Turmeric (haldi in Hindi) is a golden herb steeped in history. The earliest known use dates back to Susruta, an ancient Indian physician, who recommended the use of a turmeric ointment to cure food poisoning. In the years that followed, this spice made its way to China, Africa, and Jamaica. Turmeric has been utilized by ancient healers and religious leaders alike, slowly trickling into the Western world.
Turmeric is believed to be connected with spiritual cleansing and fertility. For this reason, it is used in Hindu weddings to purify and bless the new couple. A turmeric paste, ritualistically applied to the face and body of the bride and groom, is then washed off before the wedding. It is believed to remove negativity from the mind, body, and soul.
With its bright, golden hue, turmeric is associated with the ancient sun gods, the focal point of traditional Hindu beliefs. Yellow clothing is also created using this colorful spice, and embodies the spirit of Krishna, who is often represented wearing yellow attire.
Applying a tilak using turmeric is standard practice. According to Vedic astrology, turmeric tilaks can confer peace and tranquility in the minds of its wearers. In a similar way, a turmeric swastik is believed to remove negative energies and spirits from a home.
Today, India remains the number-one producer and consumer of this ancient healing herb. Eastern medicine practitioners use turmeric as a treatment for relieving digestive issues, healing wounds, and purifying the blood. Turmeric has also been used to enhance bile release, cleansing and detoxifying the liver.
Modern medicine is beginning to understand and harness the abilities of this incredible medicinal herb. New studies and emerging research show that turmeric and its main constituents, curcuminoids, have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities. When used as a supplement, turmeric has been shown to help with arthritis and even depression. Its potent antioxidant activity can also neutralize the free radicals that contribute to aging of the body.
To best take advantage of turmeric’s healing properties, experts recommend a synergistic concoction. Scientific research shows that black pepper enhances the availability of turmeric’s curcuminoids in the body. The constituents of both black pepper and turmeric also require a fat to activate their function within the body. Traditionally, Indian healers prepared what is now known as golden milk, turmeric and black pepper steeped in milk.
It’s important to note that organic turmeric is far superior to its conventional counterparts. Curcuminoids are fat-soluble compounds that pesticides from conventional growing methods can bind to, contaminating the purity and beneficial effects of turmeric. As a precaution, your turmeric root, powder, or capsules should be sourced from a reputable provider with high purity and potency standards.
For more on turmeric, also check out Superfoods, Fall in Love with Turmeric, and Rooshy Roy’s turmeric glow-tion