Turmeric (Curcuma longa – the name of the genus, Curcuma, is derived from the Sanskrit kuṅkuma, referring to both turmeric and saffron used in India since ancient times), is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia; Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurveda, and other traditional medicine.
Turmeric was first used as a dye, and then later for its medicinal properties. Turmeric can be used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in East Asian recipes, such as pickle that contains large chunks of soft fresh turmeric or dry powder as a spice in recipe.
Turmeric powder contains approximately 60–70% carbohydrates, 6–13% water, 6–8% protein, 5–10% fat, 3–7% dietary minerals, 3–7% essential oils, 2–7% dietary fiber and 1–6% curcuminoids. On average turmeric powder contains 3.14% of Curcumin and 34 essential oils like turmerone, germacrone, atlantone, and zingiberene are major constituents. Phytochemical components of turmeric include diarylheptanoids, such as curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits make it the natural remedy of the century. Curcumin has the ability to block an enzyme that causes inflammation, while combatting free radical damage to highly sensitive vital organs like brain and heart. Many experts now believe that “silent inflammation” is the root cause of many of the common signs of aging, from diminished brain and heart function to painful joints, low energy levels and more.
In Ayurvedic and Siddha practices, turmeric has been used as time tested treatment for the variety of internal disorders, such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, or liver ailments, joint pain as well as topically, to cleanse wounds or treat skin sores.