What Is Turmeric? Get the facts before you die!
Turmeric is probably the most important spice in Indian dishes. And possibly, the most powerful herb on the planet. Also called haldi in Hindi (and pasupu in Telugu, manjal in Tamil and Malayalam, and arisina in Kannada), turmeric is one of the most studied herbs in science.
Scientifically called Curcuma longa (which is the name of the plant the herb comes from), it grows in India and several other Southeast Asian countries. The dried root of the Curcuma longa plant is ground to make the turmeric powder.
Turmeric powder is yellow. The powder is also used as a coloring agent in South Asian cuisines. The leaves of the turmeric plant also impart a distinct flavor. These leaves are used to wrap and cook food.
The benefits of turmeric are largely due to its phytochemistry. The compounds in turmeric, called curcuminoids (like curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin), have several advantages for human health – which we will discuss in detail in this post. Turmeric also contains volatile oils called turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberene. Other constituents of turmeric are proteins, resins, and sugars.
Numerous studies have spoken of the great turmeric benefits. One such study was published in Oxford Academic, which stated how turmeric could break through chemoresistance and aid in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Another study spoke about how this herb can delay the onset of diabetes, given its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The studies are aplenty. But the bottom line is this – that spice you add to almost every dish you prepare at home, that pinch of turmeric, is not to be taken for granted.