Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial plant native to Southern Asia, known since Antiquity. It is a main ingredient for most types of currys.
Its rhizome, as oranges as a carrot, lends not only its color to the dish but also greatly enhances its health benefits and therapeutic value.
Health benefits of turmeric
Indian and Chinese pharmacopeia have used turmeric for millennia, and Western doctors have been using it since the XIXth century to stimulate the liver, excite digestive and diuretic functions, treat jaundice, urinary disorders and joint inflammations. Today, turmeric demonstrates many more benefits.
- Turmeric can fight against stomach acid and stimulate digestion because it increases bile secretions.
- A compound called curcumin is found in turmeric, and thanks to it the plant slows propagation of cancerous cells since it restricts blood vessel growth around the tumor.
- Curcumin also lends turmeric its antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Studies have shown that turmeric may take action against Alzheimer’s disease, especially when used preventively, since it increases levels of vitamin E.
- Turmeric rhizomes have a remarkable effect on digestive disorders: stomach ailments, nausea and loss of appetite.
- Turmeric has beneficial activity as regards blood thickness.
- Topical use of turmeric poultices (turmeric powder with lukewarm water) shows wound-healing, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
- Be careful, in case of gallstones, medical consumption of turmeric is strongly discouraged.
Growing turmeric for its health benefits
You can easily grow it as an indoor plant (it won’t survive the winter cold) in a pot that is about 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Water it regularly for the soil to stay moist.
6 to 10 months later, you’ll be collecting your first harvest!
Watch out because the inside of the turmeric root will stain everything if you aren’t careful. Table cloths, clothes and other fabrics will take on a yellow hue! This coloring is virtually impossible to clean off.
Cooking with turmeric for its health benefits
Turmeric is involved in many culinary recipes, and is part of most curry preparations.
It can be used in soup and salad dressings, and with meat, eggs and vegetables.