Turmeric is not just a spice, but also an equally beneficial herb. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The common Asian culinary spice is now prized in many parts of the world owing to its myriads of benefits.
Turmeric is ground and dried rhizome of a typical plant that belongs to the ginger family. It is mainly used for its earthy flavour and dark yellow colour. Turmeric has been extensively used in folk and natural medicine for more than centuries. It is equally recognized in modern medicine.
Curcumin – The Secret Ingredient
The secret ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is a compound with amazing health benefits. It allegedly stops an enzyme that is responsible for converting environmental toxins in the body into carcinogens. It may also improve the digestion of sugars and fats, alleviate inflammation of the digestive system, and help with gum and oral problems.
But is turmeric and curcumin the same thing?
Both, yes and no!
Curcumin is found in turmeric, while the root is a bright yellow coloured spice in its whole form. Turmeric contains only about 3% of curcumin proportionate to its weight. Nowadays, curcumin supplements are widely available all over the world due to its potent health benefits.
Uses of Turmeric
- Turmeric Tea: Also called Golden Milk, it is a health drink popular in some parts of the world. However, it is not a typical tea. Turmeric tea is rather a blend of whole milk, or any other milk like coconut or almond milk, with spices and sweetener. It is a warm and soothing beverage during winters.
- Turmeric Broth: If you prefer a savoury drink during the cold winters, turmeric broth could be an excellent alternative. Using broth, anyone can prepare this at home with optional fresh ingredients like minced ginger-garlic, apple cider vinegar, and cumin.
- Turmeric Smoothie: The sunrise smoothie with a tinge of yellow colour is such a delight! Nestled with some earthy spices, you can prepare this smoothie with any milk of your choice, juice or a citrus fruit, a pinch of black pepper, freshly grated ginger root, and ½ teaspoon of turmeric.
- Turmeric Face mask: Turmeric is excellent for the skin. The best way to apply turmeric to the skin is in the form of a mask. Prepare a mask adding ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to any of your preferred facemask recipes and apply.
- Turmeric Curry Powder: The earthy and vibrant spice is a staple in Asian and particularly Indian cuisine. The best way to incorporate turmeric is to add a small amount of this powdered spice by making homemade curry powder using other powerful spices for an awesome flavour.
Though turmeric is a powerful root with many benefits, do not overuse it. Culinary use is safe, but medicinal use needs supervision in the long run.