The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Herbcraft // Turmeric

Only yesterday did I learn about this spice's wonderful medicinal properties and I have made sure it is on the shopping list for my trip out to buy groceries. (Thanks for the tip, Mum!)


Turmeric root is a member of the ginger family (you can see above how similar it looks to root ginger) and is used in South-East Asian cooking readily for its warm, spicy flavour. One of the active ingredients in turmeric is known as 'curcumin' and it is this which makes turmeric one of nature's most powerful healers.

Curcumin is a yellow pigment derived from turmeric.


Images courtesy of www.net-doctor.co.uk

Here are some reasons to ensure you have a jar of powdered turmeric, or some turmeric root, in your pantry at home...

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. You can use it to make a paste which can be placed directly on cuts and burns, to disinfect and promote quick healing.

2. It is a natural liver de-toxifier, acting against toxins such as alcohol.

3. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and can work as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs, without the nasty side-effects.

4. It has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

5. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.

6. Likewise, it can aid in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. 

7. Clinical studies have shown that turmeric may help to slow the progression of Alzheimers, by reducing the build up of amyloid proteins in the brain. 

8. Because of its rich stores of antioxidants, laboratory studies indicate that curcumin is useful in the treatment of many types of cancer. For example, it kills cultures of leukaemia cells; it appears to cause melanoma cells to 'commit suicide', slowing the growth of the cancer; and studies are ongoing to determine the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma. 

Turmeric is considered a 'safe' herb and is used widely in cooking throughout the world. Although overdoing it could lead to an upset stomach, it would seem that a little sprinkle of spice in our food would do us all the world of good!

If already taking blood thinning medicine, such as warfarin, turmeric should be avoided. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before taking a turmeric supplement. 

1 musings:

Faerie Moon Creations said...

I never knew all these facts about turmeric - and I use it often in recipes. I've also never seen it in its natural state - only powdered. Fascinating stuff - thanks for sharing! Theresa

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