Turmeric: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

India is a hub for many herbaceous plant species, which has immense use in the medical field. Turmeric is a very well-known spice used as a dye, flavoring, and it has its importance in the medical field. In India, turmeric is known as “queen spice” because of its sharp flavor and golden yellowish color. The turmeric is scientifically known as Curcuma longa L. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It is a perennial herbal plant with a short stem, oblong leaves, and pyriform rhizomes.

The rhizomes or roots are mostly branched, and they appear in brownish yellow color. From ancient times, turmeric is used in marriages for the Haldi ceremony because it provided luster and glow to the skin, helping maintain its vitality. The turmeric benefits are not limited to keeping healthy skin, but also it has other important medicinal properties like antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, etc.

Sources of Turmeric

Turmeric is widely cultivated in India, followed by other countries like Thailand, Indonesia, China, and Africa. There are two main varieties of commercially grown turmeric: “Alleppey” and “Madras” in India. In the United States, “Alleppey-turmeric” is imported as a spice and food colorant.

Other Names for Turmeric

  • In Sanskrit, it is known as Ameshta, Bhadra, hridayavilasini, jwarantika and suvarnavarna.
  • In Hindi, it is known as Haldi.
  • In Marathi, it is known as Halad.
  • In English, it is known as Indian saffron.
  • In Kannada, it is known as Arisina and Arishina.
  • In Tamil, it is known as Manjal.
  • In Telugu, it is known as Pasupu and Haridra.
  • In Malayalam, it is known as Manjal.

Important chemical constituents of Turmeric

Several important constituents present in the turmeric rhizomes, and scientists are still trying to reveal their importance in human health. The two major constituents which have a huge demand and medicinal importance are non-volatiles and volatiles components.

Non-volatile components: Curcuminoid (it majorly imparts the coloring properties), Curcumin (three different types curcumin III (0.3%), curcumin II (6%), and curcumin I (94%)). 

Volatile components: Zingiberene (25%), sesquiterpines (53%), cineol (1%), a-phellandrene (1%), borneol (0.5%) and sabinene (0.6%).

Traditional uses of Turmeric

  • Turmeric is used in households for treating cough, anorexia, dysentery, abdominal pain, respiratory ailments, and dental disorder.
  • It is also used for treating gastrointestinal disorders like liver disease, ulcers, and flatulence.
  • Macerated rhizomes of turmeric and lime are used to treat inflammation caused by injury and relieve muscle pain.
  • Freshly prepared turmeric paste is used in a perineal laceration to facilitate the wound healing after the delivery.
  • The turmeric paste is an excellent antiseptic, and that is why it is applied to the umbilical core of newly born babies.
  • It is known that turmeric paste is applied to the skin during eye infections, burns, and bites.
  • The combination of turmeric and neem is very effective in treating chickenpox, smallpox, and measles (rubella).

Therapeutic uses of Turmeric

  • Turmeric is used to prepare anticancer formulations.
  • The intake of turmeric and its products can enhance cortisone production in adrenal glands, reducing inflammation by reducing the histamine level. 
  • Turmeric helps to detoxify the body and improve liver health.
  • Turmeric plays an important role in reducing platelet aggregation, which improves blood circulation and protects against atherosclerosis.

Turmeric and its relevance to the skin health

  1. Turmeric has a strong anti-bacterial property, and therefore it can help in any bacterial infection on the skin.
  2. Several cream or lotion-based formulations are prepared using turmeric, which showed great potential to reduce the hairs on the face and acne infections and improve skin naturality.
  3. Tetrahydrocurcumin is a component that is an off-white powder, and it is an excellent cutaneous antioxidant used in Topical formulations.
  4. Turmeric contains Curcuminoids, and it has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Due to this, it is used as a cosmeceutical.
  5. The gel form of Curcumin is used in treating photodamaged skin (solar elastoses, solar lentigines, and actinic poikiloderma).

Turmeric and its anti-cancer properties

  1. There is enough scientific evidence available on turmeric, which shows its antimutagenic properties. 
  2. Turmeric can help prevent new cancers caused due to the chemotherapy used in treating the cancer situation.
  3. The research has shown that turmeric can inhibit the uncontrolled spread (metastasis) of skin cancer by arresting the carcinogens produced through the chewing of tobacco and smoking.

Other health conditions and relevance of Turmeric 

  1. Turmeric is used in treating joint pain-related conditions; it helps in reducing inflammation.
  2. The continuous intake of turmeric in the diet can reduce tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis.
  3. The mixture of turmeric and alum powder proportionally is used in treating otorrhoea.

Health benefits of Turmeric 

  1. Turmeric decoction prepared from fresh rhizomes is used in an internal application to treat a snake bite, vomiting during pregnancy, and leprosy.
  2. Turmeric paste can help in creating the essential blood clot when applied to the injury. 
  3. Turmeric formulation on the site of injury plays the role of sanitizer. It also helps in tissue formation, wound contraction, and triggers the skin healing process.
  4.  Some scientific data shows the interaction between white adipose tissue and curcumin; this helps suppress unnecessary fat in the body.
  5. Turmeric can trigger the gallbladder for bile production, improving the digestion process and fat metabolism.
  6.  Due to the strong antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric components, it is an ideal constituent for making skin base formulations. 
  7. There insufficient scientific data available that showed that turmeric has importance in treating Alzheimer’s disease. 

Recommended Dosage of Turmeric

The ayurvedic dosage of Turmeric varies according to its variants. Different forms of Turmeric products

FormPreparationRecommended dosage/ day
Churna1/4 tsp of churna or turmeric powder can be taken with lukewarm milk or water.2 times
JuiceThe turmeric juice can be prepared by crushing the fresh rhizomes. 3-4 tsp of Turmeric juice can be made up to one glass with lukewarm milk or water.2 times
Tea1/4 tsp of churna or turmeric powder can be boiled with one glass of water for 5 – 10 min. For better appetite and flavour it can be taken with lemon juice and honey.2 times
Turmeric water5 g of churna or turmeric powder, 2 cloves, and 2 dried leaves of guava can be boiled with 200 g of water.2 times
Turmeric paste1 tsp of churna or turmeric powder with ½ tsp of table salt and mustard oil.2 times

Preparation of healthy Turmeric milk

  1. Clean the fresh turmeric rhizomes with running water and peel them.
  2. Grate it into the smaller size pieces.
  3. Take milk and allow it to heat.
  4. Then add the black pepper powder and grated turmeric into the hot milk, allow it to stand for 2-3 min.
  5. Strain the whole mixture.
  6. For taste, add the honey and mix it well.
  7. It should be taken during the lukewarm condition.

Some diseased condition-based recommended dosage of Turmeric

Disease conditionDosageTime/ Span
OsteoarthritisTurmeric extract: 500 mg2 times/ day for 3 months
High cholesterolTurmeric extract: 700 mg2 times/ day for 3 months
Itchy skinTurmeric extract: 500 mg3 times/ day for 2 months

Precautions While Using Turmeric

  • Pregnant women should consult the doctors before taking any turmeric supplements since it is unclear whether their intake impacts pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • In patients suffering, Haemophilia should consult the doctors since turmeric components have shown the interaction with blood components, which probably can slow down blood clotting.
  • The intake of turmeric in diabetic conditions can cause a very sharp drop in blood sugar levels. 

FAQs

Is turmeric beneficial in Alzheimer’s disease?

Yes, it is beneficial in Alzheimer’s situation. Turmeric components help in the reduction of the amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patient brain. The curcumin also reduces the inflammation in brain cells due to its strong anti-inflammatory property. The combined effect of curcumin is very effective in curing Alzheimer’s disease.

Whether Turmeric intake has any side effects?

No, Turmeric is an essential spice that is daily taken into our diet, and it has lots of health benefits. But it is also important to know that turmeric synergistically with some anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin, clopidogrel, and aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding, so it is important to consult the doctor/ dietician in this situation.

Is turmeric helpful in Depression?

Yes, Depression is a situation in which the higher inflammation of nerve cells decreases serotonin levels in the brain. Curcumin from Turmeric, due to its strong anti-inflammatory property, can induce depression.

Is turmeric helpful in cough?

Yes, the formulations prepared from turmeric’s volatile components have helped remove sputum, which further relieves cough. It is also helpful in preventing asthma.

What is the relation between turmeric milk and diabetes?

The turmeric milk recipe is straightforward, and turmeric milk indeed has beneficial for diabetes condition. It enhances the production of insulin by the liver and helps to regulate blood glucose levels. This is possible since the curcumin of Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

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