Grown in South Asia, turmeric is called HARIDRA in Sanskrit and its use in Indian cuisine dates back to 3,000 BC. It's botanical name is CURCUMA.
Turmeric was not known to to the western world until the 13th century when it was introduced to Europe by Arab traders and came to be known as Indian Saffron. This spice is the key ingredient in many Persian, Malay and Thai dishes too.
USE IN INDIAN RITUALS
Turmeric is a symbol of purity,prosperity and fertility. It is almost used in all Indian rituals.
A pinch of turmeric is added to the water that is poured on the idols of gods and goddesses temples as a part of abhishekam. Betel leaves,nuts and dried turmeric roots are given to women guests as they are considered fertile and bring good luck. A paste of turmeric and vermilion is applied on the forehead during ceremonies.
IN INDIAN MARRIAGES
Turmeric plays a key role in Indian marriages. On the eve of the wedding,turmeric paste is applied on the bride's face and arms. In some regions, the saree worn by the bride is dyed in turmeric powder. Turmeric mixed with rice is showered on the groom and bride for good luck. The palm of the bride is smeared with turmeric powder as a mark of change in her status.
When the groom ties a turmeric-dyed thread called TALI or MANGALSUTRA, around the neck of the bride,they become husband and wife.
It is extensively used in Ayurveda because of its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial properties. In Chinese herbal medicine too turmeric has been a vital part.
It is supposed to heal the wounds quicker.
It has the ability to clear the phlegm. A pinch of turmeric added to warm milk helps clear the soar throat.
These days all kinds of turmeric based cosmetic products and creams are available in the market.
Information Source:The speaking tree
(A Times of India Group Publication)
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