Do you know there is a delightfully colourful ceremonial in Indian weddings called the ‘haldi ceremony’?
Usually a day before, or in the morning of the wedding, ‘haldi’ (turmeric) paste is applied to the bodies of the bride and groom.
You wonder why?
‘Haldi’ or turmeric was known and used in India for 4000 years not only as a spice but as the solution or as natural cures for many ailments. It is a symbol of blessing that possesses inherent properties to heal, purify, and protect; it drives away evils, calms nerves and soothes minds.
So, when smeared with turmeric paste the couple soaks in its healing goodness inside them at the very start of their journey in life together.
No wonder the bride and the groom glow like radiant gold. Their skins smoothen magically as a golden sheen removes blemishes overnight. Turmeric’s potent power has exfoliated the dead skin cells, unclogged the skin’s pores and cleared every dirt and grime.
Despite the typical Indian wedding’s long-winded and endless rituals, turmeric’s soothing properties kept the couple’s energy going, nerves calm and wits intact.
This is no fairy tale. The wonders are truly worked through turmeric’s healing and calming powers contained in its amazing ingredients, principal among which is curcumin, or diferuloylmethane, a powerful anti-oxidant as well.
Turmeric: Nature’s Yellow Spice, Precious Medicine
Though well known in Ayurveda from ancient times, turmeric is not limited to the Ayurvedic practices alone. In the nether regions of India, Nepal, China, and many Asian countries, indigenous folks — the tribes, jungle dwellers, and tillers of land, have been using the yellow spice to heal ailments for generations.
By experience, these wise folks discovered turmeric’s efficacy as medicine and have come up with indigenous remedies that worked wonders, and still do, for their health and well-being.
Many scientific experiments later, turmeric’s healing properties emerged apparently proving turmeric’s health-giving properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-tumour and anti-cancer. Studies established that daily partaking of turmeric aids respiration, digestion, blood circulation, heart regulation, skin problems and even brain functions. Even a teaspoon of turmeric a day can do magic to one’s health.
Indigenous People’s Natural Cures
The indigenous Khasi tribes-people of Meghalaya are among those that made use of turmeric as medicine, which continues to this day. In our younger days, our grandmothers would routinely treat our sore throats, coughs, and colds with a teaspoon of a semi-liquid mixture made with turmeric, ground pepper (usually a mix of long pepper and black pepper), ginger extract, mustard oil, honey, and boiling water. A teaspoon of this mixture three-four times would guarantee we’d be off and hopping about by the next day itself. Adding honey, which itself has medicinal value, makes the mixture absolutely lovable to even children.
Research has now proven that adding pepper into the turmeric mixture infuses piperine, which indeed increases the bioavailability of curcuminoids (of which Curcumin is the prime agent) in the body by 2000%. Ingested alone turmeric would have passed through the gut without being absorbed into the bloodstream.
We now understand the wisdom of the ancients in combining ingredients, all of which possess individual medicinal properties.
Why Turmeric as Natural Cures?
Scientists have now established beyond doubt that turmeric is a powerful anti-oxidant. As a natural antiseptic, an antifungal and antibacterial agent it heals our wounds equally effectively like a modern drug, sans side effects. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property does wonders in the treatment of joint pains, fighting inflammation deep down to relieve the sufferer of numbing arthritic pains.
Purity, however, is of inalienable importance here. This, perhaps, is the major reason it works so well for the indigenous folks. The turmeric they use is undiluted and organic.
Some Examples of How Indigenous Folks Use of Turmeric for Healing:
- Sore throat and cough: A teaspoonful of turmeric made into a paste with boiling water, mixed with ginger extract, ground long and black peppers, mustard oil and honey. A teaspoonful of the mixture is taken three to four times a day.
- Wounds, cuts, and bruises: The turmeric powder, or crushed raw turmeric rhizome, is applied over the wound, to stop bleeding and halt infection. In deeper wounds, a more generous amount of turmeric is applied and bandaged.
- Insect bites: The area is applied with a paste of crushed turmeric root or powder. Bleeding and burning stops.
- Digestive and stomach problems: A spoonful of turmeric is boiled in water for about five minutes, cooled, added with pepper powder and sweetened with sugar or honey. This mixture is effective against ulcers, gas, and acidity too.
- Asthmatic attacks: A teaspoon of turmeric and half teaspoon pepper powder is added one cup of hot water and sipped slowly.
- Eczema: Paste of turmeric and lemon juice is applied on the affected area. This is also very effective for healing fingernail and toenail infection.
- Pimples and acne: Paste of turmeric and lemon juice is applied after washing face, left overnight, and washed the next day.
- Mouth ulcers and wounds: Half teaspoon turmeric is mixed with hot water for gargling and rinsing (when cooled).
What Makes Turmeric Work?
The key ingredient is curcumin; some others are volatile oils, curcumol, curdione, and starch which also have wide-ranging pharmacological uses, aiding blood circulation, preventing cancer, and fighting inflammation.
Beyond traditional medicine in modern applications, turmeric is used to treat diseases of the liver, kidneys, and bladder, joint related problems like rheumatism and arthritis, as well as skin and colon cancer. It has impacted the cosmetics industry too, in the form of skin creams and lotions containing turmeric extracts.
Can Everybody Use Turmeric for Natural Cures?
Turmeric is known to thin blood and reduce blood pressure, so haemophiliacs, those suffering from blood disorders and people with hypertension, and pregnant women, had better avoid or restrict consumption of turmeric, except as spice.
Organic and Pure Turmeric
The single, most significant factor for turmeric’s therapeutic effectiveness lay undoubtedly in organic purity and curcumin content. Some species yield curcumin content of just over 2%. But Meghalaya State’s Lakadong turmeric scores over others with the highest curcumin content of 7.4%. Grown exclusively in a relatively remote area of the State’s West Jaintia Hills District’s Laskein block, this turmeric is purely organic and the best in the world. Despite many of its clones, Lakadong’s uniqueness has never been usurped.