Spices and condiments are not just to enhance the taste but also, they have many unmatchable health benefits. One such beneficial herb is Turmeric.Natural plant products are used since long in the human history.I will discuss all the details of turmeric health benefits in this article and also let you know, what makes turmeric so special!
Out of many such plants, turmeric is one that possesses health benefits along with other uses as well.It has its mentions in the books of history called “Veda” in India about medicinal uses and benefits.So, let’s begin with everything about Turmeric that is important and interesting to know.
What is Turmeric?
The rhizome from which you get turmeric is tuberous, rough and with segmented skin, like ginger. From inside, it is bright yellow or yellowish orange, which is why it has got the name “Indian Saffron”.Turmeric is essentially a herbaceous perennial plant that produces rhizomes, like Ginger. This plant called Curcuma Longa belongs to the Ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to South Asia, majorly India.
Turmeric plant grows to a height of 1 m from the ground level and needs a temperature between 20 degree Celsius to 30 degree Celsius. It has long oblong leaves, which makes it easier to identify this plant.
The rhizomes mature beneath the foliage of turmeric plant appear yellowish brown with pale orange inside. The main rhizome measures 1 – 3 inches in length and about 1 inch in diameter. Harvesters, gather these rhizomes annually and reseed the same, for the next season.
Where Does Turmeric Come From?
I was very curious to research and find out where does turmeric come from. As I mentioned earlier, turmeric comes as the rhizome of Curcuma Longa, a herbaceous perennial plant. India discovered and started using turmeric before anyone else.
To your surprise, India produces 80% of Turmeric in the world and also is its highest consumer. Indian Turmeric is considered to be the best in the world. Erode, a city in South India, is the largest producer of Turmeric in the world and also the most important place for trading Turmeric. It is also known as “Yellow City” and “Turmeric City” because of this reason.
The use of Turmeric in India dates back to 4000 years. It reached China in 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD and to the rest of the world, in the eighteenth century.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like?
I love the taste of turmeric that it imparts to my food. It is slightly bitter when eaten raw.Along with being bitter, it also has a peppery flavor to it. Also, it tastes somewhat similar to ginger.It has a pleasing aroma, and when added to food, it makes your preparations deliciously fragrant.When you taste the raw powder of ginger, you hardly will be able to eat it because it will taste too bitter.
When mixed with honey or any other ingredient, it enhances the taste.I have also tried to prepare turmeric slices with vinegar and a pinch of salt; it tastes appetizing.You can look for more details in the recipe section here, later.Turmeric is like a spice that you can add to your food and gift it some irresistible flavor.No doubt, it is not very pleasing to consume the raw turmeric powder, but when cooked with other things, it tastes marvelous.
What is the Composition of Turmeric?
You must be wondering how Turmeric is so beneficial to health, isn’t it? To make that clear to you, I will let you know what makes Turmeric so healthy. It is composed of a lot of nutrients; details are below.
There are more than 100 components that are isolated from this medicinal herb. However, the main component of this root is a volatile oil. It contains Turmerone and coloring agents called Curcuminoids.
- Curcuminoids are found to comprise of Curcumin Demethoxycurcumin, Dihydrocurcumin, and 5’- Methoxycurcumin, which are natural antioxidants. Curcumin is anti – inflammatory and found to have anti – viral properties as well.
- The components responsible for the aroma of turmeric are Turmerone, Arturmerone, and Zingiberene
- Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, B3
- Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron, Manganese, Chromium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium
- Carotenoids, Carotenes, and Xanthophylls indicated by yellow, orange and red colors are also present. They either convert into Vitamin A or provide immunity by combating with free radicals.
- Starch and Protein – Resin, a fatty substance found in the roots, responsible for reducing pain and inflammation.
- COX – 2 inhibitors and Cineole – Each constituent individually has many benefits as far as health is concerned although they work synergistically. This makes the whole herb a bundle of health benefits.
Many scientists believe that most of the nutrients and health benefits come from the essential oil found in Turmeric and so, it is very necessary to check the nutrient contents of Turmeric powder.
There are various kinds of the powder; some are just for the flavor, and some provide health benefits as well.