Turmeric has also been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, which integrates the medicinal properties of herbs with food. This extraordinary herb has found its way into the spotlight in the west and rest of globe, because of its wide range of medicinal benefits.
Use of the spice dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India. It is extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicine as home remedy for various diseases.
Its is derived from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, (family- Zingiberaceae) is a perennial plant having short stem with large oblong leaves, and bears ovate, pyriform or oblong rhizomes, which are often branched and brownish-yellow in colour.
Besides flavouring food, turmeric, affectionately called as “Kitchen Queen”, has been used in traditional medicine as a household remedy for various diseases, including biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis etc.
This spice has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions. These include its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, ant carcinogenic, ant mutagenic, anti-coagulant, anti-fertility, anti- diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal, antiviral, anti-fibrotic, antivenin, anti-ulcer, hypotensive and hypocholesteremic activities.
Its anti-cancer effect is mainly mediated through induction of apoptosis. It’s anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis.
Therapeutic uses include: AIDS/HIV, anaemia, cancer, diabetes, digestion, food poisoning, gall stones etc. It reduces fevers, diarrhoea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough and lactation problems in general.
Clinically, turmeric has already been used to reduce post-operative inflammation. Safety evaluation studies indicate that both turmeric and curcumin are well tolerated at a very high dose without any toxic effects. Thus, turmeric has the potential for the development of modern medicine for the treatment of various diseases.