Growing up in a Malayali household, I remember my grandfather harvesting turmeric in his backyard to make fresh homemade powder. We never had to buy it from the market, because a single harvest would last enough for a year. No curries or dishes were made without adding a pinch of this yellow spice.
Though it is an essential ingredient in every Indian kitchen, the usage and benefits of this wonder spice don’t end here. Other than enhancing the flavour and adding colour to the food, there are endless ways in which the spice can be used to leverage all the goodness it holds.
Turmeric has been used across the world for centuries, especially in India, both as a spice and for its medicinal properties. This golden spice is loaded with several components that have the potential to help keep different issues like cough, heart disease and even cancer at bay. The primary active component in turmeric, named curcumin, is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits.
As we gear up for the winter, we have to get ready to fight those health discomforts that come with the season like the common cold and flu to joint pains and aches.
Therefore, it is time to include this powerful spice in your daily life. Here are a few ways in which you can leverage the goodness of turmeric during winter:
1. Turmeric milk
The good old turmeric milk or haldi ka doodh is an all-time healthy drink which our mothers and grandmothers have passed on to us. Including this golden milk in your winter diet helps you keep warm and maintain good health. The anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of turmeric protect us from a variety of infections including the common cold, flu and other respiratory illnesses. It also helps to reduce pain and improve the functioning of joints, thereby providing relief to body aches during the cold season.
Daily consumption of turmeric helps to prevent and control diabetes. Besides, it also helps to aid healthy digestion because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Turmeric for skin
Turmeric is known to do wonders for the skin. From healing wounds to reducing acne and breakout, there are many benefits of using turmeric on the skin. During winters, the skin is more prone to lose moisture resulting in dry and cracked skin.
As a remedy, turmeric can be used to exfoliate dry skin by blending it with some honey and milk. Turmeric can also be applied as a face pack to rehydrate the skin and bring some glow. For acne-prone skin, it can either be mixed with warm water and honey or with aloe vera gel.
3. Turmeric oil for winter dandruff
The cold and dry weather during winter makes the skin and scalp rough and dry, resulting in itchy and flaky dandruff. Several studies point out that turmeric acts as a hair tonic that aids in treating dandruff and boosts hair growth. Therefore turmeric can also be included in your hair care routine.
To get rid of dandruff, mix a pinch of turmeric with olive, coconut or jojoba oil and massage it onto the scalp. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and wash it off using shampoo. Another way is to mix two spoons of turmeric powder with one spoon of honey and some milk to make a smooth paste. Gently massage it onto the scalp and keep it for 15-20 minutes. Then wash it off.
4. Turmeric tea
Everyone loves sipping on a hot cup of tea during winter. What if it is made more healthy? Replacing your normal tea with turmeric tea can be a perfect winter remedy for potential ailments. It also helps in boosting immunity.
To make this tea, add turmeric powder or fresh pieces of turmeric to boiling water. After brewing it, you can add a spoonful of honey or lemon to enhance the taste.
5. Turmeric pickle
Turmeric is used to make a delicious Gujarati pickle, which could be a healthy add-on to your meals. Using fresh turmeric and ingredients helps to enhance its goodness.
- 1 cup raw turmeric (peeled and chopped or grated)
- One tsp salt, half tsp red chilli powder, one tsp ginger powder, half tsp asafoetida or hing, two tsp mustard oil
- Juice from three large lemons
How to make:
- Heat the oil in a pan and add asafoetida, chilli powder, ginger powder, and salt.
- Cook it for a few minutes and switch off the flame.
- Then set aside to cool.
- Once it cools down, mix the turmeric and lemon juice into the spice mix in a clean bowl.
- Transfer the pickle mix to an air-tight jar and keep it in the refrigerator for six days.
- Take out the jar once every day and shake it.
- The pickle will be ready after six days.
Edited by Pranita Bhat
Winter Munchies: 3 haldi (turmeric) recipes that are as warming as tasty, by Shreya Goswani; published by India Today on 9 December 2016.
10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin, by Healthline.
Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health, by Susan J. Hewlings and Douglas S. Kalman; published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on 22 October 2017.
Golden Milk: Are There Health Benefits?, by Dan Brennan; published by WebMD on 24 September 2020.
Curcumin and CancerPotential of Curcumin in Skin Disorders, published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on 10 September 2019.
Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence, published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on August 2016.
Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review, published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on 24 November 2013.
Turmeric tonic as a treatment in scalp psoriasis: A randomized placebo-control clinical trial, published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on in June 2018.
Curcuma aeruginosa, a novel botanically derived 5α-reductase inhibitor in the treatment of male-pattern baldness: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published by National Centre for Biotechnology Information on 14 July 2011.
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