Tune up with Turmeric- Part II
Ordinary people in India have been using tumeric in various ways. For example, when there is a fresh wound from which blood is leaking, the Indian housewife calmly applies the safest remedy—haldi—that contains turmeric. Now she has been proved right because turmeric is an excellent antiseptic and so prevents bacterial infection. Or when someone complains about frequent cold, running nose and coughs, she administers honey mixed with turmeric or turmeric mixed in milk. “A teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of warm milk used three times daily has long been considered an effective Ayurvedic treatment for colds and influenza”. When turmeric paste is applied externally it is very effective as a cure for bruising, eye infections, inflammation of the oral mucosa, various skin diseases and infected wounds. In India it has been regarded as a powerful medicine for curing leprosy, bronchitis, nosebleeds, and conjunctivitis.
In South India a lot of women still retain habit of taking a sacrosanct Friday oil bath with the application of Haldi. The turmeric in Haldi is sure to heal skin diseases if any and ensure hairless bodies. Turmeric is so auspicious that its leaves are tied around the vessel used to cook auspicious rice on the harvest festival in January. In North India Haldi is applied lavishly both on the bride and the groom as part of traditional wedding ceremonies. It is done to ensure smooth shining skin and also to ward off the ‘evil eye.’
A commercial use of turmeric is as a dye to color cotton, silk, paper, wood and cosmetics.
A lot of research has been conducted on the medicinal value of turmeric. Several amazing results have been published over the years. A really amazing recent finding is that a curry that has a very high percentage of turmeric may “slow Alzheimer’s”. This was the finding of a team of researchers from the University of California who studied the effects of turmeric used in food. They concluded, “Turmeric may play a role in slowing down the progression of the neurodegenerative disease.” The research was motivated by the fact that “Alzheimer’s affects just 1% of people over the age of 65 living in some Indian villages.” The researchers believe that there “finding may help to explain why rates of Alzheimer’s are much lower among the elderly in India than in their Western peers”. Turmeric has been found by them to be capable of reducing the amyloid plaques whose build-up in the form of knots in the brain is believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s. Dr Richard Harvey, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said that turmeric has both “anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” He added
“Drugs with similar properties could potentially be used as preventive for Alzheimer’s disease”.
However, he suggested that it might take years before such drugs are made widely available.
Turmeric is found to have health benefits like these: it helps digestion; helps fight infection; guards against heart attacks. Turmeric has traditionally been used in India as an “anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, colorant, antiseptic and wound healer”. The healing properties of turmeric has been so widely recognized that it is one of the “most sought after ingredient in cosmetics and drugs”. The oil extracted from the leaves is found to be very effective as a biopesticide. All traditional medical systems in India including Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha use it extensively in their various medicines. In Ayurveda it has been studied and used as a medical agent for thousands of years. Its antiarthritic use has also been proved. Because of its anti-inflammatory property, turmeric is excellent for treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It has been put to very effective medical use in other countries like China, Japan, and Korea
As well for effective cure from Amenorrhea. In several countries the anti-inflammatory property of turmeric is being studied carefully because its effect is found to be noticeable in patients suffering from inflammatory rheumatic disease. Though clear evidence is yet to be documented, turmeric has been looked upon as if it were a magic drug indeed.