Turmeric: From Food to Pesticide to Cosmetics
“Indian saffron” or turmeric is easily recognized for its deep yellow color. Throughout Indian history, this powder has been used as a condiment, textile dye, health remedy, and a symbolism of purity, prosperity, and fertility.
Belonging to the ginger family, turmeric has been used in East India and the Middle East for thousands of years, and is now one of the most highly-prized spices in the world. A domesticated plant rather than wild, India remains one of the most prominent producers of turmeric, along with Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Haiti.
In India, it is used in almost all curries and gravy dishes. It gives a rich color and a unique flavor to dishes. It is well-known for its plethora of health benefits. But we are not going to touch on those yet. Let us whet your curiosity instead of the many, yet slightly known uses of turmeric in India.
Did you know that turmeric is an effective pesticide? Just sprinkle the powder diluted in water near all entry points of your house to keep off insects, like ants and termites. It’s also a well-known preservative. Just add the powder to your cottage cheese (paneer) and your cheese will last up to 12 days. Use it as a dye and it can color your fabrics with that bright neon yellow. The color yellow is considered sacred and auspicious in India. Any fabric dyed in turmeric is considered pure.
Turmeric water is offered to the gods in the temples as a part of Hindu ritual called Abhishekam. Just before any Indian wedding ceremony, the spice is applied to the bride and groom as it is believed to ward off the evil eye. Additionally, it also gives the newlyweds a fresh glow. Hence, it is also used as a cosmetic by Indian women, applied as creams, face masks, and body scrubs to boost the glow factor.
New born babies are also rubbed with turmeric on their forehead for good luck. Washing in turmeric improves skin complexion and also reduces hair growth on body. Today there are lots of herbal products in the market in which main herb used is turmeric as natural ingredient.
Thanks to Turmeric: Like it Spicy
Now you know of turmeric’s other wonderful uses, it still doesn’t take away the fact that it’s a great gift to Indian cuisine. Here at MokSha, your Indian restaurant in Bellevue, we remind you all the time with each dish you enjoy.