With its multiple purposes, healing properties, and unique taste, turmeric is an herb that should always be on the spice rack. Here are three ways to use start using turmeric today.
Ways to Use Turmeric
Turmeric is a shrub that is related to ginger and is among the most important spices in Asian cuisine. Usually harvested when the leaves and stem start to brown and dry, about 9 to 10 months after planting, the turmeric rhizome is cut to pieces, can be boiled for no more than 10 minutes, and then dried in the sun. The ground dried rhizome, or root is what is used as the spice.
Traditional Asian and Indian cultures have long used turmeric for a variety of applications. This versatile spice has also been making a place for itself here in the west, where many of its properties and uses are gaining much recognition and attention.
Turmeric Uses in Cooking
Ground turmeric is very aromatic as well as flavourful, and it is widely used in curries, mustards, and sauces. It is often substituted for saffron as well. Indian cuisine uses turmeric in most of its dishes as part of their curry mixes, but it can also be used for many other recipes.
Marinades for chicken can be enhanced with turmeric, and even simple home fried potatoes can benefit from its unique flavor. Along with cumin and cinnamon, turmeric blends well with chili recipes too. Many traditional Western recipes lend themselves nicely to the herb. To maximum the absorption of Curcumin, recipes that include black pepper and a good source of fat such as olive or coconut oil with the turmeric should be used.
Aside from flavoring, turmeric is also often used for food coloring, as it dyes into a rich golden yellow color. It can be used to colour such items as potato salads, salad dressings, cheese, and rice.
Just beware, turmeric can stain. Just like beets, your hands and kitchen surfaces can be stained, so it is best to wear gloves and/or clean up straight away. Hint – washing your hands with a little oil before using soap can help with the removal of any stains.
Some ideas are:
- Sprinkle turmeric powder on toast covered with avocado and a pinch of pepper.
- Sprinkle a little turmeric on your warm oatmeal and mix through
- Add a pinch of yellow goodness to your smoothies
- When roasting vegetables, add a little turmeric with olive oil and pepper. It will give them a lovely golden hue.
- Brew a turmeric tea
- Add some to your favourite dips and spreads
- Add some to your homemade custard. It will give it a lovely golden colour.
- Sprinkle a little turmeric over your homemade popcorn.
- Add it to your homemade spice mixes.
- Add some to your bone broths / stocks
Medicinal Uses of Turmeric
The medicinal uses of turmeric in Asia are countless, but some of the most common ones have gotten the attention of medical professionals on our side of the world as well. According to the National Institute of Health’s (or NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), an agent found in turmeric called curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties as found in preliminary studies.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine and NIH’s Medicine Plus website offers some results of tests done on specific ailments and how curcumin scores on efficiency in treating them. The spice has shown to have unclear, yet possible good results when used to treat several health concerns.
Some of the more important health conditions include cancer, heartburn, high cholesterol, HIV/AIDS, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, and viral infections. Although more tests have to be done to acquire more detailed results, countries in the Far East have been treating these and other conditions and many more with positive outcomes.
A turmeric paste may help with ringworm. Just mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water and spread over the ringworm. Leave for about 10 minutes before wiping off.
As turmeric has a lot of healing power and can help in the reduction of inflammation, it can be used to help in the healing of a cut. Just sprinkle a little on the cut or on a bandaid before placing over the cut. A paste (like the one above – ringworm) could also be used.
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Turmeric Use for Skin Problems
Turmeric powder has long been used for skin applications such as for the treatment of scabies and skin ulcers, according to the NCCAM. Another widely employed topical use for turmeric is to treat eczema and wound healing. A paste made with turmeric and milk or water is often used as an alternative way to treat painful skin boils.
According to results from mouse studies conducted at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, turmeric has been shown to block the growth of melanoma skin cancer.
Also, Dr. Magdalene Heng, a Ventura County-based dermatologist, has developed a cream product that contains turmeric and is used to treat psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. Dr. Heng claims that one treatment of this cream will make psoriasis disappear; she also says that it will even smooth wrinkles away.
It’s no doubt that turmeric is a powerful spice with a long list of uses. Numerous medical studies are currently being conducted for multiple medical conditions, according to the Brain Research Institute UCLA. Many researchers are even using curcumin, or synthetic variations of it, in many drugs to treat a variety of ailments. From cooking to medicine, to even wrinkles, turmeric is an effective spice that is constantly showing results and promise.
Make a face mask by mixing a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric and a little milk to make a thickish paste. It needs to be thick enough to stay on your face as you don’t want it to drip over your clothes and stain them. Hint – wear an old shirt when doing this. Spread the mask over your face being careful not to get it into your eyes or other sensitive places and let it Harden on the outside edges – about 15-20 minutes. Carefully rinse off, making sure not to splash as you don’t want to stain everything.