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Moira Khouri, NC, MH, HHP, CCP, RYT, CYA-RYT
In this whole foods presentation we will learn about the health benefits of Turmeric
from recent research and ancient Ayurvedic Medicine traditions. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
comes from the same family as Ginger root, Zingiberaceae, commonly known in herbalism
by its botanical name Curcuma longa. The plants resemble ginger plants and some lily
plants in that they have long flat bright green leaves that grow upwards from the base of
the stem, and grow to heights of approximately 3 feet (1 meter) tall, producing pale yellow
flowers.
The rhizomes have the appearance of finger-like projections, which spread
underground below the surface of the soil, from the main tuber. The appearance is very
similar to ginger root, except that the rhizomes are smaller in diameter, about .50 of an
inch (1.5 cm), are approximately 2-3.25 inches (5-8 cm) long, and have a slightly darker
skin, with a more orange-yellow flesh compared to the pale yellow flesh of ginger root.
According to Ian Hemphill, author of The Spice and Herb Bible, Turmeric use as a
coloring is noted in an Assyrian herbal from 600 BCE, and by the seventh century was being
used in China. The explorer Marco Polo, in 1280, wrote of its use in Koncha, China.
Records of the use of Turmeric also show up in the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar) in the
eight century, and in the thirteenth century, it was being used as a dye in West Africa.
Ayurveda is the ancient a healing system of India, with long roots in the Tantric and Vedic
histories, with records that date back over 5000 years that show they have cultivated and
used Turmeric as both a food and a medicine since ancient times.
Cultivation, Harvesting and Culinary Uses
Turmeric is the rhizome or part of the root system that grows from the tuber of a
tropical herbaceous perennial plant Curcuma longa. It is native to the tropical regions of
South and Southeast Asia, traditionally growing wild in the forests. Being native to the
tropical regions of Asia, Curcuma longa thrives in temperatures of 68-86 F (20–30 C), and
requires climates with substantial rainfall.
Plants are harvested annually, and new plants are then propagated from the
rhizomes for the subsequent season’s crops. This method of selective vegetative cultivation
has enabled the plant to evolve from wild curcuma over the many years of its domestic
cultivation.
Turmeric is produced by boiling the rhizomes in water for several hours, then drying
them in hot ovens. Once dried, the rhizomes have a layer of the bright yellow turmeric
powder coating them and they are beautiful and very hard. After this process, they are
ground into the powder form. The turmeric powder is bright yellow, has an earthy aroma,
and bitter, sharp, spicy, lingering taste. The powdered spice is known by a few other
common names, Madras turmeric, Alleppey turmeric, Indian saffron, and yellow ginger.
Turmeric is commonly used to flavor curries in Indian, Thai, Iran and other Middle
Eastern cuisines. In South Africa, turmeric is blended with white rice to give it a golden
color, similar to saffron rice, but it is much less expensive to make than using saffron and
has a completely different taste. In some Indonesian cuisines, especially in areas where the
plants are grown and fresh leaves are available, the leaves of the plant are used for
additional flavor.
In Indian cuisine turmeric is used in making Muttar Panir, the classic Indian dish of
green peas and cheese, in Goat Curry, in Raita, a condiment made from fresh yogurt and
vegetables, in Mung Dahl, a nourishing legume dish, and in preparing roti, thepla and
parantha, traditional Indian flatbreads. It is used in making Khadi, a traditional medicinal
soup made from homemade buttermilk and spices used for treating any kind of digestive
problems, and in Kitchari, a brown rice and mung bean staple of the diet that is also taken
as part of a therapeutic regimen during Panch karma and detoxification.
In Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara the leaves of the plants are used as a wrap
for cooking foods in, giving them a very distinct flavor. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used
to prepare special sweet dishes such as patoleo, a Goan dish that consists of layers of rice
flour and coconut-jaggery mixture spread on the leaf, which is then wrapped in the leaf and
steamed in a special copper steamer.
Many Persian (Iranian) recipes use turmeric as a main ingredient, typically beginning
with oil, onions and turmeric as a base, and then any additional ingredients are included. In
Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes
for its color, as well as for its medicinal properties. Turmeric root is also used fresh in some
cuisines just as ginger root is. As a fresh herb, it is used to make a traditional condiment
Turmeric Pickle.
Turmeric is used in food processing to give foods a rich yellow coloring. Some
examples of this are mustards, pickles, relishes, salad dressings, canned beverages, canned
chicken broth, baked products, dairy products including ice creams, cheeses, butter,
margarine, yogurt, and in yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn, candy, icing,
cereals, sauces, gelatin, in most powdered curry products, mainly used in savoury dishes,
but is also found in some sweet dishes.
Turmeric combines well with allspice, caraway, cardamom, chilli, cinnamon and
cassia, cloves, coriander leaves and seeds, fennel seed, fenugreek seed, galangal, garlic,
ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mustard, nigella, paprika, parsley,
tamarind and Vietnamese mint.
In Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, turmeric is called Haridra. The active
ingredient, Curcumin, has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot flavor. It has a
decreasing effect on Kapha and Pitta doshas and increasing effect on Vata doshas (if
excess).
Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., a past Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in
Pune, India, and a world-renowned expert on the practices and benefits of Ayurvedic
medicine has lectured with prominent medical experts such as Deepak Chopra MD, and
Andrew Weil MD. He is also the Founder and Director of the Ayurvedic Institute in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, and author of several books on Ayurveda. He says Turmeric root
is “One of the most important herbs for both internal and external use.” As such, turmeric
plays a significant role in Ayurvedic medicine.
According to Vasant Lad, in Ayurvedic beliefs, it gives the energy of the Divine
Mother, grants prosperity, and is effective in purifying the channels of the subtle body and
clearing the Chakras (nadi-shodhana). Turmeric’s energetic properties are spicy, bitter,
astringent, pungent, and heating. It works on all the tissue-elements of the body.
It helps regulate menses, aid digestion, dissolves gallstones, decongests the liver, it
can be combined with barberry and Oregon grape root for releasing the liver as effectively
as Chinese Bupleurum. It relieves menstrual pains and helps uterine tumors.
Turmeric balances metabolism in the body, correcting excesses and deficiencies, and
helping with the digestion of protein. It helps with flexibility and stretching the ligaments
making it a good remedy for practitioners of Hatha yoga.
According to Todd Caldecott, AHG, it is used to promote liver health, skin
complexion, balance blood sugar, inhibit infection, kill parasites, and reduce inflammation.
It makes an effective gargle with salt water for sore throats, and can be taken in boiled milk
(1/2-1 teaspoon of the powder to one cup of milk) to relieve sore throats, bronchitis,
arthritis and skin problems, and it is believed to have mild contraceptive effects.
Turmeric root is considered to be Rasayana, and therefore recommended to be taken
in the evening, in an Anapuna of either honey, ghee or boiled milk after consuming alcohol,
to support the liver and build Ojas.
The Okinawans, known for their good health and longevity, drink a cold tea made
from the curcuma rhizome daily, which helps with sustaining their health and energy as
they age. It is an excellent natural antibiotic that also strengthens the digestion and helps
improve intestinal flora. It is an excellent tonic for chronically weak or ill individuals,
making it a wonderful remedy for the aging and elderly.
 Digestive
 Circulatory
 Respiratory
 Heart
 Liver
 Lungs
 Essentials oil
 Valepotriates
 Alkaloids
 Aromatic Stimulant
 Carminative
 Alterative
 Vulnerary, and
 Antibacterial
 Emmenagogue
 Cholagogue
 Analgesic
 Astringent
 Antiseptic
 Indigestion
 Poor circulation
 Cough
 Amenorrhea
 Pharyngitis
 Skin Disorders
 Diabetes
 Arthritis
 Anaemia
 Wounds
 Bruises
 Acute jaundice
 Hepatitis
 High Pitta
 Pregnancy
 Infusion
 Decoction
 Milk decoction
 Powder (250 mg to 1 g)
 Use externally with honey for sprains, strains, bruises or itch
 Use internally as a milk decoction, it is a tonic for the skin
 The standard dosage is 3-9 grams
The health benefits and properties are currently being researched for their
application in mainstream medicine as well. Uses include cancer, inflammation, and
Alzheimer’s.
In a 2009 article, Reuters Press reported that researchers at the Cork Cancer
Research Center in Ireland had amazing results in treated esophageal cancer cells with
Curcumin. The Curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.
Researchers reported that the Curcumin caused the cancer cell death "using an
unexpected system of cell messages." Normally, cells die by apoptosis, a programed cell
death that occurs when proteins called caspases are switched on in cells. The cancer cells
showed no evidence of apoptosis. The addition of a molecule that inhibits caspases and
stops this switch from being flicked made no difference to the apoptosis process.
It is thought that the Curcumin attacked the cancer cells using some alternative cell
signalling system. The cells actually began to digest themselves, they said in a study
published in the British Journal of Cancer.
In previous studies, Curcumin showed it could suppress tumors, and that it appears
people who include foods with Curcumin such as curry may be less prone to the disease.
In another study in the U.S. in 2007 researchers found evidence that Curcumin may
help stimulate immune system cells in the Alzheimer's disease.
References
Caldecott, CI.H, RH (AHG), T. (2011). Food as Medicine, the Theory and Practice of Food. (1st ed.).
Vancouver, BC, Canada: self.
Frawley, Dr., D., & Lad, Dr. B.A.M.S., M.A. Sc., V. (2001). The Yoga of Herbs, An Ayurvedic Guide to
Herbal Medicine (2nd ed.). Twin Lakes, WI, USA: Lotus Press.
Hemphill, I., & Hemphill, K. (2006). The Spice and Herb Bible (2nd ed.). Toronto, Ont, Canada:
Robert Rose Inc.
Kelland, K. (2009, October 28). Scientists Say Curry Compound Kills Cancer Cells.Reuters Press.
Retrieved October 15, 2012, from
http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/10/28/us-cancer-curry-idINTRE59R1E020091028
Lad, B.A.M.S, M.A. Sc., V. (1998). The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York, NY:
Three Rivers Press.
Tierra, ND, M. (1998). Planetary Herbology, An Integration of Western Herbs into The Traditional
Chinese and Ayurvedic Systems. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

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Whole food therapy the health benefits of turmeric

  • 1. Moira Khouri, NC, MH, HHP, CCP, RYT, CYA-RYT In this whole foods presentation we will learn about the health benefits of Turmeric from recent research and ancient Ayurvedic Medicine traditions. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) comes from the same family as Ginger root, Zingiberaceae, commonly known in herbalism by its botanical name Curcuma longa. The plants resemble ginger plants and some lily plants in that they have long flat bright green leaves that grow upwards from the base of the stem, and grow to heights of approximately 3 feet (1 meter) tall, producing pale yellow flowers. The rhizomes have the appearance of finger-like projections, which spread underground below the surface of the soil, from the main tuber. The appearance is very similar to ginger root, except that the rhizomes are smaller in diameter, about .50 of an inch (1.5 cm), are approximately 2-3.25 inches (5-8 cm) long, and have a slightly darker skin, with a more orange-yellow flesh compared to the pale yellow flesh of ginger root. According to Ian Hemphill, author of The Spice and Herb Bible, Turmeric use as a coloring is noted in an Assyrian herbal from 600 BCE, and by the seventh century was being used in China. The explorer Marco Polo, in 1280, wrote of its use in Koncha, China. Records of the use of Turmeric also show up in the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar) in the eight century, and in the thirteenth century, it was being used as a dye in West Africa. Ayurveda is the ancient a healing system of India, with long roots in the Tantric and Vedic histories, with records that date back over 5000 years that show they have cultivated and used Turmeric as both a food and a medicine since ancient times.
  • 2. Cultivation, Harvesting and Culinary Uses Turmeric is the rhizome or part of the root system that grows from the tuber of a tropical herbaceous perennial plant Curcuma longa. It is native to the tropical regions of South and Southeast Asia, traditionally growing wild in the forests. Being native to the tropical regions of Asia, Curcuma longa thrives in temperatures of 68-86 F (20–30 C), and requires climates with substantial rainfall. Plants are harvested annually, and new plants are then propagated from the rhizomes for the subsequent season’s crops. This method of selective vegetative cultivation has enabled the plant to evolve from wild curcuma over the many years of its domestic cultivation. Turmeric is produced by boiling the rhizomes in water for several hours, then drying them in hot ovens. Once dried, the rhizomes have a layer of the bright yellow turmeric powder coating them and they are beautiful and very hard. After this process, they are ground into the powder form. The turmeric powder is bright yellow, has an earthy aroma, and bitter, sharp, spicy, lingering taste. The powdered spice is known by a few other common names, Madras turmeric, Alleppey turmeric, Indian saffron, and yellow ginger. Turmeric is commonly used to flavor curries in Indian, Thai, Iran and other Middle Eastern cuisines. In South Africa, turmeric is blended with white rice to give it a golden color, similar to saffron rice, but it is much less expensive to make than using saffron and has a completely different taste. In some Indonesian cuisines, especially in areas where the plants are grown and fresh leaves are available, the leaves of the plant are used for additional flavor. In Indian cuisine turmeric is used in making Muttar Panir, the classic Indian dish of green peas and cheese, in Goat Curry, in Raita, a condiment made from fresh yogurt and vegetables, in Mung Dahl, a nourishing legume dish, and in preparing roti, thepla and parantha, traditional Indian flatbreads. It is used in making Khadi, a traditional medicinal soup made from homemade buttermilk and spices used for treating any kind of digestive problems, and in Kitchari, a brown rice and mung bean staple of the diet that is also taken as part of a therapeutic regimen during Panch karma and detoxification. In Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara the leaves of the plants are used as a wrap for cooking foods in, giving them a very distinct flavor. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes such as patoleo, a Goan dish that consists of layers of rice flour and coconut-jaggery mixture spread on the leaf, which is then wrapped in the leaf and steamed in a special copper steamer.
  • 3. Many Persian (Iranian) recipes use turmeric as a main ingredient, typically beginning with oil, onions and turmeric as a base, and then any additional ingredients are included. In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its color, as well as for its medicinal properties. Turmeric root is also used fresh in some cuisines just as ginger root is. As a fresh herb, it is used to make a traditional condiment Turmeric Pickle. Turmeric is used in food processing to give foods a rich yellow coloring. Some examples of this are mustards, pickles, relishes, salad dressings, canned beverages, canned chicken broth, baked products, dairy products including ice creams, cheeses, butter, margarine, yogurt, and in yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn, candy, icing, cereals, sauces, gelatin, in most powdered curry products, mainly used in savoury dishes, but is also found in some sweet dishes. Turmeric combines well with allspice, caraway, cardamom, chilli, cinnamon and cassia, cloves, coriander leaves and seeds, fennel seed, fenugreek seed, galangal, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mustard, nigella, paprika, parsley, tamarind and Vietnamese mint. In Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, turmeric is called Haridra. The active ingredient, Curcumin, has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot flavor. It has a decreasing effect on Kapha and Pitta doshas and increasing effect on Vata doshas (if excess). Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., a past Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune, India, and a world-renowned expert on the practices and benefits of Ayurvedic medicine has lectured with prominent medical experts such as Deepak Chopra MD, and Andrew Weil MD. He is also the Founder and Director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and author of several books on Ayurveda. He says Turmeric root is “One of the most important herbs for both internal and external use.” As such, turmeric plays a significant role in Ayurvedic medicine. According to Vasant Lad, in Ayurvedic beliefs, it gives the energy of the Divine Mother, grants prosperity, and is effective in purifying the channels of the subtle body and
  • 4. clearing the Chakras (nadi-shodhana). Turmeric’s energetic properties are spicy, bitter, astringent, pungent, and heating. It works on all the tissue-elements of the body. It helps regulate menses, aid digestion, dissolves gallstones, decongests the liver, it can be combined with barberry and Oregon grape root for releasing the liver as effectively as Chinese Bupleurum. It relieves menstrual pains and helps uterine tumors. Turmeric balances metabolism in the body, correcting excesses and deficiencies, and helping with the digestion of protein. It helps with flexibility and stretching the ligaments making it a good remedy for practitioners of Hatha yoga. According to Todd Caldecott, AHG, it is used to promote liver health, skin complexion, balance blood sugar, inhibit infection, kill parasites, and reduce inflammation. It makes an effective gargle with salt water for sore throats, and can be taken in boiled milk (1/2-1 teaspoon of the powder to one cup of milk) to relieve sore throats, bronchitis, arthritis and skin problems, and it is believed to have mild contraceptive effects. Turmeric root is considered to be Rasayana, and therefore recommended to be taken in the evening, in an Anapuna of either honey, ghee or boiled milk after consuming alcohol, to support the liver and build Ojas. The Okinawans, known for their good health and longevity, drink a cold tea made from the curcuma rhizome daily, which helps with sustaining their health and energy as they age. It is an excellent natural antibiotic that also strengthens the digestion and helps improve intestinal flora. It is an excellent tonic for chronically weak or ill individuals, making it a wonderful remedy for the aging and elderly.  Digestive  Circulatory  Respiratory  Heart  Liver  Lungs  Essentials oil  Valepotriates  Alkaloids  Aromatic Stimulant  Carminative  Alterative  Vulnerary, and  Antibacterial
  • 5.  Emmenagogue  Cholagogue  Analgesic  Astringent  Antiseptic  Indigestion  Poor circulation  Cough  Amenorrhea  Pharyngitis  Skin Disorders  Diabetes  Arthritis  Anaemia  Wounds  Bruises  Acute jaundice  Hepatitis  High Pitta  Pregnancy  Infusion  Decoction  Milk decoction  Powder (250 mg to 1 g)  Use externally with honey for sprains, strains, bruises or itch  Use internally as a milk decoction, it is a tonic for the skin  The standard dosage is 3-9 grams The health benefits and properties are currently being researched for their application in mainstream medicine as well. Uses include cancer, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s. In a 2009 article, Reuters Press reported that researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Center in Ireland had amazing results in treated esophageal cancer cells with Curcumin. The Curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours. Researchers reported that the Curcumin caused the cancer cell death "using an unexpected system of cell messages." Normally, cells die by apoptosis, a programed cell death that occurs when proteins called caspases are switched on in cells. The cancer cells
  • 6. showed no evidence of apoptosis. The addition of a molecule that inhibits caspases and stops this switch from being flicked made no difference to the apoptosis process. It is thought that the Curcumin attacked the cancer cells using some alternative cell signalling system. The cells actually began to digest themselves, they said in a study published in the British Journal of Cancer. In previous studies, Curcumin showed it could suppress tumors, and that it appears people who include foods with Curcumin such as curry may be less prone to the disease. In another study in the U.S. in 2007 researchers found evidence that Curcumin may help stimulate immune system cells in the Alzheimer's disease. References Caldecott, CI.H, RH (AHG), T. (2011). Food as Medicine, the Theory and Practice of Food. (1st ed.). Vancouver, BC, Canada: self. Frawley, Dr., D., & Lad, Dr. B.A.M.S., M.A. Sc., V. (2001). The Yoga of Herbs, An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine (2nd ed.). Twin Lakes, WI, USA: Lotus Press. Hemphill, I., & Hemphill, K. (2006). The Spice and Herb Bible (2nd ed.). Toronto, Ont, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. Kelland, K. (2009, October 28). Scientists Say Curry Compound Kills Cancer Cells.Reuters Press. Retrieved October 15, 2012, from http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/10/28/us-cancer-curry-idINTRE59R1E020091028 Lad, B.A.M.S, M.A. Sc., V. (1998). The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. Tierra, ND, M. (1998). Planetary Herbology, An Integration of Western Herbs into The Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Systems. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.