Turmeric powder is best known as a popular spice and an essential curry ingredient. Originally grown and used in South Asia, the use of turmeric has spread to the rest of the world. Traditional Indian and Chinese medicine systems have long used this plant for its medicinal properties.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow-orange plant which is commonly used as an herb. Its leaves are arranged in two rows. The leaves are between 76 cm and 115 cm long. It grows throughout the year in warm and humid climates.

The origin of the name

The scientific name for “turmeric” is cucuma longa. This name comes traces its origin in Arabic “kurkum” which in turn has been derived from Sanskrit “kukuma.” The English name is corrupted version of terra merita; now spoken as one word.

As herb

Turmeric has a long history of use as an herb. Traditional medicine systems in India, China, Japan, Arabia, Africa, and even Europe have long recognized this plant for its healing properties. The first mention of this plant in western literature is found in the five-volume encyclopedia of herbal medicine Materia Medica. It was compiled by Greek physician more than 2,000 years ago.

Health benefits of turmeric

Such a long history of usage has resulted in many attributions to the healing properties of turmeric. Some of these attributions have a basis in reality, while others are unfounded or not scientifically tested.

The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) vouches for the anti-inflammatory properties of this herb. At the same time, there is little evidence to support more magical properties associated with this yellow powder, such as the Alzheimer’s disease, skin cancer, and hepatitis.

The NCCAM is actively funding research to figure out the effects of turmeric on liver cancer, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and post-menopausal osteoporosis.

It has already been shown that turmeric can have a magical healing impact on upset stomachs.

Another set of researches also shows that turmeric is an effective pain-killer, if the pain (osteoarthritis) is in the knee. At least one study has found turmeric to be as effective in pain relief as ibuprofen.