Turmeric, popularly known as ‘Haldi’ in India, is one of the most common ingredients of Indian food. A spice in culinary use since ancient times, it has many medicinal as well as cosmetic properties.
Turmeric is usually used in a dried powdered form in curries, soups, deserts, broths, and also as a coloring agent in many recipes. In India most of the food is cooked with turmeric as one of the ingredients and I too use it a lot in my cooking. It really does add great flavor and color to the recipes besides adding the health benefits.
Turmeric has traditionally been used in India by women as a great cosmetic for improving the skin tone. Women have been using it as a natural face pack for a long time to remove pimples and get a clear complexion. In fact there is a ritual in Indian weddings where the bride, and even the groom, bathe with turmeric paste as it is said to make their skin look more beautiful on the wedding day. It is increasingly being used in many bathing and skin care products.
Turmeric is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a natural antiseptic and helps cure bruises and relieves pain. In India it is common to give children suffering from common cold a glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric. There is a lot of research being conducted to confirm its anti-cancer properties too. One study also states it aids in the cure of arthritis.
Not surprisingly, it is used in many religious ceremonies in India and is presented to Gods and Goddesses. In some homes, it is also used to make auspicious and lucky symbols on the main entrances. It truly is a magical age old spice/herb with all its various strengths and utilities.
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