In recent years turmeric has attracted quite a bit of interest for its natural healing properties, but it has actually been used medicinally for over 4,500 years.
Analyses of pots discovered near New Delhi uncovered residue from turmeric, ginger and garlic that dates back as early as 2500 BC.It was around 500 BC that turmeric emerged as an important part of Ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of natural healing that is still practiced today. Ayurveda translates to “science of life”– ayur meaning “life” and Veda meaning “science or knowledge.”
Inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds and bruises, and turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox to blemishes and shingles.
Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for turmeric, including jayanti, meaning “one who is victorious over diseases,” and matrimanika, meaning “as beautiful as moonlight.” 
This ancient spice turmeric, the golden colored strongly flavored spice, celebrated for centuries as both food and medicine, has resurfaced within the health and nutrition communities thanks to curcumin, the healing substance which supplies its vibrant color. Curcumin has significant anti-inflammatory properties that are said to rival those found in ibuprofen.
Unlike over-the-counter drugs, turmeric has no toxic effects on the body. Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant advantages have been shown to protect healthy cells, particularly those found in the colon, from cancer-causing agents. Turmeric is also known to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease*.
Importance of turmeric in Indian culture
In Indian culture, the importance of turmeric goes far beyond medicine. The Hindu religion sees turmeric as auspicious and sacred. There is a wedding day tradition in which a string, dyed yellow with turmeric paste, is tied around the bride’s neck by her groom. This necklace, known as a Mangala sutra, indicates that the woman is married and capable of running a household.
The tradition still continues in Hindu communities and has been compared to the Western exchange of wedding rings. In parts of southern India, a piece of the turmeric rhizome is worn as an amulet for protection against evil spirits.
The vibrant yellow natural coloring of turmeric has also been used to dye clothing and thread for centuries. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with turmeric. In Kerala, a state in southwest India, children were given turmeric-dyed clothing to wear during the Onam festival. The reason for this is unclear, though it likely has to do with the color’s association with Lord Krishna.
In the United States turmeric has gained tremendous popularity and is projected to reach 1.3 billion dollars by 2024.
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*This article is intended for informational purposes. The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.