Haldi is a mild aromatic stimulant, is derived from the thick, rounded, underground stems or rhizomes of a large-leaved herb. Although we consume turmeric unconsciously in our daily diet but do we realize its health benefits for which this spice has got a special place of honour in both Indian and Chinese systems of medicine for thousands of years .Considered as cleansing herb for the whole body, turmeric was used in ancient times as a digestive aid and treatment for fever, infections, dysentery , arthritis, jaundice and liver problems. It was also to make yellow – orange dyes. Turmeric is a perennial herb. India is its major producer and exporter in the world. It is available as whole and powdered turmeric, turmeric oleoresin, and turmeric oil. Curcumin is the main active ingredient of turmeric which gives its yellow colour to curry. Turmeric oleoresin is a mixture of compounds, namely curcumin, volatile oils and resinous material, obtained by solvent extraction of the ground spice. It consists of Upper oily layer & lower crystalline layer. It is normally mixed with non-volatile edible solvents like vegetable oils for commercial use. There is about 3-5% of volatile oil present in turmeric, which is obtained by steam distillation of turmeric powder. This oil is pale yellow in colour and has peppery aroma. It contains turmeron and zingiberene as its major chemical constituents.
Medicinal properties: It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, besides being well known for its anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties. Oral curcumin administration was shown to dramatically reduce the serum levels of cholesterol and lipid peroxides. This study clearly suggests curcumin to act as a chemo preventive substance against arterial diseases. It has been shown that curcumin reduces platelets from clumping together. The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin was investigated.
Turmeric properties not only work as an excellent natural antibiotic, but also strengthen digestion and help to improve intestinal flora. Curcumin also protects the liver by detoxification and stimulates the gall bladder. The cancer preventive effects of turmeric had also been studied.This may be due to curcuminoids. The other pigments present in turmeric, which have a power antioxidant property of turmeric has been experimentally proved, as it has been found to be effective in preventing the development of peroxide or the free radicals. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have established the effectiveness of curcumin, and total extracts of turmeric against many micro-organism, the aqueous extract of turmeric and its essential oils are credited with bio-pesticidal properties. The turmeric oil has been seen to be effective as a mosquito repellant and for controlling housefly.