Origin: Around 4000 years back, during Vedic culture in India, the use of Turmeric for adding flavour in food and for religious purposes began. The turmeric Herbaceous, perennial plant is native to India.
Ancient Sanskrit medical discourses and Ayurved speak highly of Turmeric. Susruta's Ayurvedic Compendium that dates back to 250 BC states that to counter the ill effects of poisoned food once must use an ointment containing turmeric
The beneficial Turmeric is believed to have reached China in 700AD and then in 800 AD it landed in East Africa. From East Africa it routed towards West Africa in 1200 AD and Jamaica became its home in eighteenth century.
The warm yellow hue of turmeric has won it the title of Indian Saffron. Turmeric, haldi or harida is also addressed as Nisha spelling as stunning as moon light. The goodness of turmeric has brought along copious titles such as Kanchani meaning that which shines like dazzling gold, Yashit Priya spelling that which is loved by women, haat vilasini meaning that which makes shop attractive etc.
Legend has it, in olden days, shopkeepers use to place the golden turmeric at the entrance of their shops to attract customers.
The folk medicine across the globe has one common ground i.e. the therapeutic turmeric. Ayurvedic practices state that turmeric aids in dispelling worms, improving digestion, antiseptic for cuts, burns, blood purification remedy skin conditions etc.
For centuries, Indian women have applied turmeric paste to get rid of excess hair. Traditionally, it is applied on bride and groom a day prior to their wedding. Ayurveda recommends using turmeric to enhance skin quality and complexion.
Scientifically: Turmeric is rich in minerals such as manganese, iron, copper, and potassium. It is extremely high in polyphenol curcumin (it helps with cancer). It is also rich in demethoxycurcumin (aids in hypertension, lung, breast and ovarian cancer, tumerones (it is anti – inflammatory and antioxidant). It's anti – inflammatory and antioxidant properties ensure it helps in fighting acne, pigmentation, tan, scars, aging signs etc.
There are various varieties of turmeric such as white turmeric, wild turmeric etc. White turmeric is popularly addressed as Amba haldi or zedoary. Amba haldi is pregnant with maximum essential oils in comparison to any other form of turmeric. Thus lending a camphor rich fragrance. White turmeric is excellent for irritated and itching skin. Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and blood purifying assets of this turmeric make it excellent for skin care lending a healing effect.
Usage: The application of turmeric varies from country to country. In India its added in curries, in Japan it is an ingredient with tea, in Thailand it's majorly used in cosmetics, in China it's applied as a colorant, in US it is added in mustard sauce, cheese and chips as preservative, in Korea it's a part of drinks, in Malaysia its used as antiseptic, in Pakistan it's role is that of an anti-inflammatory agent etc.
Below are some DIY with turmeric:
- Mix a tablespoon each of turmeric powder, rose powder and fuller's earth clay powder with rose water. Apply on face and neck.
- Take a tablespoon of gram flour and add some cream, honey, with half a teaspoon of turmeric. Mix all these ingredients together and apply on the face for 15 minutes and then rinse. This pack works well for dry skin.
- Take a tablespoon of yogurt and add a teaspoon of turmeric to it. Apply this to face and leave it on for 10 minutes. This removes the acne and helps in fading acne.