In Vedic times, turmeric had many names. Each name denoted a specific beneficial property of the spice.
A few examples of include:
Ranjani- That which gives color
Haridra- Dear to Hari or Lord Krishna
Hemaragi- Having golden color
In medieval times, turmeric was given the Latin name terramerita (terremerite in French,) which means “meritorious earth”.
It’s no surprise that ancient societies had so many affectionate names for this spice. Modern scientific studies are finding that turmeric has more healing properties than even the ancient texts could foresee, notably the properties of an anticarcinogen.
But lets start with the practical origins of this colorful spice. Here are some of the ways turmeric was used throughout its 6000-year period of documented medicinal and religious use:
• As a spice
• As an auspicious substance in Indian religious rituals
• As a dye
• As a cosmetic
• As a medicine
Ancient Ayurvedic texts, including the Charaka samhita, Sushruta samhita, and Ashtanga sangraha, record turmeric’s positive effects on afflictions such as diabetes, leprosy, extreme thirst, and elephantiasis.
Ancient Ayurvedic scholar Bhavamisra defined turmeric as a cure for Kapha- phlegmatic disorders, and Pitta- digestive, metabolic, and related diseases.
Furthermore, Ayurveda defines turmeric as Vranahara- ulcer healing, Varnya- complexion improving, and Tvakdoshahara- skin disease curing.
Modern science is no stranger to the benefits of this versatile substance. Currently one of the most intensively researched plants, turmeric’s medicinal properties have been documented in over 5,600 published biomedical studies. These studies have concluded that the spice can be used:
• As an anti-carcinogen
• As an anti-inflammatory
• To ward off heart attacks
• To delay diabetes
• To tame indigestion
• And even to repair stem cells in the brain!
Home remedies using turmeric are numerous and easy to concoct. As a rash, complexion, or acne remedy, one can simply mix turmeric in water to make a paste. Leave the paste on the affected area for some time, but remove if a burning sensation occurs. One could also mix it with honey (a natural antiseptic) or sandalwood paste.
Here's a home recipe for a delicious, drinkable turmeric remedy:
1/2 tsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 – 2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
a few strands of saffron (optional)
1 cup of almond, soy or hazelnut milk