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Health Secrets of Ayurveda #15: The Haldi wala doodh (Turmeric)

·Contributor
·4-min read

Remember grandma’s haldi wala doodh (Turmeric milk)? It was considered the panacea for almost all ills. 

The Golden spice, turmeric (scientific name Curcuma longa) has a long history of use in traditional medicines of China and India.

The Golden spice, Turmeric (scientific name Curcuma longa) has traditionally been used in milk as an old remedy for colds and throat infections
The Golden spice,Turmeric (scientific name Curcuma longa) has traditionally been used in milk as an old remedy for colds and throat infections

Turmeric acts as a powerful healing tool because of the phytochemicals it contains. The main phytochemical in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is derived from the rhizome of the plant. The rhizome has been crushed into a powder and used in Asian cookery, medicine, cosmetics, and fabric dyeing for more than 2000 years. Early European explorers to the Asian continent introduced this spice to the Western world in the 14th century. In fact. the ancient Vedic societies of India regarded it as “the herb of the sun” because of its yellow-orange rhizome. In food and manufacturing, curcumin is used in perfumes and as a natural yellow colouring agent, as well as an approved food additive to flavour various types of curries.

In Ayurveda a turmeric paste is used to treat common eye infections, and to dress wounds, treat bites, burns, acne and various skin diseases. The American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson even makes turmeric Band-Aids for the Indian market. In Northern India, women are given a tonic of fresh turmeric paste with powder of dried ginger roots and honey in a glass of hot milk to drink twice daily after childbirth. Many marriage rituals even today, include a Haldi ceremony where the paste of turmeric is applied on the bride to improve her complexion for the wedding day.

Turmeric is known to improve the complexion and give a golden glow to skin which is why brides in India have a pre wedding ritual called the Haldi ceremony
Turmeric is known to improve the complexion and give a golden glow to skin which is why in India there is a pre wedding ritual called the Haldi ceremony

It has an incredible list of healing properties, that includes, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-protozoan, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory.

Other superfoods in the Ayurveda series:

· Bulk up on calcium': 5 superfoods for bone health in women

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #5: Shatavari

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #11: Ajwain or Carom seeds

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #14: Why monsoon is the best time for rejuvenation

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #4: Guggulu

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #8: Gurmar or Madhunashini

Turmeric is used in Ayurveda to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, though, in excess, it can aggravate pitta and vata. It has many beneficial effects for rasa and rakta dhatus (the blood and plasma of the circulatory system). It also kindles Agni (digestive fire), helping reduce Kapha and ama (toxins).

From the Samhita period itself (circa 4000 yrs), turmeric was famous for its antidiabetic property. Turmeric powder is extensively described for its wound healing effect and to brighten the gleam and tone of the skin. Turmeric is known as Vranahara (ulcer healing), Varnya (improving complexion), Tvakdoshahara (curing skin diseases) and Kandoohara (curing itching).

Turmeric has an incredible list of healing properties, that includes, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-protozoan, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory
Turmeric has an incredible list of healing properties, that includes, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-protozoan, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory

A poultice (paste) of turmeric is also applied to the perineum to aid in the healing of any lacerations in the birth canal. Powdered turmeric is taken with boiled milk to cure cough and related respiratory ailments, and roasted turmeric is an ingredient used as an antidysenteric for children. This ancient remedy is also used to treat dental diseases, digestive disorders such as dyspepsia and acidity, indigestion, flatulence and ulcers.

Health benefits of Turmeric

  • Promotes digestion and manages stomach ulcers

  • Supports the brain and nervous system

  • Improves skin and complexion

  • Reduces joint pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range (especially when combined with neem and amalaki) Turmeric might also prevent cell damage such as ulcers, wounds, kidney damage associated with diabetes mellitus due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

  • Supports proper functioning of the liver

  • Nourishes the heart and circulatory system

  • Bolsters the immune system

  • Reduces the symptoms of mental illness like anxiety and depression.

Turmeric is available online in powder, tablet, and liquid extract forms. Some brands include Maharishi Ayurveda, Curkey, Organic India, Just Jaivik among others.

Consult your doctor before taking turmeric supplements.

Must read related stories:

· Bulk up on calcium': 5 superfoods for bone health in women

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #5: Shatavari

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #11: Ajwain or Carom seeds

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #14: Why monsoon is the best time for rejuvenation

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #4: Guggulu

· Health Secrets of Ayurveda #8: Gurmar or Madhunashini

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