Turmeric (haldi ) – the spice at par

Turmeric is considered auspicious in India and has been used in various Hindu ceremonies since centuries. It remains popular in India for wedding, religious ceremonies and also as integral part of Indian cuisine.
Synonyms: Haridra , kanchni ,nisha , harita ,varnadayi
Latin name: Curcuma longa
General description: The plant of Turmeric is a perennial herb, which is 60 -90 cm high. It has a short stem, its leaves are up to one meter long, has a large rootstock ovoid tubers thick, bright yellow and cylindrical in shape. Flowers of the turmeric appear on a spike like the stalk.
Parts used and dosage: mainly its rhizome and leaves are used for different purposes .
Dose for powder approx 2 to 4gm, fresh juice: 5 to 10ml
Ayurvedic properties: It is slightly bitter and pungent in taste , pungent in post digestive effect (vipaka). Haridra is hot in potency and also possess light and dry attributes .According to ayurvedic texts it balances all three bodily doshas (vata , pitta and kapha ).Great sage Acharya Charaka had categorized it under group of herbs which are best for improvement of complexion , is good antitoxin , can be efficiently used for all sort of skin ailments , itching ,one which relieves body of worm infections ,having antiseptic properties , along to be used in panchkarma( particularly Nasya karma for eyes and ENT disorders).Beside this it is also considered to be good for liver ailments particularly jaundice , one of the best antidiabetic , beneficial for lactating mothers and also helps in healthy formation of blood .
Medicinal uses: Turmeric can be used both internally and as an external applicant for curing and prevention of wide range of diseases. On the basis of Ayurvedic texts and several researches some of its uses are listed below.

⇒Externally its paste is applied for innumerable benefits such as
• For improving complexion it is applied along with red chandan powder.
• On traumatic wounds : being one of the best anti-inflammatory herb it effectively reduces the pain and swelling of wounds
• Drying body lesions: It is potent antipruritic herb (which relieves itching) so helps in drying wounds and lesions.
• For sprains and swollen joints : It is used alone or in combination with various herbs in oils or ghee to be applied on region of joint pain or sprains
• On piles: its paste with aloe vera gel is one of very effective remedy for piles.
• As facial scrub: for acne and smooth radiant complexion of skin.
• As teeth cleanser: haldi mixed with mustard oil and salt show good results in all sort of dental problems.

⇒In panchkarma (one of the best detoxification procedures of ayurveda ) haldi is very commonly used particularly in nasya (i.e. administration of herb through nasal passage).Inhalation of its fumes is highly effective in all sort of head , eye and ENT disorders particularly sinusitis , cough , asthma , headaches , trigeminal neuralgia etc.

⇒Eyes: particularly for conjunctivitis can be used as healthy eye wash.

⇒Respiratory ailments: It is commonly used remedy for cough with hot milk. Can also be given with honey in cold, sinusitis and rhinitis internally as well as externally inhaled as fumes.

⇒Oral cavity: decoction of turmeric with mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is effective remedy to heal mouth ulcers.

⇒In Gastrointestinal disorders: as it is potent anti-inflammatory and good for worm infestations. So can be given for flatulence, abdominal pain .For worms 2gm of turmeric and 2gm of jaggery can be given twice a day for 4 days with decoction of Vaividanga (Embelia ribes).It also function as a good healer in ulcers.

⇒In liver disorders: It stimulates bile flow and shows very promising results in jaundice when given with buttermilk. It detoxifies blood so help in healthy blood formation so good for anaemic patients too.

⇒In skin diseases: one of the best herb for all sort of skin ailments. Prove to be highly effective when given with cow’s urine.

⇒Cardio protective: Turmeric promotes healthy circulation and keeps body’s cholesterol level in normal range. So protects heart from various fatal diseases.

⇒In Nervous disorders: Recent researches have shown its promising result in all sort of neurodegenerative conditions esp Alzheimer’s disease.

⇒Diabetes: Several ayurvedic texts consider it to be one of best remedy along with amla for keeping sugar levels in a normal range.

⇒Gout: condition of hyperuric acid can be very effectively managed by Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) , haldi and nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus).

⇒Gynaecological disorders: It’s considered to be one of best herb for lactating women. Its decoction works very well for leucorrhea and especially during postpartum period.

⇒As analgesic: It is highly efficient analgesic and can be given in inflamed body conditions such as arthritis.

⇒Anticancerous herb: Several studies have revealed its anticancerous property .Its regular use act as an antioxidant for preventing cancer and tumour growths.
Various formulations: Haridra khanda , haridradi taila , nishaamlaki churna etc.
Although this herb is safe to be used, already used in Indian kitchens and is very effective as a medicine too but still can be used under medical supervision.