People constantly rave about how they love Indian food. They savor the aroma and all the flavorful spices. The delectable tastes tantalize their taste buds and leave an indelible impression.
While Indian spices can enhance the enjoyment of any dish, they also have medicinal properties. Each spice used in Indian cooking has multiple health benefits. Spices can be utilized in a number of home remedies for healing common ailments naturally. I’ll be exploring a new spice and its uses in each monthly blog.
According to Ayurveda, each food has at least one of six tastes or rasas: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. We require each taste in our diet.
One of the best health promoting spices in Ayurveda is turmeric. Turmeric is pungent, bitter and astringent. It may be consumed by all three Ayurvedic body types, but may increase Pitta dosha if used excessively, as it’s heating. Turmeric is anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-flatulent, and a decongestant.
Turmeric derives from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa, which is a member of the ginger family. Curcumin is the most active component of turmeric and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric maintains the flora of the intestines and helps guard against gastric disorders. It’s a natural antiseptic, antibacterial agent and blood cleanser, useful in disinfecting cuts, burns, wounds, and other skin infections.
Taking turmeric is a natural way to detox the liver. Curcumin has been found to help increase the flow of bile, which is an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat.
For diabetics, turmeric may be taken to help regulate blood sugar. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and pain relieving properties, turmeric is used for arthritis pain. Multiple studies have shown that turmeric has anti-cancerous properties.
- For a cough, tonsillitis, or pharyngitis, boil 1 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of turmeric on the stove for a few minutes and drink at bedtime.
- For a sore throat, gargle with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon mineral salt in 1 cup of warm water several times a day.
- For cuts, wounds, fungal infections, and athlete’s foot, apply a mixture of ½ teaspoon turmeric and 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel to the affected area.
- For swelling from injury, apply a paste of turmeric and water to the area.
- For swollen gums and canker sores, apply turmeric powder directly to the affected areas.
- For upper respiratory congestion, dry cough, or asthma, boil 1 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of turmeric on the stove and drink at bedtime.
Many Indians start their day by brushing their teeth, scraping their tongue, and then drinking a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of turmeric as a preventive measure.
The easiest way to use turmeric is to add it to your food. It may also be taken in tablet form. Turmeric also comes in a liquid extract or tincture form making for easier assimilation into the bloodstream. Please consult your health care practitioner or medical professional for advice on how to best incorporate natural healing modalities into your life.