IS TURMERIC REALLY A WONDER SPICE?
Q I’ve been reading a lot online about the benefits of turmeric. Is it really as powerful as it is being made out to be?
A Turmeric is one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic spices available. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has a wide range of therapeutic effects. Turmeric is also rich in manganese, iron, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and fibre.
I advise taking turmeric, either individually or mixed with other herbs and spices, for conditions such as arthritis, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, toothache, bruises, chest pain, colic, inflammatory bowel disease and allergic rhinitis.
The application of turmeric to the skin is effective for ringworm, bruising, insect bites, eye infections and inflammatory skin conditions. It is also found to have a protective effect on the liver, anti-tumour action, the ability to reduce inflammation and fight certain infections and tackle some forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin and colon. Turmeric can be included in food for daily intake – sprinkling the powder on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is safe and effective; the recommended dosage is 1-3g per day.
Excessive use of it, however, may cause an upset stomach in certain cases. It is also advised to take precautions during pregnancy, gall bladder problems, before and after a surgical procedure and while taking anti-coagulant medicines, among others.
The herb can be beneficial for preventing gallstones – but its use is contraindicated in patients with active gallstones. Here are some kitchen remedies for common conditions. Please consult your doctor before beginning the therapy.
Anaemia: Take a teaspoon of turmeric juice with a teaspoon of amla juice or with honey.
Burns: Apply turmeric mixed with aloe vera gel or honey.
Hyper-pigmentation: Mix turmeric and chickpea powder with water and use as a body scrub.
Aches and pains: Apply a paste of fresh turmeric over the muscle pain or inflammation.
To improve complexion: blend turmeric, chickpea flour, almond oil and honey and massage on your face before taking a shower.
Atopic eczema: Apply a mixture of turmeric (½ tsp) and coconut milk (2-3 Tbsp).
A word of caution: Turmeric powder from common spice mills might contain chilli and other spices. Make sure you are only using pure turmeric.
DR VL SHYAM is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner