Whether it’s the hot glass of milk with a hint of turmeric mixed in it or a beautiful dish cooked with turmeric powder as one of the ingredients; the benefits of this amazing spice are countless. Turmeric is one of the popular spice powders used in the South Asian, Indian and many of the Western dishes. It adds a vibrant color to the dish and makes it taste even more delicious.
What is turmeric?
The warm earthy, mustardy aroma of turmeric is what attracts many cooks towards it. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa and it belongs to the ginger family. It is mainly planted in the plains of South Asia where the weather conditions are quite favorable.
You can either use the fresh turmeric or ground it to produce an orangish yellow powder. This powder is then used for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Types of turmeric:
If you search for the different popular types of turmeric, you’ll find out that there is local Hindi turmeric, Thodopuza, Allepey, red-streaked and China scented turmeric. All these types are used for different purposes.
You can use turmeric in different forms from raw turmeric to essential oil, ground powder, and turmeric paste. Each one of them offers unparallel benefits.
Applications of turmeric
You can use this variety of ginger plant as an ingredient in cooking, as a medicine, for dying purposes and an indicator.
Turmeric is one of the favorite ingredients of the Asian cooks and they widely use it in savory dishes. It is also found in many canned beverages, dairy products, baked items, yogurt, orange juices, popcorn color, gelatin, and cereal. It is used to enhance the overall flavor of the dish and gives it a beautiful golden color.
Used as dye and indicator
The deep orange-yellow hint of color of turmeric is used to dye fabric (though it does not work that well) and food items. It is used to give color to cheese, salad dressings, butter, yogurt, and margarine. As an indicator, it is used in chemical analysis to differentiate acidic from alkaline.
This spice forms a huge part of the traditional Indian medicine known as Ayurveda and Siddha. Many studies are conducted to find the benefits of turmeric. It contains around 3% of curcumin which imparts anti-inflammatory healing effect and possesses anti-oxidant properties. Other health benefits of turmeric are as follows:
- The curcumin composition of turmeric is highly useful in preventing platelet aggregation. This prevents clot formation and saves the users from any possible brain and heart diseases caused by thrombosis and embolism.
- In the journal Phytotherapy Research, the authors in a study on turmeric say that “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective therapy for treatment in patients with mild depression.”
- Turmeric is quite popular for its amazing skin benefits. It boosts the skin glow and freshness. The turmeric face masks are often used by women. It is also effective in reducing the chances of acne and psoriasis.