Turmeric is a plant which is a member of ginger family. It is used as a spice and also has several medicinal applications. It is boiled, dried and ground to a yellow powder and this is used in spices. The active substance of the turmeric plant is curcumin, a polyphenol.

Turmeric is used in several foods in Western countries. It is used as a colouring agent. It is used in beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn, sweets and gelatines.

In India, we use turmeric everyday in our kitchen and the curry powders with turmeric is well known and world famous. It is widely used in South Asian food preparations.

• In Ayurvdic medicine turmeric is used as an antiseptic for bruises and burns and the fluoride in it is essential for the health of the teeth.
• It is used as an antibacterial agent.
• It is also used to treat stomach disorders.

For the last 3 years a lot of research has been done about the medicinal effect of curcumin and there are clinical studies going already for the treatment of many diseases that include:

• Joint inflammation in arthritis
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Pancreatic cancer
• Colorectal cancer
• Multiple myeloma.
• Curcumin based cream is used to treat psoriasis.

Research findings reveal that curcumin, a natural substance, has no side effects.

The other uses of turmeric include:

• Turmeric is used in some of the sunscreens
• Women in India apply the turmeric paste on their face to remove the unnecessary hair
• It is used as a dye in India
• Tetrahydrocurcuminoids are expected to have antioxidant properties.
• Turmeric repels ants but the exact mechanism is not known. It is not a poison and so environmental friendly

We have to do more research on turmeric which could be useful to our health.