Turmeric is a magical spice with the warm flavor similar to saffron, slightly bitter and aromatic, with just a hint of ginger heat. It comes from a plant called Curcuma longa, which roots are peeled, boiled, dried and then ground into an aromatic vivid yellow powder.
This plant grows mostly in India, where it was used in the traditional culinary, medicinal uses, spiritual rituals and as a textile dye as well for centuries. An exquisite importance of this plant to Indian people proves one traditional wedding ceremony, where bride and groom apply a paste of turmeric on each others forehead (in India it is considered to be the third eye).
Health benefits of turmeric
Ayurweda practitioners used turmeric for thousands of years (and they are still using it) in many varieties, from fresh juices, tinctures or pasta to powder for healing numerous conditions, such as mosquito bites and skin problems, healing wounds and cuts, digestive and liver problems, etc.
People knew that if applied on a cut, turmeric will quickly stop the bleeding, and dusting the wounds with the turmeric powder will help wounds to heal faster.
They also used it as a one of the beauty aids, as a skin tonic. For example, massaging the whole body with milk and turmeric tonic before bath will eliminate the freckles, strains, itching and other skin issues. In India people will always turn to turmeric when catching cold, they would simply suck a piece of fresh turmeric root, and if the cough bothers them, they would mix turmeric with honey and soon eased the problem. And not just that, the list of turmeric use for health problems is so long, you would not believe – one thicker book could be written, and probably there is one or two out there already.
Modern medicine started to recognize a powerful effect of this plant also. Numerous studies proved powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of turmeric. Its main ingredient called curcumin gives that specific color to this spice and it has healing and inhibiting powers of many different health conditions from improving your digestive system to help in weight management.
Turmeric is good source of iron, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and dietary fibers. It is main spice in many dishes coming from Indian, Thai, Malay and Persian cuisine and main ingredient of curry powder.
So, if you are searching for some new flavor to use in your kitchen, turmeric spice is probably the best choice. I am sure, that over time, this would be one of the most used spices in your kitchen. You can add it in your cereals, try to make exquisite Japanese turmeric tea, rice dishes, sauces or even winter soups.
One other way to incorporate this magnificent spice in your daily meals is to substitute it in dishes that call for saffron. The saffron is quite expensive spice, and yet the flavors of these two spices are very similar. If you try it, you will soon have numerous dishes on your menu that will have vibrant yellow color and the most important, they will benefit your health for sure.