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The Use of Turmeric in Ayurvedic Medicine

written by: Jennifer Claerr • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 6/3/2011

Turmeric is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb has many health benefits. It is high in antioxidants and has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. However, to use turmeric properly, it's important to understand how doshas work in Ayurveda.

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    Turmeric and Ayurvedic Doshas

    Turmericroot If you want to understand how to use turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine, you must first understand the three doshas, which are physical or personality types. In Ayurveda, doshas are often used to diagnose and treat disease. Those with a Vata dosha are usually very thin and energetic. People with a Pitta dosha tend to be very warm, both in their personalities and in their bodies. People with a Kapha dosha tend to be large, heavy-set and slow. According to Ayurveda, when the doshas get out of balance, illness can occur. The herb turmeric is most effective at treating a Kapha imbalance, which can cause the patient to gain weight and experience fatigue. Turmeric is believed to be a stimulating, warming herb which can help to reduce Kapha and bring Vata and Pitta back up to healthy levels.

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    Benefits

    Turmeric is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric can be identified by its bright golden color. Typically the root of the plant is used, either fresh or dried. Turmeric has many potential health benefits. It is a carminative, which means that it can help to prevent and relieve gas in the digestive system. Applying a paste of turmeric and chickpea flour directly to the skin can improve the complexion. Turmeric treatment can also be used to combat dental infections, to help balance blood sugar in diabetics, to relieve pain, to clear the sinuses and improve digestion. You're better off buying turmeric in bulk from your local health food store than in capsules. The herb will be cheaper and will also be free of many of the chemicals which are often added to nutritional supplements.

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    Dosing and Research

    Turmeric is often combined with other warming herbs such as ginger in Ayurvedic medicine. It is sometimes taken with honey. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that research has shown that turmeric and its constituent element, curcumin, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. This appears to back up some of the claims made by Ayurvedic practitioners; however, human research has been somewhat lacking. When using turmeric in Ayurvedic treatment, you should take care not to take it in excessive doses. A dose of up to 3 grams of dried turmeric root or 0.6 milliliters of turmeric oil per day has been shown to be safe. Turmeric may contribute to bleeding disorders, and excessive intake of turmeric may cause stomach upset.

    Ayurveda is closely related to yoga. Find more natural solutions to your health problems by reading Yoga Poses to Relieve Back Pain and Yoga Poses for Insomnia.

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information you have just read.

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    Sources

    "Turmeric." http://www.turmeric.co.in/turmeric_ayurvedic_use.htm

    Prashanti De Jager, "Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life." http://www.bioponic.com/pdfs/TurmericAyurveda.pdf

    "Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Curcumin." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-turmeric.html

    Image Credit: Commons.Wikimedia.org, Badagnani