Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae. It is closely related to ginger and cardamom. It is native to southwest India and a main curry ingredient. The rhizome is the plant part used as an herb and culinary spice.
Fresh turmeric molds easily so we have to prepare it for storage. Wash the rhizome and boil it for 30-45 minutes. Dry it well in an oven. When it is completely dry, grind the rhizome into a powder. Store it in an air tight container.
One of turmeric’s main component is curcumin. It is responsible for the earthy, slightly bitter and peppery flavor as well as the smell and the deep yellowish orange color.
Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation. Its main component, curcumin, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can potentially treat the following diseases:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- heart disease
- lung disease
- inflammatory bowel disease
- ulcerative colitis
- chronic anterior uveitis
- certain types of cancer.
Studies show inflammation and oxidation are the main cause of cancer. Some studies suggest that anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory drugs could prevent and reduce cancer. Researchers are studying curcumin for its potential in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Other studies have concluded that curcumin can regulate the cell growth of certain cells preventing the development and spreading of cancer.
1 teaspoon (1.3g) of turmeric in a glass of hot water twice per day.
As a spice, turmeric is used fresh or ground. It is one of the main ingredients in curry. In East Asia, it is added fresh to pickles. It is also common in Persian dishes, usually as a starter ingredient, or to replace the expensive saffron. This is very likely why it is sometimes called poor man’s saffron. It is also a common ingredient in Indian, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian and Middle Eastern cuisines.