Turmeric and Ayurvedic Doshas
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.
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.
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.
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Prashanti De Jager, “Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life.” https://www.bioponic.com/pdfs/TurmericAyurveda.pdf
“Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Curcumin.” https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-turmeric.html
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