The Queen of Indian Spices
The age-old Indian spice serves as a herb, a spice, a dye and has magical properties beneficial for health, facial skin and many other ailments.
India is a country rich in myriad of herbs and spices. Interestingly, all these herbs and spices have their own relevance and benefits. One such spice is bright yellow-coloured turmeric or curcuma, known as haldi in India, a tropical plant with origins in southwest India. It belongs to the ginger family and can be found in three forms – fresh turmeric root, dried turmeric root and ground turmeric powder. Fresh turmeric root looks very similar to a ginger root. It is being used in India since ancient times and has become indispensable to the Indian cuisine.
Haldi is the main ingredient you will, without a doubt, find in every Indian kitchen. It is added in almost all the Indian curries to give that extra flavour and the blazing yellow colour. Yes, almost all Indian curries are yellowish in colour because a tinge of turmeric is deemed imperative. It also has a special place in Indian wedding celebrations. Before the final wedding day, as part of Indian culture, the bride’s family applies turmeric paste on the legs, arms and specifically the face of the bride to make her skin glow and mark a new beginning of her life.
The spice is considered to be very useful for a flawless skin. Indian households use it in many variations and with various other ingredients to make numerous face packs depending on one’s needs. For skin exfoliation, mix turmeric powder with honey and apply this paste on your face and neck – it will take care of your pores. It can also be used to treat acne – add a few drops of lemon to turmeric powder, mix it well and apply on the affected areas of the face. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then smoothly scrub it with plain water.
For dry skin, simply mix a dash of turmeric powder to the paste of 1 egg white, rose water, 2 drops of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Apply this mixture to all the dry skin areas including the face and let it dry. To remove the dry paste use lukewarm water – this remedy is especially useful during extreme cold as human skin tends to dry often with prolonged exposure to chilly breeze.
If you are dealing with increasing fine lines and wrinkles and are too weary of spending extensively on chemical-heavy cosmetics, turn to turmeric for its antioxidant properties, which help in reducing the effects of aging. You just have to mix turmeric powder, rice powder, raw milk and tomato juice – apply the blend on your face and also the neck, leave on for 30 minutes and then wash it off with slightly warm water.
Turmeric has many medicinal benefits as well. Drinking milk mixed with turmeric powder has healing properties for all kinds of internal wounds especially for muscle or bone injury. Externally, when applied on open wounds and cuts, it works as an antiseptic because of its anti-bacterial properties. Simply adding a tablespoon of turmeric to warm water and taking it just before going to bed, acts a great healer for a person suffering from cold, cough or high body temperature. It is because of the fact that turmeric contains a chemical agent, curcumin, which has antiviral and anti-fungal properties and thus helps in building immunity.
Since it has a strong yellow-orange colour, it works pretty well as a natural dye. When dying with turmeric, one doesn’t need to heat the water—cold water is enough. However, for darker shades, it is advisable to heat the water pot used for the dying process. When used without any mordant (material that fixes the dye to the fabric) for dying processes, turmeric is non-toxic and thus it is even safe to put your hands inside the mixture. Although one has to be careful of getting one’s hands coloured. With countless benefits, turmeric indeed proves to the queen of Indian herbs and spices that can enrich your life with everything natural and that too without burning a hole in your pocket.