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Turmeric
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Figure 1. Turmeric Plant (Ramdev, n.p)

Turmeric, Curcuma Longa, is a plant that has long green leaves, a pale-yellow flower, and a rhizome
that grows underground (Killiham, 2000) (Figure 1). The rhizomes help launch the flower and leaves above the ground surface (Kaushik, 2006). That is when a cone-looking stem blooms at the end of the stalk, which then turns into a flower. The leaves of this plant can grow from 24 to 36 inches (Spice of Life Gourmet Peppercorns, 2005). Plants are gathered and grinded into a yellow spice that originates from the underground root of the plant, also called the curcumin (Killiham, 2000) (Figure 2). Turmeric is a part of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, which explains why both, ginger and turmeric come from the underground stem (root stock) of each plant (Turmeric. 15, October, 2008). It is believed that Turmeric is most commonly found in South Asian countries like China, Indonesia, Haiti and various states in India (About turmeric, 2008). For it to grow sufficiently, it needs to be in a hot and humid environment from temperatures between 20°C and 30°C with a large amount of annual rainfall for the plants to thrive properly every month (Ramdev, n.p). For it to flourish suitably, it usually needs light black or red soil. After seven to ten months of feeding the plant, when the leaves start turning yellow, that is when the harvesting is done. In India, it is done from December to March but it should mostly be done during the summer (Ramdev, n.p).


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Figure 2: This shows the curcumin and the powder produced from it (Company: Sip India Infra, 2008).















Products

Ground Turmeric
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Figure 3: Ground Turmeric (McCormick Gourmet Collection, 2008).
Turrmeric powder is a bright orange-yellow spice that is used in many foods, cosmetics, medicines, etc
(Figure 3) (Kaushik, 2006). The powder is actually obtained from the rhizome (root) of this plant (Ramdev, n.p). The rhizomes are known for having a bitter, peppery and spicy taste (Bhanavi, 2006). These rhizomes are jagged, hard and have circular finger-like rings that produce a loud metallic sound, when broken. It contains chemicals like
zingiberine, curcumin and p-tolymethyl carbinol (Aggarwal, 2007). In order to get the grounded Turmeric, you need to grind the roots well. It is also available in capsules as a form of extract (Kaushik, 2006). To know more, see Figure 4, where it explains how to get grounded Turmeric in more depth.

Other products made from Turmeric are :
  • Turmeric Fairness Cream
  • Turmeric Oil
  • Turmeric Tablets
  • Turmeric Tea
  • Other Beauty Products

Making the Product

India is one of the principal exporters of ground Turmeric, who also distribute 90% of the packaged Turmeric (Ramdev, n.p). The figure below demonstrates the method of acquiring pure Turmeric powder from the rhizomes of the plant (Figure 4). However, storing this product in light or the sun can cause it to pass off in vapor therefore; you should store the powder in an air-tight container (Ramdev, n.p).


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Figure 4: The steps on producing ground Tumeric from turmeric plant (Ramdev, n.p).

Beneficial Impacts

Grounded Turmeric is known to be one of the best curable ingredients in the world for humans. Curcumin
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Figure 5. Difference between Saffron and Turmeric.

is known to have antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory characteristics that can help in the curing of
digestive disorders, liver functioning, skin or bacterial infection, wounds, eye illnesses and may reduce
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (Spice of Life Gourmet Peppercorns, 2005). Overall, it’s mostly used to treat organs like the heart, liver, lungs, skin and even reduces the chances of humans getting fevers, diarrhea, poisoning, pimples and blackheads (About turmeric, 2008). Often, it is recognized for the improvement in human skin complexion (Mazumdar, 2002). It has an ability to improve the bile flow in people with digestive and gall bladder problems and helps break down triglycerides during digestion (Bhanavi, 2006). Stomach problems caused by alcohol and beer, as well as unclogging arteries and treating high blood pressures can be healed with grounded Turmeric and can protect against toxins (Turmeric benefits, 2005). It is still being investigated on whether or not
it is effective on cancer (Turmeric benefits, 2005).

Since Curcumin is tremendously good for human skin, turmeric is broadly used in the making of cosmetic
products like lotion, herbal creams and sunscreens (Mazumdar, 2002) (Figure 6). All over the world, Turmeric is used in the making of different kinds of foods like baked and dairy products, yogurt, sauces, curries,
etc (Turmeric. 15, October, 2008). It can even prevent blood from clotting and for people who have blood clotting disorders; it can limit the clots from forming (Nair, 2000). You can replace a dash of turmeric with ginger because it helps digest food faster and doesn’t clot blood (The benefits of, 2005). Turmeric helps circulate your blood easily and can relieve colds, allergies and dizziness easily. It is even used to dissuade ants and make fabric dye. Sometimes,
it is known to be a good Ayurvedic medicine because it helps heal cuts and bruises (Kaushik, 2006). Therefore, turmeric
is an ingredient that just makes a living individual’s life easier. Overtime, Turmeric replaced Saffron because saffron was
well-known for its high cost where Turmeric was cheap and easy to get (Candie, 2007). As a result, people started using
a big amount of Turmeric to replace the taste of saffron. The difference between them is show in Figure 5.


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Figure 6. Fairness Skin Cream made from Turmeric (ROLEX PRODUCTS, 2009).



Harmful Impacts

Turmeric may have a lot of beneficial facts but it does have its side effects. For example, if it is ingested more than the regular amount, it can upset your stomach and can even cause ulcers. Ulcers are cause by the breakdown of the mucous coating allowing the stomach acids to leak out of the stomach and spread (Ritter, 2002). Humans suffering from gall stone in the gall bladder, bile blockage, heart and liver diseases, and jaundice, should avoid turmeric because it can increase the pain (Herbal supplements encyclopedia, 2007). Large amounts of this herb can even result in diarrhea, sweating, vomiting, heartburn and dizziness (Nair, 2000). Thus, watching how much Turmeric you ingest is important.
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Conclusion

Turmeric has a rhizome that grows underground which is processed into the making
of grounded turmeric. It has a flavor that is spicy and bitter. These plants are commonly found in China, Indonesia, Haiti and India. After seven to ten months of feeding the plant, when the leaves start turning yellow, that is when the harvesting is done. The main product that is made from turmeric is turmeric powder/spice. This curcumin is known to have antioxidants which can help in the curing of digestive disorders, liver functioning, skin or bacterial infection, wounds, eye illnesses, etc. Turmeric may help in the curing of many diseases but it does have certain side effects for example, if a lot of turmeric is ingested into our bodies, it can result in an upset-stomach, ulcers, diarrhea,
sweating, vomiting, heartburn and dizziness. Altogether, turmeric is a great herb that has helped in improving and changing our lives in many ways.

References
Web sites Uses:
1) About turmeric. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.sadaf.com/recipes/Turmeric.html

2) Bhanavi, Lev. (2006). Turmeric. Retrieved from http://www.organicindia.com/turmeric.php

3) Killiham, Chris. (2000). The most powerful compound in botanical medicine. the worlds most important herbal extract.. Retrieved from http://www.turmeric-curcumin.com/

4) Turmeric (15, October, 2008). HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/botany/turmeric-info.htm> .

5) Ramdev, Initials. (n.p). Turmeric. the golden spice of life.. Retrieved from http://www.turmeric.co.in/index.htm

6) Candie, Yoder. (2007). Ground turmeric. Retrieved from http://www.culinarycafe.com/Spices_Herbs/Turmeric.html

7) Turmeric benefits. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.herbal-supplements-guide.com/turmeric-benefits.html

8) Mazumdar, Palash. (2002). What is turmeric and its many uses. Retrieved from http://www.essortment.com/all/whatisturmeric_rxnm.htm

9) The benefits of ginger. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com/benefits-of-ginger.html

10) Nair, Sonia. (2000). Side effects of turmeric. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/side-effects-of-turmeric.html

11) go.grolier.com/ "Turmeric." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2010. Web. 7 Dec. 2010.

12) Spice of Life Gourmet Peppercorns, Initials. (2005).Turmeric powder. Retrieved from http://www.bulkpeppercorns.com/turmeric_powder.html

Books Used:
1) Ritter, Bob et al. (2002). Ulcers. Canada: Nelson.

2) Kaushik, Purshotam. (2006). Turmeric. Panjab: chowkhamba Sanskirt series Office.

3) Aggarwal, Bharat. (2007). Curcumin: the indian solid gold. Houston: Science & Business Media.

Encyclopedia Used:
1) Herbal supplements encyclopedia. (2007). Retrieved from http://myonlinehealtharticles.com/herbal-supplements-encyclopedia-herbs-s-to-z/

Pictures Used:
1) Ramdev, Initials. (n.d). Synopsis of turmeric’s healing properties. Retrieved from http://www.turmeric.co.in/turmeric_ayurvedic_use.htm

2) Company: Sip India Infra, Initials. (2008, January 22). curcuma longa,curcumin,turmeric powder,spice,indian spice. Retrieved from http://www.bikudo.com/archives/trade_leads/175/152224/curcuma_longa_curcumin_turmeric_powder_spice_indian_spice.html

3)McCormick Gourmet Collection, Initials. (2008).Turmeric, ground. Retrieved from http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Herbs-and-Spices/Spices-A-to-Z/Turmeric-Ground.aspx

4) Ramdev, Initials. (n.d). Synopsis of turmeric’s healing properties. Retrieved from http://www.turmeric.co.in/turmeric_ayurvedic_use.htm

6)ROLEX PRODUCTS, Initials. (2009). Turmeric fairness skin cream. Retrieved from http://rolexproducts.tradeindia.com/Exporters_Suppliers/Exporter17626.276263/Turmeric-Fairness-skin-cream.html

Video Used:
1) eHow, (Producer). (December 30, 2008). Herbal Plant Remedies : Herbs: Turmeric for Inflammation. [Web] Retrieved December 12, 2010 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svqVuQszSH0