"Let the kitchen be thy apothecary and let food be your medicine" - Hippocrates
Wonder Spice: Tumeric
By PRIYA MENON
Wonder Spice: Tumeric
By PRIYA MENON
SPICES are used in Indian cooking not only for their flavour but also for the health benefits they provide. The spice that is widely used for its curative benefits is the turmeric.
It is classified as a wonder spice. Its healing properties are revered and it is used in daily meal preparation in the Indian kitchen till today.
Benefits of turmeric
Turmeric is known for its medicinal properties. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which has the same healing power as any other anti-inflammatory medicines.
Indians have been using turmeric to treat internal ulcers for thousands of years. It is used in treating cuts and burns and as a liver detoxifier. Tumeric is also applied on the face to prevent pimples. These are just some of the benefits of turmeric. It’s always a wise to seek advice from an experienced and certified traditional medical practitioner on the correct dosage of turmeric.
My first encounter with this spice was when I was seven and down with chicken pox. My mother would fill a tub with water and add neem leaves and turmeric powder. The mixture would be left to sit in the sun. By mid noon (depending on the strength of the sunlight), the tepid water is brought indoors.
The water was poured over my body and this ritual continued for a few days. I was too young to understand the significance of this ritual.
Years later, out of curiosity, I decided to investigate the logic behind it. Neem has antibacterial properties while turmeric is an antiseptic and antioxidant. Now, it all made sense.
I make turmeric tea once a month by steeping one level teaspoon of pure turmeric powder to one cup of hot water. Let it sit for 10 minutes and drink it. It acts as a detox agent.
Types of turmeric
Turmeric, slightly bitter in taste, is found in all Asian grocery stores. Turmeric is available in whole, powdered and tablet form. I use both powder and fresh turmeric in my cooking.
It’s always important to read the ingredients printed on the packet of your turmeric powder. It has to be pure and not adulterated. It should read pure turmeric powder.
Tumeric in cooking
Tumeric is widely used by other Asian communities in their cooking. I was introduced to Nasi Kunyit and the different versions of Lemak (creamy coconut gravy) by my Malay friends.
The next thing that comes to mind is the yellow tauhu (soy bean cake). You can hardly find them these days. You can eat them as they are. They are so tasty. They are salted, not too much, but just right.
The tauhu was always partnered with taugeh (bean sprouts). Thanks to our Chinese friends, the tauhu and taugeh often showed up on restaurant menus.
Indians tempered the spices before adding tauhu and the taugeh. Here are some recipes that you can make using the wonderful turmeric.
Potato Turmeric Masala
Tumeric Fried Fish
Source: Kuali.com - Tuesday, April 19, 2011
20 Health Benefits Of Turmeric
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.
The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease.
Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:
1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.
Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it's fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
Source: Health Diaries