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Turmeric Powder

English Name:                                        Turmeric

Hindi Name:                                        Haldi

Sanskrit Name:                                        Haridra, Gauri

Latin Name:                                        Curcuma longa Linn

Plant Family:                                        Zingiberaceae, which includes ginger and cardamom

Region Grown:                                        While India is by far the largest exporter of Turmeric, 80% of its harvest is consumed locally.

Part of Plant Used:                                        Rhizome, tubers

Plant Description:                                        It grows as a leafy herb up to around 1m tall. Its flowers are yellow and white on a long spiky stem. The flowers do not produce viable seed, its reproduction done, instead, through its rhizomes – the thick and fleshy underground stem which is ringed with the bases of old leaves.

Cultivation:                                        The rhizomes are boiled for 45-60 minutes within a couple of days of harvest, dried and then often ground to produce the distinctive yellow powder that we love.

Characteristics:                                        Turmeric is a powerful colouring agent, as your dry-cleaner will testify! It should only be used in small quantities and cooked thoroughly. It is widely used throughout most regional Indian cooking and often added to the hot oil before any other ingredients.

Aroma:                                        It has an earthy, sweet, pungent smell with astringent qualities, whilst the taste can be quite bitter, it can also lend a subtle sweetness to a dish.

History:                                        It has been used as a dye since 600BC, with its use in food coming later.It most likely originated in Western India (with some claiming its chronicled use dates back 4000 years) and reached China in 700AD and West Africa in 1200AD.

Points of Interest:                                        The plant we know today is a hybrid between the wild turmeric and closely related plants. It has always been considered a very auspicious plant, and its medicinal uses (see below) extend back a long way. In mediaeval Europe it was known as ‘Indian Saffron’, and is still sometimes used as a cheap alternative to saffron.

Ayurvedic Properties:                                         Cools Kapha, warms Vata and Pitta in excess. It affects all tissue, and circulatory, digestive, urinary and respiratory systems. It has antibacterial, antibiotic and vulnerary (wound healing) properties, and also has a stimulant effect. Its Ayurvedic uses are many: Amenorrhea, anemia, arthritis, blood purifier, blood tissue formation, circulation, cough, diabetes, worms, jaundice, eye problems, fevers, gas, haemorrhoids, edema, indigestion, ligament stretching, metabolism regulator, mucus relief, hysteria (from inhaling fumes – calms it, not causes it!), pharyngitis, protein digesting, skin disorders, abscess, urinary diseases, wound and bruise healer, improves intestinal flora, inflammatory bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, chronic hepatitis, chronic bronchial asthma, psoriasis, all inflammatory conditions, acne, insect bites, sore eyes, bruises and sprains (with honey or aloe gel).Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to help prevent cancer in rodents, and tests are currently establishing its potential to treat cancer in humans as well as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's and arthritis. The spice is also a powerful anti-oxident, with all of the associated benefits to health that brings.

Spiritual:                                        Gives you the Divine Goddess’s energy and prosperity

Precautions:                                                            Probably shouldn’t be eaten to excess if pregnant. Stains anything into which it comes in contact…very readily!!

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