Turmeric is a plant of Asian origin belonging to the Zingiberaceae family (same family as ginger). The species of greatest interest is Curcuma Longa, cultivated in most tropical regions, particularly in India.
The Curcuma Longa plant consists of an underground root (rhizome) from which, once dried and ground, a powder with a characteristic yellow-orange color is obtained.
The name derives from the Arabic word “kurkum” which means saffron due to the intense yellow color of the rhizome, which recalls that of the saffron stigmas.
Turmeric has been known in India since the most remote antiquity, in fact there are evidences of its use already in the Indian texts of the Vedas of 3000 years ago, linked to Hindu religious rituals.
Nowadays in India Turmeric is part of the daily diet and is one of the main remedies of Ayurvedic medicine, according to which it has purifying properties on the body and is used in a wide variety of ailments such as fever, infections, arthritis, dysentery and liver problems.
Turmeric has been known in the West for a long time, but it has never reached the popularity of use as in India. It was brought to Europe by the Arabs, who specialize in the spice trade. Its uses have been many: artisan dye for fabrics, in cosmetics used during weddings and holidays, natural remedy and in the kitchen.
It is now a spice known all over the world and used for various purposes, we are going to analyze its beneficial properties.
Turmeric powder is rich in various active ingredients with numerous biological activities:
- Curcuminoids (95% of the standardized extract): curcumin, demethoxicurcumin and bisdemetoxicurcumin
- Volatile oils : tumerone, atlantone and zingiberene
The most abundant element, and also the most studied, is curcumin which, like the other curcuminoids, belongs to the polyphenol family.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant , very useful in the prevention and treatment of pathologies characterized by oxidative stress (aging, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases).
Curcumin, after oral ingestion, can exert regulatory effects on the intestinal microbiota , the alterations of which are linked to numerous metabolic diseases.
Turmeric is easily used in the form of a powder, it can easily be found in the spice department. For a greater assimilation of its active ingredients it is usually associated with black pepper. In fact, the piperine contained within black pepper enhances and improves the absorption of curcumin.
In the integrated Turmeric powder you will find turmeric already mixed with black pepper, excellent for enriching and flavoring dishes.
USES IN THE KITCHEN
Turmeric is a widely used spice in cooking. It is used pure or as a component of curry, to flavor and color dishes and drinks. Having a delicate flavor, it goes well with any type of dish, from first courses to desserts.