Turmeric or Indian Haldi


Botanical Name: Curcuma longa
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma
Species: C. longa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Turmeric root

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Syn : Curcuma domestica Val.

English name: Turmeric.

Sanskrit name: Haridra.

Vernacular names: Asm : Holodhi; Ben: Halud; Guj : Halada; Hin : Haldi; Kan : Arisina; Kon : Holldi, Ghor hollad; Mal: Manjella-kua; Mar: Halede; Mun : Hatu sasang, Sasang; Orn: Balka; Ori : Haladi; Sad: Haldi; San: Oerel sasan; Tam: Manjal; Tel: Pasupu.
Trade name: Haldi.
Termaric is also known as :Haridra, Rajani, Nisha, Haldi, Halada, Curcuma Longa.

Habitat:Indigenous to Paresnath (Bihar); widely cultivated in West Bengal and other parts of India; Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Description:Herb with large ovoid rootstock, sessile tubers thick, cylindric, bright yellow inside; petiole 60 cm long, leav.es green, 30-45 cm by 10-20 cm; peduncle 15 cm or more long, hidden by sheathing petiole, spikes 10-15 cm, about 5 cm in diameter; bracts pale green, ovate, about 3.7 cm long, those of the coma pale pink; flowers yellow, as long as the bracts. Flowering: Autumn.

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Ecology and cultivation: Tropical plant; cultivated throughout the tropics. Chemical contents: Essential oil from rhizome: curcumin.

Turmeric,an essential ingredient of most Indian curries, the spice was paid tribute by Marco Polo; he compared it favorably to saffron, and noted its importance in traditional medicines. Indeed, Indian doctors have long reached for the knobby yellow root to treat a variety of ailments from skin disease to stomachache and infection.


Turmeric has been a traditional household item for centuries and is often used in conjunction with Neem as a purifying herb that promotes healthy skin through systemic blood purification. Its effect in wound healing has been well documented.

Curcuma longa is a rhizomatus, perennial herb with tufted leaves. Its rhizome contains Curcumin. It is an auspicious article in all religious observances in Hindu households. The antioxidant properties of the powder are probably due to the phenolic character of Curcumin. It also has anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activity. It reduces cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar

Medicinal Uses and indications:

In Indian systems of medicine, turmeric is used as a stomachic, tonic and blood purifier. It is also prescribed as an antiperiodic alterative. Mixed with warm milk it is said to be beneficial in common cold. The juice of the fresh rhizome is used as an anti parasitic for many skin affections. Externally, it is applied to ulcers, and a paste made from the powdered rhizome with lime is a remedy for inflamed joints. A decoction of the rhizome relieves the pain of purulent ophthalmia. Oil of turmeric, distilled from the dried rhizomes, has mild antiseptic properties. It is an antacid and, in small doses, acts as a carminative, appetizer and tonic. In large doses, however, it appears to act as an antispasmodic inhibiting excessive peristaltic movements of the intestines.”

In Hawaii, rhizome is used against growth of nostrils, for cleaning blood and as gargle; green rhizome is given for whooping and other coughs. In Sri Lanka, Rhizome paste is used in skeletal fracture. Extensive research is being carried out on the nutritional and medicinal value of this plant.

Traditional use: ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH AND ASSAM: Rhizome: in migrain; SANTALS : (i) Rhizome: in hazy vision, inflammation of eye, night blindness, subnormal temperature after fever, spleen consumption, Basli rog (pain similar to rheumatism), rheumatism due to draught, lock-jaw, Rosbi (stealth convulsions with indistinct speech), chronic scabies, sores and curbuncles, infantile atrophy, indigestion, prolapsus ani and fistula ani, bronchitis, cough and cold, puerperal fever; (ii) Extract of Rhizome: in rhagades; (iii) Bulb: in drying up of lactation; (iv) Flower: in cholera, sores in throat, syphilis; (v) Dried Flower: in icterus; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF RANCHI and HAZARIBAGH(Bihar): (i) Leaf: in cold, fever, pneumonia; GARHWALI: Rhizome: in pimples and feckles on face, wounds, leprosy; KUMAONI : Rhizome: in cough, insect stings, wounds; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana) : Rhizome: in body pain, headache; TRIBES OF ARAKU VALLEY (Andhra Pradesh) : Rhizome: as anthelmintic..

Modern use: Rhizome: ingredient of ‘Geriforte’-effective in senile pruritis, Vitafix -useful in premature ejaculation, insect repellent against houseflies, insecticide, antifungal; EtOH (50%) extract of rhizome: antiprotozoal, spasmolytic, hypotensive, Central Nervous System depressant; daily consumption of 1 gm raw rhizome helps to fight decaying metabolism and thus prevents cancer; Essential oil from rhizome: anti­arthritic, antifungal,. anti-inflammatory, antibacterial.

RIGVEDA : Rhizome: improves body complexion and apetite; YAJURVEDA : Rhizome: is a blood-purifier, improves body complexion; CHARAKA SAMHITA : laxative, useful in leprosyand against contaminuos microbes; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : digestive; AYURVEDA : Rhizome: effective against bacterial infection, skin diseases, intestinal worms, liver complaints, stammering, filaria, asthma, sprain, boils, wounds, conjuctivitis, thirst due to phlegm, allergic reactions, against leeches, .minor ingredient of a drug for malarial fever.

SIDDHA : Rhizome: ingredient of Kappu mancal, Manchal.

UNANI : ingredient of ‘Majnoor-e-falsfa’, useful in gastrointestinal complaints; Powder of rhizome: used as antifertility agent.

While turmeric has a long history of use by herbalists, most studies to date have been conducted in the laboratory or in animals and it is not clear that these results apply to people. Nevertheless, research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions.

.Digestive Disorder.stomach upset, gas, abdominal cramps): The German Commission E (an authoritative body that determined which herbs could be safely prescribed in that country and for which purpose[s]) approved turmeric for a variety of digestive disorders. Curcumin, for example, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, induces the flow of bile, which helps break down fats. In an animal study, extracts of turmeric root reduced secretion of acid from the stomach and protected against injuries such as inflammation along the stomach (gastritis) or intestinal walls and ulcers from certain medications, stress, or alcohol. Further studies are needed to know to what extent these protective effects apply to people as well.

Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals containing turmeric as well as Withinia somnifera (winter cherry), Boswellia serrata (Boswellia), and zinc significantly reduced pain and disability. While encouraging for the value of this Ayurvedic combination therapy to help with osteoarthritis, it is difficult to know how much of this success is from turmeric alone, one of the other individual herbs, or the combination of herbs working in tandem.

Early studies suggest that turmeric may prove helpful in preventing the build up of atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries that can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke) in one of two ways. First, in animal studies an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and inhibited the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL deposits in the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Turmeric may also prevent platelet build up along the walls of an injured blood vessel. Platelets collecting at the site of a damaged blood vessel cause blood clots to form and blockage of the artery as well. Studies of the use of turmeric to prevent or treat heart disease in people would be interesting in terms of determining if these mechanisms discovered in animals apply to people at risk for this condition

There has been a substantial amount of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer potential. Evidence from laboratory and animal studies suggests that curcumin has potential in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Human studies will be necessary before it is known to what extent these results may apply to people.

Roundworms and Intestinal worms:
Laboratory studies suggest that curcuminoids, the active components of turmeric, may reduce the destructive activity of parasites or roundworms.

Liver Disease:
Animal studies provide evidence that turmeric can protect the liver from a number of damaging substances such as carbon tetrachloride and acetominophen (also called paracetamol, this medication, used commonly for headache and pain, can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities or in someone who drinks alcohol regularly.) Turmeric accomplishes this, in part, by helping to clear such toxins from the body and by protecting the liver from damage.

Bacterial Infection
Turmeric’s volatile oil functions as an external antibiotic, preventing bacterial infection in wounds.

In animal studies, turmeric applied to wounds hastens the healing process.

Mosquito Repellent
A mixture of the volatile oils of turmeric, citronella, and hairy basil, with the addition of vanillin (an extract of vanilla bean that is generally used for flavoring or perfumes), may be an alternative to D.E.E.T., one of the most common chemical repellents commercially available.

Eye Disorder
One study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the sclera [white outer coat of the eye] and the retina [the back of the eye]) suggests that curcumin may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder. The uvea contains many of the blood vessels that nourish the eye. Inflammation of this area, therefore, can affect the cornea, the retina, the sclera, and other important parts of the eye. More research is needed to best understand whether curcumin may help treat this eye inflammation.

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The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

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