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Turmeric as an Herb

Turmeric as an Herb

Curcuma longa

Turmeric is an ancient spice, a native of South East Asia, used from antiquity as dye and a condiment.

Turmeric is in fact one of the cheapest spices. Although as a dye it is used similarly to saffron, the culinary uses of the two spices should not be confused and should never replace saffron in food dishes.

The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years, to the Vedic culture in India where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. The name derives from the Latin terra merita "meritorious earth" referring to the color of ground turmeric which resembles a mineral pigment. In many languages turmeric is simply named as "yellow root".

Turmeric as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the stewed and dried rhizome.

Turmeric is used in Chinese medicine to ease shoulder pain, menstrual cramps, and colic.

Turmeric is a mild digestive, being aromatic, a stimulant and a carminative. An ointment base on the spice is used as an antiseptic in Malaysia. Turmeric water is an Asian cosmetic applied to impart a golden glow to the complexion. Curcumin has been shown to be active against Staphlococcus aureus (pus-producing infections)

Turmeric is often combined with Coriander and cumin to aid in digestion of complex carbohydrates.

Turmeric is approved by Commission E for dyspeptic complaints and loss of appetite.

Folk medicine: Turmeric is used for dyspeptic disorders, particularly feelings of fullness after meals and regular abdominal distention due to gas. The drug is also used for diarrhea, intermittent fever, edema, bronchitis, colds, worms, leprosy, kidney inflammation and cystitis. Other uses include headaches, flatulence, upper abdominal pain, chest infections, colic, amenorrhea and blood rushes. It is used externally for bruising, leech bites, festering eye infections, inflammation of the oral mucosa, inflammatory skin conditions and infected wounds.

Chinese medicine: Turmeric is used for pains in the chest, ribs, abdomen, liver and stomach; nose bleeds; vomiting with bleeding; and heat stroke.

Indian medicine: Turmeric is used for inflammation, wounds and skin ulcers, itching, stomach complaints, flatulence, conjunctivitis, constipation, ringworm infestation and colic.

To prepare a tea, scald 0.5 to 1 gm drug in boiling water, cover, draw for 5 minutes and then strain. The tincture strength is 1:10. The tea (2 to 3 cups) should be taken between meals.

Culinary Uses of Turmeric

Apart from its wide use in Moroccan cuisine to spice meat, particularly lamb, and vegetables, its principal place is in curries and curry powders.

Turmeric is used in many fish curries, possibly because it successfully masks fishy odors. When used in curry powders, it is usually one of the main ingredients, providing the associated yellow color.

Turmeric and saffron add both brilliant color and aroma to food.

Turmeric Honey for Allergies

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that removes excess mucus in the sinuses and helps to heal the respiratory tissue. When you feel your allergy symptoms coming on, you can eat one teaspoon of tumeric honey 3 to 4 times a day.

How to make: In a clean glass jar put 6 tablespoons uncooked honey and 4 tablespoons powdered turmeric. Stir until turmeric is well mixed into the honey.


Health risks or side effects following the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages are not recorded. Stomach complaints can occur following extended use or in the case of overdose.

Turmeric should not be used during pregnancy.

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