Something that is found routinely on Asian kitchen shelves and is increasingly now found in kitchens all over the world, is turmeric.
Long known and revered for its natural antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties, it is now increasing in popularity the world over both as a condiment as well as a medical aid.
If brides in many south Asian countries are routinely anointed with turmeric paste because it is said to make skin glow, and if it is commonly applied on minor cuts and grazes as a healing aid, this is not inconsistent with what scientists are increasingly discovering about turmeric.
Turmeric is well known for treating minor cuts and wounds since it is known to have antibacterial properties.
Since it is a natural antiseptic, among the less advanced societies, this is something that is widely used to treat minor ailments because of its efficacy as well as its ready availability.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent. One traditional remedy for a sore throat and cough is turmeric mixed with warm milk.
It may not taste great, but generations have sworn to efficacy of this in treating a bad throat due to the way that the turmeric acts to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
It is also used to ease gastrointestinal discomfort and is sometimes effectively seen to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
Turmeric is widely used in Ayurveda. Traditionally turmeric is an important ingredient in the Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda.
It is also used in a lot of cosmetics. Not only in traditional societies, but even modern, western societies are making use of turmeric for cosmetics.
And this is not just for things such as antiseptic creams, but also is used in making sunscreens because of antioxidant and skin lightening properties.
Modern medicine is exploring the use of turmeric in treating a variety of ailments. Curcumin, found in turmeric, which is principally responsible for turmeric’s restorative properties, is being experimented with in order to find possible curative uses for it.
Modern researchers are investigating the possibility of using turmeric and its medicinal properties to treat Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other biological disorders.
Trials have been conducted to see if turmeric has a beneficial effect on cancers of the pancreas, multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer etc.
One study even found that curcumin is able to destroy cells of esophageal cancer. Turmeric is seen to support nerve growth. It is also seen to be useful in treating snake bites.