Belonging to the turmeric family, the root is also known popularly as the “golden spice”. Native to Southeast Asia and growing between temperatures 20o and 30o C, the plants are propagated for their rhizomes and require annual rainfall to thrive. The rhizomes are boiled, dried and converted into an orange-yellow powder, which is also an edible spice, colouring and flavouring agent used throughout Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
The plant and powder find their mention in ancient Ayurveda and Siddha medicine, besides Unani and traditional Chinese medical texts. Prevalent throughout Asia, it was first used as a dye and later recognised for its medicinal properties.
There are more than 100 components that can be isolated from the Turmeric. The root sustains a volatile oil that contains turmerone and other colouring agents such as curcuminoids, which are composed of natural antioxidants. The standard composition of turmeric is extraneous matter, curcumin, volatile oils, varieties of sesquiterpenes and aroma-emitting components.
A nutritional analysis reveals concentrates of dietary fibre, sugar, protein, niacin, riboflavin and high levels of sodium and potassium.
Turmeric is known for its allergy-fighting properties and benefits for the skin. Also known as the “longevity spice”, it is high in antimicrobial activity and is beneficial for arthritis. It also has anti-cancer effects, keeps your heart healthy, and fights H. Pylori and ulcerative colitis.
The orange-yellow powder of the turmeric rhizome has many virtues that can help hair growth. It is effective in the treatment of dandruff and inhibits the activity of TGF beta 1, which is responsible for the death of the hair follicles. The component can also address scalp disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.