Both ancient and modern medicine believe that medicines from plants play a pivotal role in health care. From the family of the ginger plant, turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is one of the celebrated discoveries in Indian culture. With around 40 to 45 species, the Curcuma is a widely known plant that is perennial and herbaceous and comes with a warm, bitter, and earthy aroma.
Turmeric has hundreds of bioactive molecular components. 20 of these molecules are said to possess antibiotic properties, 14 such molecules have cancer-preventive properties, 12 have radical antitumor agents, and 10 of those are different antioxidants.
‘Curcumin’ is the active ingredient present in turmeric that is responsible for the benefits of turmeric. The raw state of turmeric contains only 4-5% of curcumin. The curcumin is extracted and mixed with black pepper and sold as a separate supplement. It provides the basis for several medical research studies.
Curcumin has protective properties, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic active agents that prevent deterioration of food, protects degeneration of living tissues, and is responsible for increasing lifespan and physical condition. The diets that include this powerful substance are stable and protect the biomolecules in the body at a rapid rate.
Turmeric in Ayurveda
Turmeric is a significant part of Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric was earlier used as a dye, and due to its excellent properties and benefits, it was later used as a medicine. The yellow dye was used in Southeast Asia for a long time to colour the robes of the monks and priests. The medicinal plant was called 'Indian Saffron' in Medieval Europe. In India, the nabapatrika (Indian Ritual) comprises the turmeric plant as one of the most essential components.
Traditionally, this medicinal plant was utilised as a therapeutic component in various parts of the world. The Ayurveda practices believed in the benefits of turmeric in the field of medicine for strengthening the overall energy, improving digestion, balancing the menstrual cycles, treating worms, and even dissolving gallstones. It was renowned for its antiseptic properties that heal cuts, wounds, and burns, and the antibacterial agents present in it would enhance the process.
Experts believe that this ayurvedic agent can purify the blood and treat various skin issues effectively. Turmeric is often ground into a paste and applied over skin and hair for lustre and growth. The turmeric paste has also been traditionally applied to Hindu Indian brides and grooms before their wedding to get radiant and healthy skin that would fight the bacteria away.
Ayurvedic experts and renowned scholars have maintained well-documented records of this excellent medicinal plant, which is used for treating respiratory, liver, and diabetic conditions, along with even regular cough and runny nose. The benefits of turmeric are also found in treating swelling, sprains, and bruises.
Ayurvedic medicine approved the turmeric plant as a beneficial treatment to subdue and detoxify the body from phlegm, or Kapha imbalance. This treatment helps in improving blood circulation and opening and clearing blood vessels. The benefits of turmeric are exceptional when consumed in food like rice and lentils. It helps in reducing bloating and indigestion.
The turmeric plant has cholagogue, which stimulates bile production in the liver and gallbladder, thus improving the digestion process of the body. It is also effective in treating intestinal issues and regular colds and coughs.
Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric
This Ayurvedic flowering plant of the ginger family has numerous advantages as a medicinal agent, which are as follows.
Arthritic Pain: The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric plant is an exceptional component to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidant properties of the plant destroy the free radicals in the system. It is a potent element in reducing and curing mild joint pain. The turmeric extracts with other medicinal herbs are beneficial in reducing pain and restoring little function in knee osteoarthritis.
Brain Function: The benefits of turmeric are found productive in improving the stem cells of the brain. The curcumin restores and replenishes the brain cells that escalate the recovery of neurological disorders like strokes and Alzheimer's.
Digestion: The raw turmeric plant is considered an excellent tool for reducing the symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas in the body. The regular consumption of the medicinal plant relieves the system from digestive problems.
Healing Properties: The turmeric plant is considered a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent that has marvellous healing powers. The benefits of turmeric can be availed in any manner, like raw turmeric, turmeric powder, turmeric oil, or even paste. Powdered turmeric is sprinkled over the wound to enhance the healing process. The Ayurvedic experts still recommend availing the benefits of turmeric before resorting to antibiotic tablets. The home remedy of boiled milk and turmeric has been a trusted concoction that has been passed from one generation to the next. It is considered an advantageous blend for cold, internal wounds, bruises, and even leech bites.
The benefits of turmeric are evident in relieving scorpion stings as well. The traditional healers believed that sprinkling turmeric powder over burnt charcoal and exposing the sting area to the smoke was advantageous. The paste formulated with turmeric, lime juice, and salt was a common remedy for sprains and inflamed joints.
The paste even provided relief from ringworms, itchy skin, eczema, and other parasites that fed on the skin. The smoke of burning turmeric helps flush out copious amounts of mucus and alleviates congestion. Turmeric was often used in the kitchen to repel insects. It was also considered a common remedy for severe snake bites or poison.
Diabetes: The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin longa are effective in delaying the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. The credible agent aids in regulating the insulin levels of the body and boosts the efficacy of the medication consumed for the same.
Liver Problems: The cogent flowering plant has the power to increase the capacity of vital enzyme production and detoxify the blood by breaking down and flushing toxins out of the system. The benefits of turmeric are evident in promoting a healthy liver by boosting blood circulation.
Several studies prove that the Ayurvedic methods of using turmeric have positive effects on people with liver problems. It reduces the build-up of fat and toxic bacteria. Turmeric is an effective tool to reduce the level of triglycerides, blood fat within the body.
Balancing Doshas: The Ayurvedic propounders have provided well-researched and proven studies that authenticate the benefits of turmeric in healing and balancing the doshas of our body (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Healers believe that medicine taken internally in the form of tea, juice, or powder has astounding results. It has a direct link to the reduction of depression symptoms for people consuming antidepressants.
Kidney: The effectual and beneficial turmeric properties are medically proven to have reduced side effects in long-term kidney diseases. It enhances the good bacteria in the body that fight the side effects of heavy medication.
Skin: Turmeric has been effective in incurring skin infections, aiding blood circulation, rescuing irritations and acne, and even reducing inflammation. Turmeric extract is added to various creams, lotions, masks, pastes, gels, and ointments. Turmeric paste was considered a valuable agent in treating chickenpox, smallpox, ulcers, skin blemishes, and shingles.
Jaundice: Traditionally, the Charaka Samhita believed that Ayurveda has an effective remedy for jaundice. The benefits of turmeric are added to triphala, neem bark, bala, and liquorice, cooked in milk and ghee, and then inhaled.
Haemorrhoids (Piles): The benefits of turmeric have been noticeable in the treatment of haemorrhoids. The medicinal paste prepared with turmeric, hemp leaves, and warm mustard oil was applied over the haemorrhoids when they were painful and protruding.
These components present in turmeric work collectively in protecting and shielding the biomolecules in the body and stimulating its defenses. The activity of the curcumin agent present in turmeric encourages natural detoxification of the body that aids it in healing and preserving itself naturally. Many studies have revealed that 98% of the diseases and ailments that occur in the body are controlled by a molecule NF-Kappa B.
This powerful protein, when imbalanced, promotes abnormal inflammatory responses in the body and can lead to various types of cancer, arthritis, and a wide range of other diseases. The curcumin in turmeric has medicinal qualities that can effectively subdue and lessen the production and effects of NF-Kappa B, which may work in preventing numerous diseases that threaten our world.
The holistic medicine approach, Ayurveda, uses plant-based formulations to treat ailments. The benefits of turmeric have been recognized by modern medicine in the last 25 years, with more than 3000 publications, and both seem to believe that these plant-based medicines play an essential role in health care.
Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.