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Tremendous Turmeric: Incredible Spice with the Benefits of Sun

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

On a vibrant summer day, I was reclining on a sun lounger, sipping lemon tea and listening to the ocean waves when my eyes caught the large yellow sun my son was so diligently drawing on his drawing book.


For someone like me who looks up to Mother Nature for every and any solution, I felt rather sheepish to have missed out the association of sun, yellow and turmeric in my posts.


I can only attribute this oversight as a way of Nature reminding me not to forget to share all Her secrets - colour, sounds, smells, touch and of course taste.


What a feeling to know you are protected by Mother Nature Herself!

The working of the human mind and body is a labyrinth of secrets. One cannot separate the well-being of one from the other - Well! at least ancient natural healing system considered it to be so.


So, far I have only concentrated on the working and healing of the human body. The healing of the human mind is another ocean to churn.


But for now, let us work with the human body and its tangible healing methods.


Now, back to today's bright and yellow sun on the drawing book.


It would surprise many that Sun was and still is worshipped as Divine Life-Giver in many past and present cultures. The Mayans and Incas called Sun -'Pachacamac'. The Egyptians - Ra. The Hindus - Surya and Aditya.


It is true beyond any doubt that without sun, the earth would be a dead planet. Dead. Dark. Black. Silent. For us, it would be apocalyptic. Like the universe going back into the primordial nothingness. The cessation of all activity, the dormancy of energy.


On the other hand, the Sun denotes, life, vibrancy, warmth, colour, energy and healing. The centrifugal force of activity in our galaxy. Motion. Light. Life!.


Europe's renaissance can not be imagined without these famous uttering of the Astronomer and Mathematician


"Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the centre of the Universe" - Nicolaus Copernicus


No wonder the ancient sages discovered the herb which has the brightest colour of the sun - The Terrific Turmeric! And might I say Tremendously Benign Turmeric.


If anyone can compete with the King of Ayurveda - Amla or Indian Gooseberry and win a runner up position, it is Turmeric - Ask the Indians, they swear by it.


No cooking is complete without turmeric. No special ceremony is complete without turmeric. Humour me, but I guess it is their way of keeping the Sun even at night!!


Jokes apart, if you take a look at the beneficial healing properties of Infra-Red Ray of the Sun as researched and concluded by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI), you would be astonished to find the similarities with turmeric.


In their research article "Infrared and Skin: Friend or Foe" , they explain and I quote "Using specific low energy (non-thermal) light parameters within a window of wavelengths from visible to NIR (Near-Infra-Red), PBM (photobiomodulation) provides an alternative therapy for patients needing faster healing of wounds and/or for anti-inflammatory purposes."


In simple words, 'natural' Near-Infra-Red Rays can help heal your wounds faster and is anti-inflammatory.


Additionally, in the same article, they explain and I quote "It is also used as a photodynamic therapy light source to photoactivate a photosynthesizer (Protoporphyrin IX or PpIX) when treating actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma and acne [31]. Furthermore, low-intensity infrared has been shown to induce beta-endorphin hypoalgesic (analgesic) effects [32]."


In lucid account, 'natural' Near Infra-Red rays can help treat actinic keratosis which is a skin condition with a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun.


And it is also effective in treating basal cell carcinoma - (BCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer, and sometimes referred to as 'rodent ulcers'.


And I certainly need not explain acne to you. Infra-red Rays does all that along with diminishing the harmful effects of UVB.


But what is fascinating is Near Infra-Red Rays has "induce beta-endorphin hypoalgesic (analgesic) effects".


Endorphins are hormones produced by the body to relieve stress and pain. They are quite similar to a category of drugs called opioids. You know them as pain-killers.


Though man-made opioids are abundantly found in Morphine, Opiate, Fentanyl, Tramadol, Oxycodone which can temp anyone to fall prey to abuse.


Infrared Rays of the Sun carries no such baggage. And if you read on neither does Turmeric.


Natural Infra-Red Rays generates growth of specific healthy cells by boosting their anti-inflammatory properties. As NCBI quotes in its report "NIR (Near Infra Red) photobiomodulation of tissue pathologies are associated with increased proliferation of specific cells, gene expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppression of the synthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators [33]."


Infra-Red-Rays can improve your heart condition, aid blood flow in the arteries, and reduce pain in hemodialysis patients. (NCBI). It controls the skin ageing caused due to UVB exposure (NCBI)


What more, NCBI observes that "One could, therefore, assume that early morning “Sun Salutation” (Surya Namaskar) and late afternoon procrastination on the beach are actually natural PBM (photobiomodulation) treatments to prevent and repair, respectively. Consequently, if your shadow is taller than you are (in the early morning and late afternoon) you're taking advantage of the beneficial effects of IR-A while avoiding peak (Zenithal) harmful UVR [60, 61]. Ultimately, it is another way of being sun smart."


Apparently, modern science finds perfect justification for the ancient cultures to hold the Sun in 'high' regards, no matter how ridiculous we found their festivities, rituals or culture to be.


Now that you know about the healing rays of the Sun, you would be surprised to find that turmeric provides the same medical benefits and more.


And I absolutely recommend all those who are born and bred in geographical locations where Nature rations the Sun-rays, to pay heed while reading this article and take immediate action to include turmeric in their daily life.


Now we dive into the mystery of why the Indian's have been using turmeric extensively in almost everything they cook since centuries.


Turmeric consumed raw, dried or cooked is life's elixir itself. It is extensively used in Ayurveda.


One cannot contest that, especially when Turmeric takes care of wounds from festering into an infection - a natural antiseptic.


It helps to coagulate blood and stops excessive blood flow from wounds.


Turmeric taken regularly invigorates the digestive system by allowing the good bacteria in the guts to multiply, diligently keeping the stomach free from worms.


Turmeric is rich in Iron and hence, regular use of turmeric helps prevent anaemia.


From treating bronchial Asthma to treating boils, to treating skin problems like ringworm and eczema - Turmeric helps battle them all.


Here is a list of terrific fixes with turmeric :


Intestinal Worms: An inch of raw turmeric with a pinch of salt eaten early in the morning (after brushing) is a tried and tested worm repellent. Also, treats irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)


Anaemia: A tablespoon of raw turmeric juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey consumed before breakfast is sure shot Anemia cure.


Asthma: A teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk, drank twice or thrice a day is a household remedy and preventive cure.


Boils: A mixture of turmeric powder, few drops of rose water or plain water when applied to boils, helps to quickly heal.


Burns: A mixture of salt, turmeric, earth when applied to burn area, reduces the inflammation and burning sensation. Use regularly to heal without any mark.


Immunity Booster: Turmeric acts as a natural immunity booster.


Essential Spice: In many South Asian Cuisine, meat and/or fish is treated with turmeric powder or paste to kill any potential bacteria. Additionally, it is added as a spice in cooking. Here is an excellent book on Ayurvedic cooking.


Turmeric - Raw, Paste, Pill or Powdered, all work wonders

The list of benefits in regular consumption of turmeric is immensely immeasurable.


It stops inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), in simple words its anti-inflammatory and a strong antioxidant.


It is a significant pain reliever including arthritis pain. One study duly noted that taking turmeric capsules reduced the pain of arthritis in the knee almost as good as Advil (Ibuprofen).


Turmeric can boost brain activity and help in forming new neuron connections, which was earlier believed to be impossible.


Turmeric increases the brain-derived neurotrophic factor which helps to reduce brain disease like Alzheimer and ageing by helping create neuron connections.


Feeling blue, add more turmeric to your diet and see the sunny side of life. Yes, turmeric chases that depression away as good as Prozac.


It controls free radicals making it a strong defender against Cancer.


It also guards against Heart disease, regulates the thickening of the lining of the blood vessels by improving the endothelial function.


Here is a miracle remedy for liver problems and skin problems especially during Winter. Remember the connection between Sun and Turmeric!


Eat an inch or two of raw turmeric, duly peeled with a small cube of jaggery or palm sugar. - Every day!


Try this now and let people come up to you asking about that glowing skin. The Sun may orbit down during winters but leave it to terrific turmeric to keep you sunny all season long!


Finally, an obeisance to the herb, that grows underground in the Darkness of soil, but takes the Brilliance of Sun - in Colour and in Benefits!


"Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric, it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-coloured into the bins to be soaked up glowing when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck." - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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