Turmeric is a plant that comes from the same family as ginger. It’s most commonly used as a spice in Asian and Indian food. But, what you may not know, is that this spice has a very rich history. It has been around for over 4,500 years and has had many applications as a result. Read on to discover the history of the ancient spice, turmeric.
Where Does Turmeric Come From?
In botanical terms, turmeric is called Curcuma longa. The plant is mainly produced in India but can be found throughout the tropics, too. It sits just three feet in height and has a root that looks just like ginger. It is this ginger-like root that produces the vibrant yellow spice that we all know and love.
Where It All Began
Some residue of turmeric was found around 2500 BCE, but it wasn’t until 500 BCE that people started putting it to good use.
It was around 500 BCE that turmeric started to be used for ‘healing properties’. It completely transformed Ayurvedic medicine, which is an ancient Indian style of natural healing.
- People believed that:
- Inhaling turmeric alleviated congestion
- Turmeric juice aided wounds
- Turmeric paste soothed blemishes.
Although there currently isn’t much evidence to support these theories, turmeric is still widely used today in ancient medicine practices. But, there’s so much more to its history than healing techniques. Let’s delve deeper into what else it has been used for over the years.
The Hindu religion has long seen turmeric as sacred. At many Hindu weddings, the groom puts a string covered in turmeric paste around the bride’s neck, as a symbol of strength and capability. In southern India, turmeric is worn as an amulet to protect against evil spirits.
Due to its bright yellow colouring, turmeric is also used to dye clothes. This is particularly the case in Buddhist culture and at the Onam Festival in southwest India. The final result produces a mustard-coloured robe that can be spotted from a mile off.
Modern Day Uses For Turmeric
Nowadays, most of us are most familiar with turmeric as a spice in cooking. Its flavour resembles pepper and ginger, making it the perfect addition to any curry. It’s also very striking in flavour, giving just about any dish a bold yellow colour. While times have changed and research has become clearer, turmeric is still often used for medicinal purposes. It is most commonly known for supporting the digestive system, and nowadays, you can take turmeric tablets for this reason. You will also find turmeric still being widely used in ancient medicine techniques.
Turmeric dates back many years and has a strong history to know about. From being used in healing techniques to transforming dishes, it’s safe to say that no stone has been left unturned with this spice. Whether you like it for the taste or want to see how it affects your body, there’s plenty to get involved with.