East Indians knew about the therapeutic and culinary value of turmeric 40 centuries ago, and sued it to the benefit of suffering people and for gustatory pleasures.
Now, researchers have discovered that it could be much more valuable than the Indians of antiquity could have ever imagined.
Best known as a spice that imparts flavour and the yellow colour to curry powder, it is now becoming more of a focus of medical researchers.
The plant is a perennial and belongs to the ginger family, and likes hot temperatures. Planted in subtropical or tropical countries (20 – 30 C), it grows well, providing there is plenty of precipitation,
Native to southeastern Asia, turmeric has been used as an antiseptic, and in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It is also employed in cosmetics, for dying to deter ants, in curries, as a spice and to flavour plain cooked rice. Rich in calcium and phosphors, iron, carotene, thiamine and niacin, it is employed in baking, and beverage production.
When Marco Polo, the first westerner ever to set foot in Maharashtra, India, in the first half of the 13th century, locals had been using turmeric for close to three millennia.
A relative to ginger, the spice is derived by first boiling the tuber, and then drying it to be ground in powder form.
It can reduce inflammation, protects the liver, inhibits tumour development, and may even be used as an anti aging agent.
Regardless of all the medicinal properties, according to law, therapeutic benefits of turmeric cannot be claimed officially. Ironically in France, turmeric is a prescription drug, whereas in North America it can be obtained in health and regular grocery stores.