producer, and consumer of turmeric. Turmeric is a necessary ingredient of curry powder. It is used extensively in Indian dishes, including lentil, rice, fish and meat dishes, as well as in Southeast Asian cooking. Turmeric is routinely added to mustard blends and relishes. It is also used in place of saffron to provide color and flavor, though it lacks saffron’s aroma. Turmeric is an unusually healthful spice. (source: http://en.ayurmed.org/herbs/turmeric)
Turmeric is an excellent source of iron, manganese, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for various enzymes. Turmeric contains no cholesterol, but is rich in dietary fibers, which helps to control blood LDL (“bad Cholesterol” levels).
Turmeric is one of the easily available, cheap herbs that contain notable phyto-nutrients profile. At 159277 µmol TE/100 g, its total-ORAC value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities of different foods and supplements. It was developed by scientists at the National Institutes of Health. It’s a lab test that attempts to quantify the “total antioxidant capacity” (TAC) of food.), or anti-oxidant strength is one of the highest among known herb and spice species. 100 g of turmeric provides: 53% of dietary fiber, (% of Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA per 100 g) 138 % of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), 32% of niacin, 43 % of vitamin C, 21 % of vitamin E, 54 % of potassium, 517 % of iron, 340 %of manganese and 40 % of zinc. 0% cholesterol. (source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/turmeric.html)
There are various ways to use Turmeric, and one of them is using turmeric essential oil which is obtained from turmeric root. Extraction pulls out all oil friendly compounds from Turmeric root. The oil can be used to provide benefits against inflammation, muscle pains and many more. Turmeric oil is very powerful oil which is also used in pharma industry for making anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic drugs or ointments. In India, Turmeric is used for ritual and ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, or for dying the skin of cows during festivals.
The fragrant leaves are used to wrap foods and the shoots are eaten as a vegetable. If we consume only a few grams of Turmeric per day either in the form of powder, crushed root or fresh root, we can give our bodies enough nutrients to avoid anemia, neuritis, memory disorders and to protect us against cancer, infectious diseases, high blood pressure, and strokes.
Curcumin is an orange-yellow crystalline powder. This is a natural component of Turmeric and one of the most studied phytochemicals. It’s extracted, concentrated, standardized and researched in supplement form. Curcumin is the most frequently mentioned phytonutrient with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and may even play a role in cancer treatment (particularly prostate, colon, lung, breast, pancreatic, skin and leukemia). Curcumin has positive healing benefits for heart disease, asthma, psoriasis, and allergies. It can protect the brain from plaques.
As Curcumin has a crucial role for inflammation in most chronic diseases, it has been examined in neoplastic, neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic diseases. Curcumin is obtained from the dried rhizome of the Turmeric plant. The rhizome of the root is processed to form Turmeric which contains 2% to 5% Curcumin by weight. So a tablespoon of Turmeric (which weights 6.8 grams), contains about 0.136 gram Curcumin. Curcumin should be used as a supplement to a healthy diet and a quality dietary supplement program, because it can provide powerful support to anyone desiring optimal health. I really enjoy turning rice yellow with Turmeric. It’s not only delicious and healthy, but also looks awesome.
Don’t forget that the food is not only for the body, but also for the soul. It’s important that the dishes are colorful. For example the yellow color denotes happiness and joy. It’s a cheerful cozy color that welcomes one like rising sun, invoking positive feelings. Enjoy the food!