- The member of ‘Zingiberaceace’ family, turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is an ancient spice, a food preservative and coloring material widely used in Nepal, India, China and South East Asia.
- The plant is leafy, erect and perennial whose rhizomes (underground stem) are boiled and dried to yield a deep orange-yellow powder. Today, the plant is cultivated in the tropic and sub tropic regions of the world due to various uses.
- Generally used as a spice, the deep yellowish powder can also be used as medicine which is proved by various research studies showing turmeric can assist to cure number of illnesses.
- As an ancient Chinese medicine, we use turmeric as an antidepressant, aspirant, flatus-reliving, emenagogue (promote menstrual discharge), diuretic (increase the flow of urine) and detergent agent.
- While using turmeric as an Ayurvedic medicine, inflammatory conditions, disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints and digestive systems are treated.
- The use of Turmeric can also be seen in textile and pharmaceutical industries or in Hindu culture in one way or another for auspicious ceremonies.
Turmeric in COVID19
Since there is not any definite treatment of COVID 19 till date today. No effective vaccines have been invented neither any specific medicine for prevention or cure. Although in some cases retroviral drugs and hydroxychloroquine is used. No proved drugs have been recommended. So, the cases of death due to most commonly by respiratory syndrome with fulminant hypercytokinemia and multiple organs failure has been increasing day by day. Infection rate is also increasing day to day. Although many survive through the infection, it is estimates that survivors of serious infection may tends to lose 10 years of their life which may be due to the permanent lung damage caused by COVID inflammation. The one option remain in fighting against devastating consequences of corona infection is to fight inflammation and also strengthening immune system.
- Turmeric is considered to have strong anti-inflammatory properties and enhance immune function via multiple mechanisms. Various researches have been conducted in turmeric and its derivatives to determine the range to cure and prevent various diseases.
- Among all, curcumin, a secondary metabolite of turmeric, found to have strong interaction with protease of COVID19.
- Curcumin has been shown anti -viral properties by inhibiting the replication of virus such as Dengue virus, Hepatitis B and Zika.
- Curcumin reduces inflammation by reducing cytokine production and this can be helpful in recovery lungs injury associated with COVID 19.
- Many studies shown that it has play vital role in inhibiting influenza virus infection via different pathways and researchers have also found its usefulness also in management of influenza virus.
- Since it has been used as common household remedy for sore throat, cough and also respiratory ailments in many countries and symptoms of COVID 19 is also very similar, it may be effective to consume turmeric to reduce the risk of this devastating disease.
- According to the Vedic culture, we can find that the use of turmeric dates to 4000years ago where people used it as a cooking spice and possessed religious significance. It reached China during the year 700AD, 800AD in East Africa, West Africa by 1200 AD, and Jamaica in the 18th Century. In 1280, Marco Polo related the spice astonished at a vegetable that had qualities like that of saffron.
- Turmeric always had long stories of medicinal use in South Asia according to Sanskrit medical treaties and Ayurvedic and Unani systems. Dating back to 250 BC, Susruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium recommends an ointment containing turmeric to relive the effects of poisoned food.
- The temperature for turmeric plant to grow is between 20°C and 30°C and require large amount of annual rainfall. These plants usually grow up to the height of 2-4 m.
- The soil must be rich and friable (sandy and dusty) like light black, ashy loam and red soil in irrigated and rain fed areas.
- Harvesting is usually extended from January to March-April where early varieties of the plant mature in 7-8 months and medium varieties in 8-9 months.
- The leaves turn into yellow and start drying up and only then harvesting must done. Medium heavy soil requires 15 to 25 irrigations while light texture red soils require 35-40 irrigations.
- The rhizomes seeds are then piled up in a well-ventilated storage or shade of trees which must be covered with turmeric leaves. Another simple way is to use pits with sawdust to store these seeds.
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- Nurse wounds, bruises, swollen joints and sprains.
- Treat biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis.
- Powdered turmeric provide relief to patients having respiratory disease when applied as capsule.
- Neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s immunity. However, there are insufficient evidence to justify this statement.
- Treat digestive disorders.
- Ease Osteoarthritis and menstrual cramp pain.
- Cure bacterial infections
- Enhance skin conditions and comfort irritated tissue.
- Encourage balanced mood
- Beneficial to treat scabies.
Side Effects and Precautions
- Rare cases of allergic contact dermatitis.
- Not recommended to use turmeric in case of gallstones or bile duct obstruction.
- Increase bruising and bleeding risks in people with bleeding disorders.
- Could have additive effect with anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs.
- Lowers level of testosterone and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men.
- Absorption of iron may be prevented if taken in excessive doses.
- Puts pregnancy at risk by encouraging menstrual period or stimulating the uterus.
Subkingdom: Tracheobionata(vascular plants)
Family:Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)
Genus: Curcuma L
Species:curmuma longa L
Common name: Turmeric
Since the distant past, we can conclude that turmeric has been used for various applications, whether as a religious significance in Hindu religion or to the treatment for various health related problems as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Nepal, India and other south Asian countries use turmeric as a traditional cure for treating Asthma, colds and respiratory related health problems. Even at low level consumption, we can extract the advantageous effects of turmeric by dietary consumption (intake through orally) to treat conditions like menstrual problems, pain, epilepsy, jaundice, etc. Although, it has been recognized as an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-oxidant and a cancer preventative, and its compounds seem to have potent pharmacological properties, no studies for drug- development have been performed as of now. Though, the amount of enthusiasm has been increased with natural products like turmeric that has such highly promising capabilities.
- MuthuswamyAnandaraj, M. R. Sudharshan (2011), SOILS, PLANT GROWTH AND CROP PRODUCTION – Cardamom, Ginger and Turmeric Link: http://www.eolss.net/Sample-Chapters/C10/E1-05A-49-00.pdf
- Shiyou Li, Wei Yuan, Ping Wang (2011), Chemical composition and product quality control of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) Link: https://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=agriculture_facultypubs
- Roshan Prasad Yadav and Gaur Tarun (2017), Versatility of turmeric: A review the golden spice of life. Link:http://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2017/vol6issue1/PartA/6-1-17-211.pdf
- DebjitBhowmik, K P Sampath Kumar, Margret Chandira, BalasundaramJayakar (2008), Turmeric: A Herbal and Traditional Medicine.Link:https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debjit_Bhowmik4/publication/268268687_Turmeric_A_Herbal_and_Traditional_Medicine/links/5552dedf08aeaaff3bf001f1.pdf
- Ishita Chattopadhyay , Kaushik Biswas , UdayBandyopadhyay and Ranajit K. Banerjee(2003), Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications Link: http://repository.ias.ac.in/5196/1/306.pdf
- CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton(2012), Herbal Medicine:Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd edition Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/#:~:text=The%20use%20of%20turmeric%20dates,Jamaica%20in%20the%20eighteenth%20century