What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a strong spice that is a member of the ginger family. It is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia and Africa and has a long history of use in herbal remedies, particularly in China, India, and Indonesia. Its’ botanical name is Curcuma longa and although unrelated it is often confused with or used as a substitute for saffron. The flavour of turmeric is often described as buttery and slightly bitter, with a hint of mustard and horseradish. It is known for its golden colour and is an important ingredient in curries, chutney and mustard pickles as well as being used to colour foods such as butter, cheese and fruit drinks.
The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin, and this is found within its root. The root is boiled dried and ground to form a yellow powder.
Turmeric is thought to have many uses and these include:
- Anti inflammatory
- Pain killer
- Arthritis treatment
- Natural antibiotic
- Stimulating fat metabolism
- Reducing psoriasis ( a paste is applied to the skin)
- Slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s
- Improving digestion especially in those with Chrons or Ulcerative Colitis as it helps prevent the inflammatory process which is a heavy component of these diseases
- Anti cancer properties
More detailed information regarding the science and research behind some uses can be found here at Natural News
Where can I source Turmeric?
Turmeric is available in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and grocery stores and is also sold as a tablet in health food stores. The usual dosage is between 250 and 500 mg.
Is it Safe for Everyone?
Turmeric is safe for most adults however there are a few exceptions. Due to the fact it stimulates the uterus, it is not recommended for pregnant women. It is also not advised for those with gall bladder disease, gallstones or anyone taking medication to thin the blood.
Turmeric Cooking Tips
• Turmeric goes well with chicken, duck, turkey, vegetables, rice, and salad dressing.
• Turmeric is extremely pungent, and actually gets stronger when cooked. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly when experimenting.
• Avoid touching your clothing when using turmeric. It is a powerful yellow dye.
• Substitute 1 teaspoon dry mustard for 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
• It is suggested to use black pepper in conjunction with turmeric to optimise any potential health benefits.
Here’s a link to some popular turmeric recipes