Why Turmeric is considered holy in India and what is the use of it?
Turmeric is considered holy in India. It been a part in the everyday life of Indians for over centuries. They use it in their food, apply it to their face, apply it their door frame, use it for devotional purposes and in a lot many ways. They believe and treat it as a very sacred one.
Turmeric has been a part in the Indian culture over centuries especially in some parts like Andhra, tamil, Bengal. It is considered so sacred that in most parts of south India a dried turmeric tuber tied with string which is used temporarily or permanently as “Mangalasutra” of Hindus in India. We Indians make Small idol of Lord Ganesha, The God of Obstacles, using turmeric paste for devotional prayers during festivals and other auspicious moments.
what is the real science behind use of Tumeric ?
Here are some scientific facts that i came to know while researching about this topic :(Though there are a lot many reasons ).
Indians use Turmeric powder in cookings (though we add very little). Many people think they are adding Turmeric for colour. Though colour is also a reason which brings a beautiful golden glow to the curries, apart from this the main reason, which lot of people don’t know is that it acts as an anti-biotic which makes Food bacteria free for hours. The curmin in turmeric delay the liver damage which can eventually lead to cirrhosis. (proved experimentally at the Medical University Graz in Austria).
Turmeric helps in controlling the spreading of breast cancer to lungs (proven by researchers at university of texas). Some indian women apply turmeric paste to their faces and to their foot daily, and especially during marriages, festivals and other auspicious days. Doing so is a part of indian culture. The scientifc advantage is, it is useful to prevent and also to treat certain forms of skin cancer (Proven by researchers at university of texas) & Also helps to cure the cracks in the foot.
According to American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Because of these various factors Turmeric has a prominent role in treating many problems.
Turmeric also helps to :
1. Controls diabetes,
2. reduces cholestral,
3. boosts the immunity,
4. heals wounds faster,
5. prevents memory loss,
6. improves digestion,
7. cures cancer( completely not proven still under research).
We know that Turmeric is a part of our culture and our medicial technology since ancients and been in use for thousands of years. Yet in 1990s University of Mississippi medical center was awarded the patent on Turmeric and it’s exclusive use in healing wounds. However the patent was challenged by Indian Council scientific and industrial research 2 years later. In 1997 the patent has been revoked, because of the strong evidences that prove the extensive use of turmeric ever since ancient period and it’s mentioning in sanskrit writings which date back to thousands of years.
Turmeric….the ultimate medicine
History: In some languages, the names of turmeric just mean “yellow root”. English (turmeric) derives from the French terre-mérite meaning “meritorious earth” probably because ground turmeric resembles mineral pigments (ocher). Turmeric was used in Biblical times as a perfume as well as a spice. The earliest record of turmeric comes from an ancient Assyrian herbal in about 600 BC. Some say it came into use in the West through the sun-worshippers of Persia when their supply of saffron ran out.
Turmeric held a place of honor in India’s traditional Ayurvedic medicine. A symbol of prosperity, it was considered a cleansing herb for the whole body. Medically, it was used as a digestive aid and treatment for fever, infections, dysentery, arthritis, and jaundice and other liver problems. In Hindu ceremony it represents fertility. Turmeric boiled with milk and drunk last thing before going to bed is considered to be the best medicine for an irritating dry cough.
Traditional Chinese physicians also used turmeric to treat liver and gallbladder problems, stop bleeding, and treat chest congestion and menstrual discomforts. In the 1870s, chemists discovered turmeric’s orange-yellow root powder turned reddish brown when exposed to alkaline chemicals This discovery led to the development of “turmeric paper,” thin strips of tissue brushed with a decoction of turmeric, then dried. During the late 19th century, turmeric paper was used in laboratories around the world to test for alkalinity. Eventually, it was replaced by litmus paper. In the Middles Ages it was called “Indian or Eastern saffron”.
The shepherds of Nepal cook their rice in turmeric. Before they set out to herd their sheep high in the mountains, they daub the turmeric paste upon the chakra between their eyebrows. It is believed that this will provide blessings, success and protection when driving their sheep on long, perilous journeys through the mountain path.
In Indonesia, rice dyed with turmeric has traditionally formed part of the wedding ritual feast, and it was the custom for the bride and groom to tinge their arms with the coloring also. In the same country, it was traditionally smeared on the abdomen of women after childbirth and applied as an ointment to the cut cord of the baby, both for healing and as a protection against evil spirits.
In India they say that the external application of turmeric suppresses the unwelcome growth of hair on female skin. In parts of Asia turmeric water is used as a cosmetic, to lend a golden glow to the complexion. It was once widely used as a body paint. In India, they also believe that sometimes tree spirits leave their homes and enter into human beings, in which case they have to be exorcised. The exorcist detects the presence of the spirit by lighting a piece of turmeric root, because no ghost can stand the smell of burnt turmeric.
Nutritional profile. One teaspoon ground turmeric has 8 calories. It provides 0.2 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 4 mg calcium, 0.9 mg iron and 0.6 mg vitamin C
Constituents: mainly turmerone (60%), with ar-tumerone, artlantones, zingiberene, cineol, borneol, sabinene, and phellandrene
Properties: cholagogue, choleretic, emmenagogue, aromatic stimulant, alterative, analgesic, astringent, antiseptic
Energetics: spicy, bitter, warm
Meridians/Organs Affected: heart, liver, lung
Medicinal Uses: Turmeric is a choleretic, an agent that stimulates the liver to increase its production of bile. This yellow brown or green fluid helps emulsify fats in your duodenum and increases peristalsis, the rhythmic contractions that move food through your gastrointestinal tract.
Turmeric is also a cholagogue, an agent that stimulates the gallbladder and biliary duct to discharge bile and increases your body’s excretion of cholesterol. Turmeric is useful for preventing and treating gallstones, according to Commission E. In one study, mice with experimentally induced gallstones were placed on special feed containing a modest amount of curcumin, and within five weeks their gallstone volume had dropped 45%. After ten weeks they had 80% fewer gallstones than untreated mice. Choleretics and cholagogues are ordinarily beneficial for healthy people but may pose some problems for people with gallbladder or liver disease. Some other choleretic herbs are ginger, oregano and peppermint.
The fleshy tuber-like rhizome is used. It contains a volatile oil and a water-soluble yellow pigment. Its usefulness as a gallbladder remedy in the narrower sense has been demonstrated. The cholagogue and choleretic action is quite powerful, and recent investigations have shown it to be primarily due to the yellow pigment. The drug is prescribed as a tea or infusion: Curcuma rhizome, chopped….Add 1 tablespoonful to a glass of water and boil briefly. 3 glasses per day. Curcuma infusion DRF: curcuma rhizome infusion 6.0/180.0 and Peppermint water to make 200.0…..1 tablespoonful three times daily.
A daily dose of ¼ tsp of turmeric strengthens the body’s immune defenses in as little as one week. The credit goes to turmeric’s antioxidants, which stimulate immune cells to divide rapidly during viral attacks.
The people of Java call this plant temoe lavak. In India and other Asian countries it has a long tradition as a popular remedy for jaundice and liver disease. There is no doubt that it can be effective, particularly where bile flow needs to be thoroughly stimulated, but it is doubtful if it achieves more than our native drugs, and indeed unlikely, as it is not always indicated. Above all it lacks spasmolytic and carminative properties. The yellow pigment has a marked irritant effect on the gastric mucosa, so that caution in indicated where there is a tendency to hyperacidity or where there is simple irritable stomach.
To treat minor wounds, wash them with soap and water, then sprinkle on some powdered herb and bandage. For an infusion to help aid digestion and possibly help promote heart health, use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder per cup of warm milk. Drink up to 3 cups a day. These infusions may also offer a measure of protection to the liver and help ease the inflammation of arthritis. Turmeric tastes pleasantly aromatic, but in large amounts, it becomes somewhat bitter.
Turmeric regulates the menses, relieves menstrual pains and helps reduce uterine tumors. Used externally or internally, turmeric promotes healing in cases of trauma or injury. In India, it’s a traditional ulcer treatment and in animal studies it’s been shown to stimulate the stomach lining to produce more protective mucus.
In Chinese medicine, turmeric invigorates the blood and unblocks menstruation; for chest or abdominal pain, amenorrhea, or dysmenorrhea due to blood stasis caused by cold from deficiency. Also used for pain and swelling due to trauma. It promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain; for epigastric and abdominal pain due to stagnant qi. It expels wind and promotes the movement of blood; for wind-dampness painful obstruction with blood stasis, especially in the shoulders. Contraindicated in cases of blood deficiency without stagnant qi or blood stasis.
Research shows: Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has an even stronger action than hydrocortisone, according to research studies conducted between 1971 and 1991.
When applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, turmeric is strongly antibacterial. Curcumin is the constituent responsible for this action. Curcumin is also more strongly antioxidant than vitamin E. In lab and animal studies, it’s been shown to protect LDL cholesterol from being “oxidized. In India, in 1992, researchers gave ten healthy volunteers a half a gram of turmeric a day for seven days. That’s an amount you might get in your diet if it includes curry. They measured the level of oxidative by-products of blood cholesterol. After a week, it fell 33%. Blood cholesterol fell, too, by 12%. Turmeric can also dilate blood vessels, so it may lower blood pressure as it’s done in animal studies. Research is also being done with HIV.
Turmeric may be a valuable preventive remedy for those at risk of developing cancer.