Turmeric, known as Curcuma longa, is part of the Zingiberaceae family, which is more commonly known as the ginger family. Turmeric is native to southern India and Indonesia, and has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine, a great addition to many foods, and in ancient times, a perfume. Turmeric is known for its bright yellow-orange color that creates a unique tint and taste to many foods, such as curries and rice. The turmeric plant is a perennial plant that has long leaves connected to branch-like orange rhizomes that lie underground. Even though turmeric is known for adding a warm, bitter taste to foods, it is also known for its many medicinal benefits. Turmeric contains active compounds, such as curcuminoids which is believed to contain the antioxidant properties of turmeric as well as what gives it its distinctive color. Turmeric is super versatile and has been used for many different societal needs.
Benefits of the Many Forms of Turmeric
The many medicinal benefits of this “miracle herb” are countless, and can range from small medical issues such as coughs to more serious medical concerns such as cancer. Turmeric is also popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. By helping to reduce inflammation, this leads to the alleviation of other problems, such as bone and joint pain, bloating, acne, and digestive issues. That’s not all turmeric does, it also helps people suffering from depression, hay fever, high cholesterol, heartburn, stress, anemia, endometriosis, POCS, and UTIs. Furthermore, it can help boost cognitive memory, act as an anti-candida agent, improve skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema, and boost immunity. Aside from its many medicinal benefits, turmeric has been used for centuries as a natural-dye for textiles and used in cosmetics for glowing skin. Clearly, turmeric is a natural pain reliever and an antioxidant in its many forms like supplement pills, powder, and oil.
Ways to Use it in Food
In addition to the medicinal benefits, and use in cosmetics and textiles, turmeric is also a very versatile addition to foods. Turmeric is mostly known for being a bright yellow-orange colored spice in the form of powder, and it is also known for its potent flavor. Turmeric is often added to curries, especially Indian curries and stews, however, it is also an ingredient in drinks, dressings, sauces, and breakfast foods. A popular way to use turmeric in drinks is Golden Milk which is a warm beverage blend of milk of choice, turmeric, cinnamon, and ground black pepper. Turmeric is also used in wellness ‘shots’ and teas usually paired with ginger. Turmeric is a nice, healthy addition to smoothies, soups, iced drinks, vegetables, dips, eggs, and desserts, and don’t worry if you’re plant-based, turmeric makes for a natural food coloring making any tofu scramble dish mimic egg. Turmeric has so many uses and contains significant healing properties, which makes it a super versatile and important herb.