Turmeric Curcuma longa

Turmeric Curcuma longa Benefits, Usage, Dose, Side Effects

Turmeric is one of the very useful and famous Ayurveda herbs. It is used in many forms and through many routes of administration, such as – nasal, oral, application on the skin etc.

Botanical name – Curcuma longa Linn. (Curcuma domestica val)
Family– Scitamineae (Zingiberaceae) – Ardraka Kula

Dried turmeric rhizome

Vernacular names

Hindi Name- Haldi, Hardi
Telugu Name- Pasupu, Pasupu Kommulu
English Name- Turmeric
Tamil Name- Manjal
Kannada Name- Arishina
Punjabi Name – Haldi, Haldar, Halaj
Bengali name – Halud
Gujarati name – Haladar
Marathi name – Halad
Arabian name – Kumkum
Farsi name – Zardchob
Malayalam name: Manjal

Turmeric plant

Sanskrit synonyms

Haridra – Harim Varna Drati Shodhayati cha – which improves skin complexion and cleanses skin.
Kanchani – has colour of gold, brings about golden colour to the skin, improves skin glow
Nisha – which is as beautiful as a starry night
Yoshitpriya – liked by women
Varavarnini – which imparts great colour to the skin.
Hattavilasini – increases the value of the market / shop that sell turmeric,
Krimighni – relieves worm and microbial infection
Peeta, Gauri – has yellow colour.

Classical categorization

Charaka –
Lekhaneeya Gana –  group of herbs having scraping property.
Kushtaghna – group of herbs that relieve skin diseases.
Kandughna – group of herbs that relieve itching sensation
Krimighna – group of herbs that relieve worm / microbial infection,
Shiro-virechana – Group of herbs that are useful to remove Dosha (toxins) from head.
Haridradi, Mustadi, Slesmashamana (group of herbs that balance Kapha)
Vagbhata- Haridradi, Mustadi

Different varieties

Haridra is only one but we come across the description of two Haridras in the texts viz,. Haridra (turmeric – Curcuma longa) and Daruharidra (tree turmeric). In many Ayurveda medicines, Turmeric and tree turmeric are used together.
Sodhala has opined that both these are antidotes for many poisons.
Bhavamisra described Haridra (turmeric – Curcuma longa), Amragandhi Haridra (Curcuma amada) Karpura Haridra, Vana haridra (Curcuma aromatica) and Daru Haridra (Berberis aristata).


Cultivated throughout India .

Use in hemorrhoids

Turmeric ointment for haemorrhoids:
Turmeric powder is mixed with latex of Arka (Calotropis procera) and a paste is prepared. This is applied over the pile mass. Due to its astringent and alkaline (Kshara) properties, it reduces pain, itching and size of the pile mass. (Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 14th chapter).

Use to retard facial hair growth

Does applying turmeric after epilation retard facial hair growth?
Yes, after epilation or hair removal treatment, it is good to apply turmeric powder over face and leave it for at least 10 – 15 minutes before washing off. Apart from delaying facial hair re-growth, it also heals the skin lesions that may be caused during epilation.
To some extent, it is useful in retarding further facial hair growth, or at least delaying the same.
In ancient times, women used to apply turmeric over face for the same purpose.

Turmeric for diabetes

Haridra prameha haraanaam | A. Hr.
There are many herbs (drugs) which cure diabetes, but nothing is good enough to be compared to Turmeric. This reference clearly suggests Haridra as the drug of choice in effectively tackling Diabetes Mellitus and Urinary tract disorders. In the treatment of Diabetes, Haridra is an excellent option both as a preventive and curative agent.
Read related: How Turmeric Helps in Diabetes Treatment: 7 Ways

Anti-atherosclerotic property

Anti-atherosclerotic property of Haridra:
Haridra due to its tikta-katu rasa, ushna veerya, katu vipaka and laghu, ruksha guna’s removes blocks in the blood vessels making the circulation of blood and nutrients easy.

Atherosclerosis is primarily formed due to accumulations in blood vessels and the accumulations are nothing but vitiated kapha-meda. We have already learnt about the Kapha-Meda alleviating property of Haridra. The circulating glucose is also broken down by Haridra and it further facilitates the absorption of free glucose by cells due to its channel-cleansing property (Srotoshodhana).

Rakta or blood tissue is one of the contaminated tissues in Prameha as explained in Ayurvedic texts. Involvement of Rakta in Prameha points out towards the extra-ordinary knowledge of Acharyas (ancient Ayurveda teachers) regarding the presence of Kapha elements (glucose) in the blood.

Anti-oxidant property

Metabolic correction and anti-oxidant property of turmeric:
Since Haridra rectifies the Agni (metabolic fire) by the virtue of its Ushna veerya, Katu-Tikta rasa, Laghu-Ruksha Gunas and Katu Vipaka, Haridra cleanses and detoxifies Rasa (Digestive juice and circulatory nutrition) and thus enables free circulation of nutrients to every cell of the body thus restoring the normal body functions.

Haridra by removing the blocks created in the channels and cells created by contaminated Pitta and Kapha and enabling free movements of Vata also enables the anatomical and physiological recovery of the Kapha varga dhatus viz Mamsa, Lasika, Ambu, Majja, Vasa and Shukra. The Dhatu’s are nourished and replenished.

Tissue and organic destruction, debility, loss of immunity and complications in Prameha occurs due to oxidation process (oxidative-stress) and Haridra helps in re-establishing health and recovery from Diabetes due to its anti-oxidant property. The control of all the three Doshas by turmeric can be considered as the anti-oxidant effect of Haridra.

Immune-modulation action

Immune-modulation action of Haldi:
Haridra helps in immune-modulation by correcting metabolism, enabling free circulation of nutrients and oxygen to every cell and due to its anti-oxidation property. The essence of all the tissues i.e. ojas regains its strength due to proper nutrition and replenishment of all the tissues thus establishing immunity.

Detox action

Detox effect of Haridra:
Haridra relieves the blocks in the cells and re-establishes their normal functioning. Once the blocks in the cells are removed free movement of nutrients into the cells and the elimination of toxins out of the cell takes place smoothly.

For liver function regulation, anaemia

Regulation of Liver Functions and correction of Anaemia by Haridra:
By the virtue of tikta-katu rasa, ushna veerya, katu vipaka and laghu, ruksha guna, Haldi removes blocks in the liver and restores the haematopoietic functions.

Anaemia is thus relieved as Haridra improvises the quality and quantity of blood. Liver regularizes the fat metabolism and detoxifies the nutrients passing through it.

Rectification of Liver functions leads to destruction of free circulating fats which are responsible for manifestation of Prameha.

Use in diabetes

Role of turmeric in prevention of T2DM and combating Pre-Diabetes – Modern perspective

Turmeric is known to Ayurveda world as an effective herb used to prevent and cure Diabetes Mellitus effectively since ages.

Haldi has been in traditional Ayurveda practice and has been successfully implemented in preventive and curative aspects of many diseases, mainly Diabetes (Prameha, Madhumeha).

How to consume

How to take turmeric daily? Can it be mixed with tea or water or milk? 

For adults, 2 pinches (1 gram) of turmeric, mixed with half a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) can be consumed daily, for Vata Dosha balance.

Turmeric can tolerate heat. So, it is safe to make a herbal tea out of it, or add it to your regular beverage like coffee / tea / milk.

How to take turmeric in different seasons?
For adults, 2 pinches of turmeric with a cup of milk, during afternoon or evening, during summer.
With black pepper and a little bit of honey during winter and rainy season.

How to consume turmeric daily?
Turmeric can be one of the spices that you use in your daily diet. Whatever you are eating, just add a pinch of turmeric powder over it and enjoy its benefits.
Pitta dominant people may sometimes experience increased body heat with turmeric use. They can add a pinch of turmeric to a cup of milk and have it. Coldness of milk with balance out the excess hotness of turmeric.

Question: Turmeric if used in curries or if taken raw will be of same effect? i.e does cooking reduce the healing effect of turmeric?
Answer: Turmeric is used in many Ayurveda medicines, wherein it is fried in ghee, boiled with water to make Kashayam etc. Hence, I do not think there will be reduction in qualities, if it is cooked in mild – moderate heat.

Many formulations related to Diabetes cure in Ayurveda have Turmeric as an essential ingredient. Haldi is an auspicious drug in Indian tradition and is used to worship Gods and Goddesses.

Haldi is an auspicious drug in Indian tradition and is used to worship Gods and Goddesses.

It has a sacred dimension. It has been used as a cosmetic and an important kitchen spice in India. It has also been a part of home remedies to combat cold, cough, seasonal disorders, infections, wounds, skin diseases etc.

Modern studies have shown Haldi (Turmeric, Curcumin) to be highly effective in curing Diabetes. Turmeric is shown to be highly effective in pre-diabetes. When its extracts are given regularly in pre-diabetes, Turmeric is seen to prevent its progression towards T2DM. This Turmeric or Curcumin can be effectively used in preventing Diabetes by administering it in the pre-diabetes population.

Turmeric with black pepper

Hello Dr. There are some people saying that turmeric will not be absorbed by body unless black pepper is added. Can you please clarify this ?
Dr JV Hebbar:
It is not true as per Ayurveda.
In a few combinations of turmeric, we see black pepper as well, like Haridrakhanda, Panchanimba Churna etc. But not all combinations necessarily contain turmeric and black pepper together. For example – Nishamalaki churna – turmeric + Amla.

Turmeric for eyes

Regular use of turmeric in diet is known to improve eye health and relieve allergic disorders related to eyes.
A cup of water, mixed with 2 pinches of turmeric is used for washing eyes to relieve itching.
Curcumin – one of the most important component of turmeric is used in eye drops to treat glaucoma. A recent research study conducted by Professor Francesca Cordeiro from Imperial’s Department of Surgery & Cancer has proven it. (source)

Turmeric rhizome and powder

Major chemical constituents

Curcumene, Curcumenone, Curcone, Curdione, Cineole, Curzerenone, epiprocurcumenol, eugenol, Camphene, Camphor, Bornel, Procurcumadiol, Procurcumenol, Curcumins, unkonan A, B, & D, B- sitosterol etc,
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Medicinal Properties

Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent)
Guna (qualities) – Rooksha (dryness), Laghu (lightness)
Vipaka – Katu – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – because of its hotness, it balances Vata and Kapha. Because of its dryness, pungent and bitter taste, it balances Kapha. Due to bitterness, it balances Pitta. Hence it balances all the three Doshas.
Part used- Rhizome
Dosage- fresh juice 10-20 ml, powder 1-3 grams

Therapeutic uses as per Ayurveda

Haridra Pramehaharaanam – Of all the herbs useful in diabetes, turmeric is the most beneficial. It is very beneficial in all urinary tract infections.
Vishanut – useful in toxic conditions
Mehanut – useful in diabetes and urinary tract infections
Kanduhara – relieves itching sensation due to allergy
Ksuhtahara – used in a wide variety of skin diseases
Vranahara – useful for quick wound healing
Dehavarna vidhayini – improves skin complexion
Vishodhini – natural detoxifier
Krumihara – relieves intestinal worms and infected wounds
Pinasa nashini – useful in running nose, upper respiratory tract infection
Aruchinashini – useful in anorexia
Useful antidote for insect bites on external application. It has anti toxic effect even on oral administration.
Panduhara – useful in anaemia, initial stages of liver disorders
Apachihara – useful in wounds, sinuses
Twakdoshajit – detoxifies blood and skin
Vishothajit – natural anti inflammatory
Vatasranut – useful in gout.
Its external application relieves inflammation, swelling, pain, improves skin complexion, cleanses and heals wounds.
Its fumes are inhaled to relieve hiccups, asthma and poisonous conditions.
Pitta Rechaka – It expels increased Pitta out of the body by means of purgation.
Turmeric relieves constipation.
It is used for external application in facial hair removal.

Turmeric for cancer prevention

A recent study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found that a dose-dependent administration of curcumin effectively activated degeneration of liver cancer cells. 

Sanskrit verse

turmeric uses

Turmeric side effects

Excess use of turmeric, especially during summer can cause increase in hotness.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurveda medicines with turmeric as ingredient –
Haridra Khanda
very useful in allergic rhinitis and allergic skin conditions, also used to improve skin complexion.
Khadiradi Vatiused in the treatment of bad breath, mouth ulcers.
Nisa Kathakadi Kashayamused in diabetes management
Nishamalaki ChurnaUsed in treating pre-diabetes.

Turmeric in Vedas

Turmeric in Vedas

Turmeric was used for long periods of time up to one year, to improve memory and concentration.
Turmeric can be used as part of food and also can be applied all over the body.
Because it colors the cloth (Ranjana) – it is called as Rajani.
It is useful in allergic skin disorders.

Complications, over dosage

In march 2017, In California USA, a 30 year old woman, Jade Erick suffered a cardiac arrest, due to anaphylactic shock following an infusion of intravenous administration of curcumin.
regarding this event

This issue has been used by many anti natural science propaganda publications to blame natural cures. (Example article).
Was the death unfortunate? Yes.
Should the naturopath who administered curcumin intravenously be punished? Yes. He is ignorant and has acted with medical negligence.
Should Ayurveda be blamed for this? NO.

Ayurveda has never recommended intravenous administration of turmeric or curcumin in any traditional Ayurveda textbooks.
Ayurveda has recommended to apply turmeric on wounds, turmeric in the form of oil, on the skin, turmeric for oral consumption. Turmeric with other combinations in enema. But Ayurveda has not recommended turmeric via intravenous route.

Ayurveda has not even recommended use of curcumin alone. Ayurveda talks about full herbs – turmeric. Curcumin is not turmeric. Curcumin is just one of the thousands chemicals in turmeric.

WebMD says overdosage of curcumin is bad.
Ayurveda has clearly mentioned dose and method of administration of all herbs in the most scientific way. Leave alone turmeric, Ayurveda has said that over dosage of even water is bad. (Read – how much water to drink)

Curcumin side effects cannot be considered as side effects of turmeric. Curcumin is only 2 % of the turmeric. Usually in any herb, the chemical compounds react with each other to bring about a final action. So, all actions of curcumin cannot be said to be that of turmeric.

Hence using a very illiterate use of curcumin in IV route to blame the whole of natural system is very illiterate thing to do.

If any of the herbal compound is to be used via IV route, first it should be studied in depth through in vitro in vivo studies. Its safety protocol should be established. Only then a clinical study can be conducted and then further decisions are made.

Blindly giving some herbal tea or infusion of, even rice or cucumber can cause anaphylactic reaction and death.

Sources Cited

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Sharma RA, Gescher AJ, Steward WP. Curcumin: the story so far. Eur J Cancer. 2005 Sep;41(13):1955-68.

Gritz DC, Wong IG. Incidence and prevalence of uveitis in Northern California; the Northern California Epidemiology of Uveitis Study. Ophthalmology. 2004 Mar;111(3):491-500; discussion 500.

Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, Agrawal PK, Prasad R, Kumar P, Srimal RC. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. Phytother Res. 1999 Jun;13(4):318-22.

Srinivas C, Prabhakaran KV. Haridra (curcuma longa) and its effect on abhisayanda (conjunctivitis). Anc Sci Life. 1989 Jan;8(3-4):279-82.

Satoskar RR, Shah SJ, Shenoy SG. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory property of curcumin (diferuloyl methane) in patients with postoperative inflammation. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1986 Dec;24(12):651-4.

Allegri P, Mastromarino A, Neri P. Management of chronic anterior uveitis relapses: efficacy of oral phospholipidic curcumin treatment. Long-term follow-up. Clin Ophthalmol. 2010;4:1201-6.