Commonly known in the country as luyang dilaw (yellow ginger), turmeric (Curcuma spp.) is more than just a food coloring ingredient. Widely popular in India as a spice for making curry, turmeric is gradually making its name as a natural healer around the world.
In a globalizing society where diseases are borderless and breakthrough medicine seem to scratch only at the surface, we return to the basics of Mother Nature and begin to reconsider organic herbs for possible treatment.
Largely used as a culinary herb (mainly as a food colorant in the Philippines), turmeric comes from the ginger family thriving in tropical countries such as those in South Asia. This herbaceous perennial plant is boiled, dried, and then ground to its popular orange-yellow powdered form that is slightly bitter and slightly peppery hot to taste. The turmeric plant, also called “Spice of Life” in India is considered sacred in the country and belongs to the major spices category together with cardamom, ginger, pepper, etc.
At the forefront of the organic movement, research and development (R&D) initiatives around the world dedicated to discovering more about turmeric and its possible medicinal qualities have brought this simple crop into its own spotlight. Research has shown the potency of turmeric to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a natural antibacterial and antiseptic agent for burns, cuts and other skin illnesses; could help prevent certain cancers; could serve as a natural pain killer, and may even help in weight management.
BAR supports turmeric
Under the Research and Development Extension Agenda and Program (RDEAP) 2011-2016 of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), product development for turmeric is supported as a medicinal and indigenous plant. R&D initiatives to test and identify pharmacological effects of turmeric will increase its marketability and provide for the demands of a more health-conscious country, while supporting our local communities.
BAR collaborates with senior researcher, Dr. Estela C. Taño of the agriculture Department of Agriculture- Quezon Agricultural Experiment Station (DA-QAES), to promote the utilization of indigenous plants for culinary and medicinal values through its banner program, the National Technology Commercialization Project (NTCP).
Arising from the initial product development of oregano into wine and soap, turmeric has also been developed. A special cream and tea made of turmeric has also been manufactured and enhanced for the market. With the help of the Green Rescue Organic Association, Inc. in Tiaong, Quezon created to provide sustainable livelihood programs for local farmers, 15 g pots of Turmeric Natural Healing Cream are now available for distribution.
The Turmeric natural healing cream is a yellowish balm inside a green plastic container that provides relief from insect bites, pimples, wounds, and other skin impurities. With barely the odor of ginger, this all around ointment proves to be a necessity in your everyday first aid kit (based on personal experience). And to lower uric acid and for liver detox, turmeric could also be your cup of tea.
With promising product lines from basic herbs and spices, everyone is given the opportunity to make a livelihood from your own backyard. Simple though as it may be, R&D initiatives on identification and testing had to be initially performed to ensure that these plants will be beneficial for our health. Support from the local government, and cooperation within and among regional offices guarantee that we are able to attain not only food security but also able to live healthy, disease-free lifestyles.
Here’s a comprehensive article on 15 Health Benefits of Turmeric & Why it is Good for Weight Loss (with complete history, benefits, nutrition, side effects and the best recipes of turmeric)
Indianetzone. N.d. History of Spices. Retrieved May 29, 2012, from http://indianfood.indianetzone.com/spices/1/history_spices.htm
Farm Tour to Visit Organic Oregano Products Producer. Retrieved May 29, 2012, from http://www.agrizaccess.com/2012/05/farm-tour-to-organic-oregano-products.html
Source: Zuellen B. Reynoso, Bar Chronicle May 2012 Issue (Vol. 13 No. 5)