Turmeric is one of the most versatile and multipurpose spices with medicinal qualities used in Ayurveda—the ancient science of life.
Turmeric rhizomes are used as spice either fresh or dried in the form of bright yellow powder. It’s main active ingredient is curcumin, which gives it the intense golden yellow color.
It is antiseptic and healing. As a child, I remember any time we received a bruise or cut on our skin while playing or while in the kitchen helping mom, she would immediately wash the affected skin area and fill it with turmeric powder (in India, it is known as Haldi powder). The bleeding would stop and the wound would heal quickly.
This wonderful tonic also has nutritional value—it is a rich source of iron—so taken with organic whole milk and jaggery, helps in anemic conditions. It is great for respiratory health and it helps relieve the itchy throat condition and cough/cold if taken as prescribed regularly by an Ayurvedic practitioner. It is a great anti-inflammatory agent and helps ease joint pain, strains, and sprains if taken through curries and other dishes. It’s bitter taste helps to contribute to healthy gall bladder activity. Also, it’s antibacterial properties help clean the digestive system.
A paste of turmeric applied on skin helps eliminate unwanted hair and improves complexion. In fact, in a religious ritual in Indian marriages, organic turmeric paste is applied with love to the bride by all her women friends and family—that is what makes the bride look bright and beautiful.
So all these properties of Turmeric, truly makes it an indispensable ingredient of kitchen curry powders and homemade natural medicines. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is effectively absorbed when it is taken with saturated fats like oil, ghee, or organic whole milk. Growing up, I observed that most Indian cooking is not complete without adding turmeric to the oil while tempering.
During these current challenging times ( Covid-19), knowing these medicinal properties of turmeric, I have been diligently using the turmeric with a lot of reverence daily in my kitchen in many dishes I prepare to keep me and my family safe and healthy. Try this fresh turmeric and ginger pickle recipe and start experiencing the many benefits of turmeric!
RECIPE: TURMERIC-GINGER PICKLE
3 pieces of 3″ long fresh-peeled Turmeric
1 piece of 3″ long fresh-peeled Ginger
1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of Asafoetida
1 tablespoon of Olive oil
1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt for taste
- Cut the Turmeric in tiny pieces, small, thin roundish slices.
- Grate the fresh ginger.
- Warm the olive oil, temper the mustard seeds, then add Asafoetida, ground black pepper powder, and grated ginger.
- Let it cook for a minute or two, then add finely cut turmeric pieces and stir well. Add salt and keep stirring for 3–4 minutes on slow flame.
- Switch off the burner and let the pickle cool.
- Transfer to a clean glass jar with an airtight lid. Enjoy!
Ayurveda Culinary Retreat