Home Natural Healing Turmeric: The King of Spices

Turmeric: The King of Spices

written by Guest Blogger July 15, 2010

Editor’s Note: Just as we learned mango is king of the fruit, in this post we hear which spice rules the world! A terrific follow up to our last post, Natural Healing Tips, Cathryn Johnson enlightens us about the benefits of consuming turmeric.

When eating out, we face a lot of choices. And often when we think of healthy food, we think of bland, tasteless “delights.” But, recently I discovered that some of the most flavorful food in the world can actually have health benefits.

East Indian food is famous for its color, aroma and generous use of flavorful spices. Most people are well aware of the exotic taste these spices offer, but few are familiar their health benefits.

One of the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking, often referred to as the “King of Spices,” is turmeric.  Turmeric, which is also known as Indian Saffron, haldi or curcuma, has the same powdery consistency of ground red pepper. It is a slightly bitter, saffron-colored spice that is generally responsible for the color of Indian curries.

Turmeric is a flowering plant that is found in various parts of tropical Asia. Historically, Indian merchants used turmeric as a dye. It was not until much later that the health benefits of turmeric were discovered.

One of the first discovered healing benefits of turmeric was by the people of India who used it as a natural antiseptic or antibacterial agent. Even today, in India, turmeric is often applied to disinfect open wounds, much as we apply rubbing alcohol in the West. Turmeric is thought to help the healing of skin. Some research even shows that turmeric can prevent, or even heal, melanoma.

Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory effects that make it a natural arthritis treatment. Some would argue that it works as good as any of the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs on the market today, but without any of the side effects. Turmeric is even said to serve as a natural pain killer.

New studies show that turmeric may aid in the fight against cancer. When combined with cauliflower, turmeric can prevent prostate cancer and even help in the destruction of existing prostate cancer cells. Eating a diet that includes turmeric has also been shown to reduce the chances of childhood leukemia. And studies in mice show that turmeric may even help combat breast cancer.

Turmeric is not only used in India for its medicinal value, but also in China, turmeric has long been used to treat depression.

These are just a few of the benefits of adding turmeric to your diet. Other potential health benefits range from liver detoxification to slowing the effects of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for turmeric. However, it is suggested that the average adult can take approximately 500 milligrams a day. An upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues can result if excessive doses of turmeric are taken.

With all of these potential health benefits available to you, why not venture out for Indian food today?

About the Author

Cathryn Johnson is a freelance writer. She is currently a resident writer for Online Nursing Schools, which researches areas of nursing education, online nursing programs, and healthcare. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, theater and having fun in the sun.

One of my friends (originally from India) swears turmeric heals colds, too. He recommends mixing turmeric and honey in warm milk. Do you know of any home remedies made from turmeric?

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11 comments

Grace Cherian July 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Saffron is actually the King of Spices in East Indian cooking. It is the most prized and expensive spice in the world and has often surpassed gold in monetary value. However, saffron and turmeric, although completely different in origin, have been linked in the spice world for centuries. Turmeric is much cheaper than saffron. The two together create a punch that can enliven any cuisine with authentic flavour, or simply give a dish eye appeal with a brilliant yellow hue. While expensive, saffron increases the value perception of a dish like no other spice.

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Head Health Nutter July 18, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Hi Grace, thanks for sharing your saffron information. The same friend I referenced in the article above told me that many Indian dishes made with saffron are reserved for special occasions because of this perceived value of the spice.

He shared some incredible, spicy-sweet cookies with me a few weeks ago – his mother made them to commemorate his cousin having a baby. The slivers of red saffron in the cookie really added to it’s visual appeal but it was the taste that really blew me away!

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Grace Cherian July 19, 2010 at 6:05 am

Hi Step, I’ve never heard of strands of saffron actually being used to make cookies. They must have looked and tasted out of this world!

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Natural Healing Tips | Live Lighter August 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

[…] An antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Stay tuned for Thursday’s post, “Turmeric: The King of Spices” for more on this healing […]

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Head Health Nutter January 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Turmeric is even more powerful! Just read the article, “Golden Wonder Herb” http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/turmeric-the-golden-wonder-herb-much-more-than-just-a-spice

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uzma January 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hi .
i have finally adjusted tumeric milk as a bedtime drink and i am already feeling energetic , elated and pain free.
My grandmothers recipe which i saw her using when i was a kid and promised i would incorporate in my diet at age 40 , finally did at 42 .. Just a warm mug of milk with half 1/4 tsp 0f tumeric powder and 1/2 tsp of honey. enjoy to your benefit !!!

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Head Health Nutter January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

Uzma, thanks for this recipe! I’ve tried it before – it’s got an unusual (but not bad) taste. A friend shared it with me when I had a cold and he said it was a home remedy his family uses, too. It sounds like it’s working wonders for you – Yippee!

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Admin Husic January 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Hello, I recently bought some Turmeric Root powder/spice. I was going to mix it in water so that it can help in my fight against folliculitis, but I came to realize that the stuff is absolutely unpalatable. Is there any possible way I can down this stuff? It is suggested that I take 1 tbspoon of turmeric powder with 1/2 cup of water.

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Head Health Nutter January 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Hi Admin, yes, turmeric is a strong spice and you typically only need a teaspoon in most dishes when cooking with it. To take it with water, a tablespoon no less!, would be hard to swallow.

You could acclimatize your taste buds to the spice. What I mean is start with only a pinch of turmeric in your 1/2 cup of water for a few days to a week and slowly add more over time until you’re up to a tablespoon.

You could also try uzma’s recipe, using milk and honey, which might make it more palatable until you get more used to the taste of turmeric, then try it with the water. BUT, I don’t know anything about your condition and have no clue if milk and honey are good for it. It’s always a good idea to discuss what you’re doing to treat yourself with your health practitioner. Good luck!

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Laurie June 11, 2012 at 1:14 am

It comes in 300mg capsule form. My sister takes it for her cancer.

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lubna July 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I sell organic turmeric supplements and personally use them daily. I had very bad knees, could hardly climb up the stairs and that is where it all started. I am pain free now. Please look at my ebay page 150 organice turmeric capsules 1000 mg.

I fully agree, it is unpleasant to drink turmeric in milk or any drink and the one that you put in food is not enough.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.X150+organic+turmeric+capsules+1000+mg&_nkw=150+organic+turmeric+capsules+1000+mg&_sacat=0&_from=R40

Wish you all the best. I have also listed some of the health benefits this miracle food provides to human body.

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