People all over the world have been benefiting from the herb curcuma longa for thousands of years. Also known as turmeric, curcuma longa is a member of the ginger family and its perennial roots are native to the tropics of South Asia. The rhizomes, or root of this plant, are most frequently prepared by being boiled for several hours and then dried in a hot oven. Once the rhizomes are completely dried, they are ground into a vivid orange powder. Chances are you have cooked with or tasted food with seasoned with turmeric, yet you may not have truly realized all the healing powers it has. Continue reading to discover some of the earliest uses of curcuma longa as well as the ways it is being used to improve the quality of health today.
While this herb is known as turmeric or curcuma longa today, many other regions around the tropics of South Asia had their own name for this plant. Hawaii, Indonesia, and the Polynesian Islands used names such as kunyit, Olena and Ango for the curcuma longa root, and eventually medieval Europe became exposed to this root and called it Indian Saffron. Yet, no matter where it grew or what it was called, all of these primitive civilizations used turmeric for similar remedies. Turmeric was often used in these cultures, as well as Ayurvedic medicine, as an antiseptic to treat cuts, bruises and burns. Curcuma longa also proved to be very effective for the digestive system and was frequently used to cure bloating, flatulence and loss of appetite. The most common way to use curcuma longa was in powder form, however, when used externally, the powder was often turned into a paste.
While turmeric has being curing ailments for hundreds of years, there is still little hard evidence to support that its cures are truly effective. That being said, scientists have performed some limited studies and are beginning to crack the surface of what curcuma longa is really capable of. Turmeric has proven to be an effective antioxidant and may assist in preventing some cancers and heart disease. Traditional uses of turmeric for intestinal conditions are still being studied, however it is clear that long-term use may actually cause heartburn or ulcers. There is some evidence to suggest that turmeric is effective in treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and there are several studies currently underway to see how this herb effects Alzheimer's disease, liver disease, cancer, high cholesterol, HIV, AIDS, inflammation, scabies and a vision disorder called chronic anterior uveitis. Turmeric continues to grow in popularity as a natural and holistic cure for ailments, and since very few side effects have been reported, it is considered to be very safe as long as it is consumed in appropriate amounts. Perhaps the best way to know if curcuma longa is effective for you personally is to try it for yourself. If possible, add it to your diet by using it as a spice in your meals or by mixing it with honey and herb tea. Turmeric is also available in capsule form with dosages of 250-500 mg. Be sure to consult your doctor before incorporating a lot of turmeric into your diet.