Tantalizing Turmeric

Spice Up Your Life

There are all kinds of ways that we can spice up our life. Some of it comes from tree bark, others come from various roots, beans, and other plant matter. Some of them even require a level of processing to make it edible. So, we are going to talk about a few herbs and spices that can upscale your nutritional and cooking needs. This week, its a little known spice in the US with incredible value and a hard name to pronounce: turmeric.

TurmericTantalizing Turmeric

This golden spice is a staple of Asian cuisine that has been around for thousands of years. It has a beautiful shade of yellow, a peppery taste that adds dimension to things like curry, cheese, and mustards and an amazing inspiration for various clothing and cosmetic dyes.  But how much do we know about it? Just how do we know hold old it is? What makes it nutritious and why is it so brilliantly yellow? Let’s find out.

History

Traces of turmeric along with ginger and other spices and in archeological sites in NewDehli, India. The traces of spices dated back as far as 2500 years.  Which is very consistent with the prevalent historical records that India’s spice trade was a very valuable part of the European and Asian economy for a very long time.

Turmeric, along with saffron and ginger, were so highly sought after that so many world-changing events revolved around their existence. The southern half of India avoided assimilation by the Mauryan Empire by becoming its own smaller triumvirate nation. All made possible through the spice trade.

These spices were so sought after that even hundreds of years later (around 1450 AD) Europe kicked up a lot of fuss when the Ottoman Turks banned them from the spice trade.  It is also the main source of several wars. There were even empires dedicated to taking over the spice trade altogether. That is an insane amount of popularity.

But what makes these spices in such high demand that is lasted for over a thousand years?

Medicinal Properties

India has a very old culture possibly home to one of the oldest civilizations known to man. This meant the combination and assimilation of practical knowledge adapted to the Hindu religion. This kickstarted the recording of medicinal properties that herbs and spices.  According to PBS.org “.” Inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds and bruises, and turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chickenpox to blemishes and shingles..”

And, there is some truth behind it.

Turmeric is a great pain reliever, according to some sources, “almost as good as Advil.”In fact, it has other medicinal properties that fall in line with Advil. For instance, it has the same blood-thinning properties, which can sometimes be a good or bad thing, depending on if there is a need for it at the time. The root also has anti-inflammatory properties, making this useful for people who are suffering from arthritis or some form of chronic joint pain. There is also evidence from testing that it decreases bad cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides in overweight patients.

However, there are some things that people will claim that it can do where there is no evidence to back it up.  For instance, while it is good for pain management, there is no sufficient evidence that it can cure Rheumatoid Arthritis completely. There is also no evidence that it can cure upset stomachs, different types of cancer, and depression.

Still, while it certainly is not a cure-all for all conditions, it can be helpful in a lot of ways. If you think about it, it’s still a pretty powerful spice. No wonder it is something so sought after.

Nutritional Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric has a combination of antioxidants, as well as other micronutrients that are good for a daily diet. They have a 20% daily value of manganese, a nutrient responsible for both blood sugar control and bone production. It also helps retain betacarotene, a type of antioxidant in food. Also, you don’t need a lot of it to get any health benefits of it. While its a dietary staple in places like India, 1/50th is enough to get the health benefits from it in several months time.  That is pretty amazing!

So, try some mustard with it in your dishes. Or learn to make some curry. Spice up your life and see what sort of benefits you can reap from it!

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