TURMERIC - Haldi, Haridra - Curcuma Longa - Zingiberaceae
Turmeric is a perennial grown throughout the tropical parts of Asia.
It favours a warm and humid climate. Haridra literally means ‘yellow’ and its strong yellow colour signifies its use as a liver herb that is good at drying damp and moving stagnation in the blood.
- Rasa (taste) : bitter, astringent, pungent/
- Virya (energy) : heating
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect) : pungent
- Guna (quality) : Dry, light
VPK-, PV+ in excess
Tissues (dhatus) :
All the tissues
Systems (srotas) :
Female reproductive, digestive, respiratory, circulatory
Emmenagogue, blood tonic, carminative, anti-bacterial, cholagogue, alterative, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, hypolipidaemic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic.
Lekhan ‘Scraping’ property
Deepana Enkindles the digestive fire
Prameham Useful in diabetes
Pandu Used in anaemia
Raktadoshodham Blood purifier
Artava janana Promotes menses
Jwaraghna Alleviates fever
Vishaghna Destroys poisons
Krimaghna Worm destroying
Varnya Complexion enhancer
Kushthagna Removes skin diseases
Kandughna Stops itching
Vedana sthapana Analgesic
Sandhaniya Heals broken bones
Shirovirechan Useful in clearing stagnation from the head
Stanyashodaka Purifies breasts and breast milk
DIGESTION : For all intestinal infections and mucus conditions Turmeric helps to promote ‘sweet’ intestines by reducing pathogenic bacteria and destroying ama. It has recently been proven to have an affinity for the large intestine and to play a preventative role in bowel cancer. Other clinical trials have proven its efficacy at treating dyspepsia and stomach ulcers. Its bitter and pungent flavours act on the agni of rasa dhatu and enhance its ability to nourish the plasma and blood. Traditionally used in diabetes to clear ama, kapha and excess fat tissue.
LIVER : A stimulant effect to the liver and ranjaka pitta increases the flow of blood through the hepatic system and increases bile output. This helps to dissolve and prevent gallstones. It is traditionally considered a blood purifier and is often used for beautifying the skin and clearing systemic toxaemia, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis and acne. As with many liver herbs it is also good for the eyes. A wash is used in conjunctivitis and styes.
GYNAECOLOGY : Turmeric is used to clear kapha accumulations from the lower abdomen, uterus and apanakshetra. Fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and leucorrhoea are all treated by reducing congestion. As a specific herb for rasa dhatu it also works on its secondary tissue stanyasrotas and is used to purify breast milk as well as to promote the flow of the menses. A poultice can be very effective in mastitis.
INFLAMMATION : Curcumin reduces inflammation caused by arachidonic acid (cf usage for dysmenorrhoea). It is used in dermatitis, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis, colitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis. Hence it is used in pitta-kapha conditions at low doses and mixed with other bitter herbs. It is also a renowned anti-bacterial.
JOINTS : It treats inflammation of the joints, alleviates pain and strengthens the joints and tendons. Useful for treating gout, arthritis, broken bones and wounds.
HEART : Turmeric nourishes the heart by virtue of its raktavardhak and blood building quality. By increasing blood flow and reducing total cholesterol Turmeric helps the functions of the heart. It has an anti-platelet activity and scrapes accumulations from the channels (lekhaniya) that helps to prevent coagulation and reduce kapha in the blood.
INFECTION : Turmeric is an excellent anti-biotic useful in fevers, sore throat and scepticaemia.
External Excellent for reducing pain as a topical application in bruises, infections, sprains and pain. Use it carefully as it is very staining to the skin and anything it comes into contact with.
* Although at high doses it can aggravate pitta, used judiciously it is an excellent remedy for all diseases of rasa and rakta. It has a particular affinity for blood related disorders.
* Traditionally popular with yogis to help stretch ligaments and repair injuries. Also said to clean the nadi network of channels.
* It has another yogic use as part of ganesh kriya : a freshly peeled root is inserted into the anus to cleanse the rectum and physically help to open mooladhara chakara.
* Turmeric alleviates vata and kapha by virtue of its hot energy and pitta via its bitter flavour.
* Its pungency combined with its bitter taste, dries and clears ama from the system.
* Many Curcuma species have medicinal uses. Karchur (Curcuma zedoaria) is used to reduce kapha and increase circulation
- Kutki, Bhumiamalaki, Pippali in liver congestion with high kapha and pitta; hepatitis, jaundice.
- Amalaki and Daruharidra in diabetes and for ‘cooling’ the liver.
- Small amounts ( 1:10 ) of Black or Long pepper as the piperine content enhances the anti-inflammatory activity of Turmeric.
- Guggul, Mustaka, Punarnava for congestion in the lower abdomen and menstrual imbalance with pain, tumours and clots.
- Neem and Guduchi as anti-inflammatory treatment with a kapha-pitta pathology.
- Guggul, Arjuna, Amalaki for heart conditions such as angina and atherosclerosis.
- Neem, Kutki, Long Pepper for liver disease.
- Ginger, Licorice and Cloves in sore throats and fevers
- Neem leaf externally for infections and inflammations.
- Myrrh for pain and bruises.
- Frankincense, Guggul, Black Pepper, Musta and Triphala for arthritis.
1–10g / day dried root
Curcuma Longa roots in powder