Earth Day Plant Series: All About Turmeric
Crafted in the Ayurvedic tradition, Bennd’s yoga mats are dyed with a variety of organic herbs and plants valued for their positive health effects. Even better, many of these plant species can be used to fertilize soil and support the growth of new plants. Used for centuries by cultures around the world as medicines, dyes, and agricultural tools, these plants connect our yoga mats to the Earth that supplied its ingredients.
With Earth Day coming up this month, we want to illustrate the power of these plants and highlight their various uses.
Kicking off the series is turmeric.
What is turmeric?
Curcuma longa, or turmeric, is a plant that grows primarily in South Asia. It’s a perennial that produces a long, stem-like flower tipped with white and pink petals while in bloom. Beautiful as the flower is, turmeric’s human benefits lie primarily in its rhizomes, the thick rootstems that stretch into the soil under the plant and grow outward to potentially sprout new plants. These rhizomes look similar to fresh ginger, with an orange interior color not unlike a yam or sweet potato.
That color is one of turmeric’s most notable properties, as it’s partly produced by a chemical called curcumin, which bears a bright yellow hue.
What are the health benefits of turmeric?
The curcumin in turmeric also possesses a range of health benefits. While Western science is still researching many of its potential effects, some have been recognized by Indian and other Southeast Asian cultures for generations. Turmeric is well-known to be a highly effective antioxidant, helping to clear the body’s systems of free radicals. Many cultures have used turmeric in herbal blends intended to improve fertility and boost the immune system, and research suggests that it could also reduce symptoms of depression in some people.
What are the other uses of turmeric?
Natural pesticide and fungicide
Turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, can also be used in gardening and farming to help support healthy growth and keep pests from damaging plants. It’s a natural alternative to harmful chemical pesticides that also carry negative environmental and human health effects. Turmeric’s strong odor is an effective deterrent for ants and other small insects that feed on plants in a garden.
Likewise, turmeric can be used to help prevent plant diseases caused by various fungi, which can spread throughout a garden and destroy entire crops. Curcumin seems to have a repressing effect on fungal growth, making it an excellent tool for gardeners. If you want to use turmeric in your garden, you can mixing the powder into your soil or dissolve it in water to spray on your plants.
Interestingly, some of the plant benefits of turmeric also apply to humans. Turmeric is sometimes used to repair damaged plants and prevent fungal infection in plant wounds. Studies have demonstrated that turmeric can fight fungal infections in people as well. It has also been used to reduce itching and infection symptoms in AIDS patients.
Turmeric is a powerful plant with a long and well-respected history of use in traditional Ayurvedic medicines. In Bennd yoga mats, turmeric is used in the dyeing process and imbues our textiles with curcumin’s natural properties, transferring those benefits on to you. At the source, we also use turmeric to fertilize and protect our herb gardens, a key step in the circular Bio-economy at the heart of our mission.
Shop Bennd Turmeric Ayurvedic Yoga Mats HERE.