Turmeric for health

crawling iconTurmeric and its benefits

  • Turmeric is the rhizome or underground stem of a ginger-like plant, Curcuma longa L, and belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. It is usually available underground, as a fine, bright yellow powder. Turmeric has always been considered an auspicious material in the Indian sub-continent, both amongst the Aryan cultures (mostly northern) and the Dravidian cultures (mostly southern) and its value extends far in history to the beliefs of ancient Indian population.
  • Indian cooking employs turmeric liberally. It is added to nearly every dish, be it meat or vegetables. Its principal place is in curries and curry powders. When used in curry powders, it is usually one of the main ingredients, providing the associated yellow color. In current day practice, turmeric has found application in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, direct compression tablets, etc. In combination with annatto, it has been used to color cheeses, dry mixes, salad dressings, winter butter and margarine.
  • Turmeric is also a highly valued cosmetic ingredient. The Friday oil bath routines with the application of Haldi are almost sacrosanct with the South Indian women, resulting in beautiful skin. Pieces of the rhizomes are added to water to make an infusion that is used in baths. It is reported that washing in turmeric improves skin tone and reduces hair growth. Turmeric is currently used in the formulation of some sun screens.

Latest iconTechnological function

The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. The technological function of curcumin as a food additive is as a color. It is insoluble in water, but water dispersible forms of turmeric extracts are available. Curcumin also has many antioxidant properties.

Food safety iconFood categories and use levels

  • Curcumin is widely used to color many foods.
  • The Draft Codex General Standard for Food Additives provides an extensive list of such foods. Curcumin is listed for use in dairy products, fats, oils and fat emulsions, edible ices, fruit and vegetable products, confectionery, cereal products, bakery wares, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, eggs and eggs products, spices, soups, sauces and protein products, foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses, beverages, ready-to-eat savouries and composite foods. Use levels of curcumin are in the range from 5 to 500 mg/kg depending on the food category.
  • The antioxidant property of curcumin can prevent rancidity of foods and provide foodstuffs containing less oxidized fat or free radicals. The powerful anti-oxidation property of curcumin has an important role in keeping curry for a long time without turning it rancid.
  • Curcumin is extracted from the dried root of the rhizome Curcuma Longa. The process of extraction requires the raw material to be ground into powder, and washed with Ethyl Acetate that selectively extracts coloring matter. This process after distillation of the solvent yields an oleoresin with coloring matter content in the region of 25-35 percent along with volatile oils and other resinous extractives.
  • The oleoresin so obtained is subjected to further washes using selective solvents that can extract the curcumin pigment from the oleoresin. This process yields a powdered, purified food color, known as curcumin powder, with over 90 percent coloring matter content and very little volatile oil and other dry matter of natural origin.

Manage iconNature of the product

Curcumin’s benefits are as follows:

  • Exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Powerful antioxidant helps to protect cells from free radical damage.
  • Aids in digestion.
  • Helps to strengthen immunity.
  • Helps to maintain healthy liver.
  • Adds luster to the skin.
  • Exhibits properties as a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent.
  • Helps protect brain cells (e.g. Alzheimer's).
  • Helps to remove toxins from the body.
  • Provides anti-tumor support
  • Aids in the fight against autism and cholesterol