TURMERIC: Getting to Know Herbs

Scientific Name: Curcuma Longa

Other Names: Haldi, Haridra

Rasa (taste): pungent, bitter, astringent

Dosha (effect): VPK-, VP+ in excess



Native to India and Southeast Asia, turmeric has been used in many staple culinary dishes of the region, most notably curry dishes. Its sanskrit name haridra means "yellow" signifying its famous golden hue used as a fabric and food dye for centuries. Curcumin is what gives it its yellow pigment and high phenol content. For culinary and medicinal purposes, the rhizome of the plant is most commonly used, especially in herbal supplements.


Turmeric is well-known for its anti-bacterial properties as well as its ability to reduce pathogens from the gut and decrease inflammation in the joints, gut and skin. In this way, it has been used for digestive ailments attributed gut dysbiosis and weak digestive fire (agni). It is associated with the liver and blood in that it increases bile production while purifying the blood and liver. Turmeric's effects on the liver specifically are the reason it is successful in improving skin ailments such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Its effects on the blood make it a heart-nourishing ingredient, and yogis have used the plant to improve joint and ligament flexibility and strength for centuries. Possesses a tri-doshic balancing effect because of its rasas and elemental properties.


Traditional Uses:

  • Digestion- destroying ama and pathogens, strengthens digestive fire (agni)

  • Joints- reducing inflammation in joints from injury and improving flexibilty

  • Liver- increasing bile production and purifies toxic buildup (ama)

  • Blood- nourishes the heart and body by improving circulation and purification of the blood

  • Skin- improving skin disorders by purifying the liver and blood


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Disclaimer: Use caution and consult a doctor before taking supplements, especially if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or are breastfeeding, or if you are on anti-coagulant or anti-platelet prescription medications. Be aware of taking in high doses as it can exacerbate vata and pitta doshas.

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