The traditional use of turmeric was in India as an antiseptic. It has been
in very wide use by women for skin care, particularly to discourage facial
hair and acne. Turmeric is also well known as a domestic spice around the
world. It is found in abundant in southern parts of India.
Description of Turmeric leaf
Turmeric is a perennial plant with roots or tubers about 1 metre in height.
Rhizome thick much-branched, large leaves, golden yellow. It is a deep
orange on the inside and has roots about 2 feet long. Inflorescene
cylindrical arising, from the leaves on a scape of yellow flowers and
greenish or whitish brats with pink tips. Turmeric is also called 'Indian
saffron' because of its brilliant yellow color and Indian turmeric is
considered the best in the world.
Spicy, Earthy, Warm-woody
Yellow to slightly yellow green
Turmeric leaf oil has various
chemical compounds that include phellandrene, limonene, zingiberene,
curcumene, turmerone, turmerone, turmerone and cineole.
: Turmeric oil is extracted by the steam
distillation of roots and rhizome.
The properties are aphrodisiac, analgesic, anti-arthritic,
anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumoral, bactericidal, diuretic,
hypotensive, insecticidal, laxative, rubefacient and digestive stimulant.
Turmeric is seen as an excellent natural antibiotic, while at the same time
it strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora. It is a good
anti-bacterial for chronically weak or ill. It not only purifies the blood,
but also warms it and stimulates formation of new blood tissue. Turmeric
gives the energy of the divine mother and grants prosperity. It is effective
for cleansing the chakras (nadi-shodhana), purifying the channels of the
subtle body. It helps stretch the ligaments and is, therefore, good for the
practice of hatha yoga. Turmeric promotes proper metabolism in the body,
correcting both excesses and deficiencies. It is bitter, slightly pungent
and a good blood purifier, and works as a tonic to aid digestion and relieve
congestion. It has a soothing action on respiratory ailments such as cough
and asthma. It also is antiarthritic and acts as a natural anti-bacterial.
Turmeric may be added to high-protein food to assist digestion and prevent
the formation of gas.
Turmeric leaf essential oil is viewed as a strong relaxant and balancer. It
also has historical applications as an antiseptic and for skin care use
against acne and facial hair in women. It provides aid to the nervous
fatigue, relieves physical and mental depression. It removes liver
obstruction, dropsy, jaundice, externally used for ulcers and inflammation.
Turmeric is used in number of important uses as it contains a variety of
bioactive substances called curcuminoids
. The most active
component is curcumin, an orange-yellow volatile oil that includes three
atlantone and zingiberone. Research shows that turmeric and its curcuminoids
have a number of beneficial properties:
- It act as a good antioxidant , comparing well with vitamin C,
vitamin E and superoxide dismutase.
- It is good anti-inflammatory that is comparable to steroidal and
- It has anticancerous properties affecting all the steps of cancer
formation: initiation, promotion and progression.
- It protects the cardiovascular system by lowering serum cholesterol
and inhibiting platelet aggregation.
- It protects the liver by several mechanisms thereby curing jaundice
and other liver disorders.
- It is helpful in vitro and in vivo studies which shows that
curcuminoids can help with HIV in a number of ways, including acting as
biological response modifiers, resulting in significant increases in
CD-4 and CD-8 counts.
Curcuminoids have considerable anti-inflammatory activity due to their
ability to inhibit prostglandin inhibition. Curcuminoids have also been
shown to inhibit nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that converts L-arginine
to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is implicated in inflammation and cancer, the
therapeutic properties of curcumin make it an invaluable preventive
constituent. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant against the superoxide radical
as well as other free-radicals. Turmeric paste mixed with a little lime and
saltpetre and applied hot is a popular application to sprains, bruises,
wounds, and inflammatory troubles of the joints. In small-pox and chickenpox
a coating of turmeric powder or thin paste is applied to facilitate the
process of scabbing and decoction of turmeric is used in combating germs.
Turmeric has a great role in flavorings for food additives. It is used to
give golden color to foods such as curries, mustards, mayonnaise, pickles
and sauces. It is sometimes substituted for Saffron. Its chief use is in the
manufacture of curry powders. It is also used as an adulterant of mustard
and a substitute for it and forms one of the major ingredients for spices
and condiments. Tincture of Turmeric is used as a colouring agent in food
flavors. Turmeric is used in number of products for enhancing the taste and
aroma especially in making different chutneys. Chutney retains a strong
fruit flavor, enhanced with honey or molasses, balanced with lime juice or
vinegar, as well as with such seasonings containing turmeric. Seasonal
chutneys include cranberry, eggplant, figs, gooseberries, peach and tomato.
Turmeric Chutney's has lot of versatility that adds to its appeal among
professional culinaries. Chutneys are good with fish and grilled/roasted
Dried rhizomes are largely used as spices and it is also used as a
composition of Indian pickles and curry powders. The oleoresin of
turmeric leaf oil is used for oil-containing products.
curcumin solution or curcumin powder dissolved in alcohol is used for water
containing products. Turmeric has found application in canned beverages,
baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes, biscuits,
popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatines, direct
compression tablets etc. It has been used to colour cheeses, dry mixes,
salad dressings, winter butter and margarine.
It is one of the most important colouring materials of India. The leaf oil
yield the orange-red dye. It is much used to impart a yellow colour to
cloth. In Himalayan region dried roots are used in many religious practices
and its powder is used as pithiya (for tilaka).
Turmeric colour also serves as a chemical indicator since it changes its
colour on adding acids or alkalies.
Curcuma oil (obtained from turmeric) is an effective mosquito repellant and
compares favorably with dimethyl phthalate in its repellant action against
mosquitoes. Natural dyes derived from plant extracts are being used in hair
colorant products, curcumin from turmeric also used in natural dye produces
a range of color from yellow to deep orange. The oleoresin obtained by
extraction of tubers of Curcuma longa with volatile solvents and chiefly
contains resin and yellow colouring matter known as curcuminoids which is
used extensively in fragrance creation in perfumery industry.
Cosmetic and Toiletries :
Turmeric is currently used in the formulation of some sun screens. Turmeric
paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair.
Turmeric paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places
of India where it is believed turmeric gives glow to skin and keeps some
harmful bacteria away from the body. Curcumin is recommended for the
prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Curcumin, as natural phenolics has antioxidant property, an ability to
counteract free radical damage by scavenging or neutralizing free radicals
built in the human body to prevent the process of aging. Turmeric is a very
popular cosmetic ingredient used by women and ranges from many uses
especially in skin care and hair care. Traditionally women rub turmeric on
their cheeks to produce a natural golden glow, extract of turmeric has been
added to creams for use as a colouring agent.
Turmeric improves skin complexion and also reduces hair growth on
There are lots of herbal products in the market in which main
herb used is turmeric as natural ingredient. These constitute home remedies
for skin and hair problems.
Natural cleansers like milk with turmeric oil are effective natural
cosmetics in themselves; it brings a healthy glow to the skin and makes them
beautiful. They also help to restore or maintain youth by controlling
wrinkle and crease formation on the surface of the skin. Turmeric can also
benefit skin conditions including: eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Effectual healing properties of turmeric oil have made it accepted
ingredient in cosmetics and drugs, as the leaf oil of turmeric and extract
can also be used as bio-pesticides and sunscreens.