Sunday, July 26, 2009

Miracles of Turmeric (Manjal, Haldi)

Turmeric has been and always will be a sacred spice for Indians. Indians have been using the spice for centuries in their daily cooking and had known the benefits so much that the turmeric has been added to all their daily rituals, for prayers, wedding, daily bath and it is a spice that not to missed out in any cookings. Why the turmeric is such a great necessity to Indians? The answer lies in its medicinal properties.

The benefits of turmeric come from its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin gives the turmeric root its yellow color, which is used to both color food and to dye fabric. According to the Siddhas medicine (6000 years old ancient South Indian's medicinal practices equivalent to Ayurveda in the North), the benefits of turmeric root extend far beyond a common cold remedy. Over the years turmeric root has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
  • Arthritis

  • Bruises

  • Chest pain

  • Colic

  • Digestive disorders

  • Flatulence

  • Jaundice

  • Menstrual conditions

  • Toothache
Western medicine has investigated some of the benefits of turmeric. The use of turmeric as an anti-tumor agent is under investigation, as is the possibility that the turmeric plant's anti-inflammatory properties could relieve arthritis symptoms.It is the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric root that make it a home remedy for the common cold. Turmeric relieves the nasal inflammation associated with the common cold.

Using Turmeric as a Cold Remedy

Turmeric root can be used in more than one home cold remedies. One of these alternative cold remedies recommends boiling half a teaspoon of powdered turmeric root in 30 milliliters of milk, letting the mixture cool and drinking it once or twice a day to relieve throat inflammation. As the milk comes to a boil, you can breathe in the steam for added effect (just be careful not to burn yourself with the hot steam).A second turmeric home remedy for the common cold is to breathe in smoke from burning turmeric powder to increase nasal discharge. Be warned, however, that burning turmeric creates a strong odor.Finally, here's a home remedy best used when cold symptoms are just beginning: Open one or two turmeric capsules and mix the turmeric with some honey. Symptom relief should come quickly.

Other uses of Turmeric

  • Prevention or Slowing down Alzheimer's disease. (Please refer links below to understand the medical background:)
  • Turmeric (Curcumin) blocks Brain tumor activity:

  • Curcumin is helpful against pancreatic ailments:
  • Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, and thus is helpful in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases:
  • Turmeric helps in digestion by inducing bile juice, and is thus good for the liver too. That's why it's subscribed whenever someone in India has jaundice:
  • A summary of the anti cancer properties of Curcumin, the chemical in Turmeric (Haldi) is given below. It is observed that Curcumin aids the cell-cycle arrest, which, if allowed to continue, would help in the mutation of cells and development of cancer:
  • Detailed medical analysis of Curcumin is provided in the below link:
  • Apart from this, Turmeric (Haldi) has been used since time immemorial in India as a Grandma's cure for skin infections, cuts, wounds and lesions. Recent studies prove that Curcumin inserts itself into cell membranes, making them more stable and thus healing them. Refer the below link:
  • Turmeric (Haldi) has also been used in India as a cosmetic. People, especially the women-folk are advised to use it to get a glowing and radiant skin.

  • It is also a common ritual to apply turmeric paste on the to-be bride and groom before marriage in the traditional Hindu ceremony. Studies show that Turmeric helps fight Melanoma, a deadly form of skin-cancer. Refer below link:
  • Drinking a glass full of "Haldi ka doodh", or Turmeric dissolved in milk, whenever you have a cold/cough/fever, feeling weak or when having body-pain can cure the issue. Turmeric seems to be a natural pain-killer and is seen to be helpful against all these symptoms.

  • Please refer below links:Turmeric: India's 'Holy Powder' Finally Reveals Its Centuries-old Secret

    Science Daily (Apr. 21, 2009) - Scientists in Michigan are reporting discovery of the secret behind the fabled healing power of the main ingredient in turmeric — a spice revered in India as "holy powder."

    In the study, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and colleagues point out that turmeric has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Although modern scientific research on the spice has burgeoned in recent years, scientists until now did not know exactly how curcumin works inside the body.

    Using a high-tech instrument termed solid-state NMR spectroscopy, the scientists discovered that molecules of curcumin act like a biochemical disciplinarian. They insert themselves into cell membranes and make the membranes more stable and orderly in a way that increases cells' resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes.

    Potent Spice Works To Block Growth Of Melanoma In Lab Test

    Science Daily (July 14, 2005) — HOUSTON - Curcumin, the pungent yellow spice found in both turmeric and curry powders, blocks a key biological pathway needed for development of melanoma and other cancers, say researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

    The study, to be published in the August 15, 2005 issue of the journal Cancer, but available on line at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 11, demonstrates how curcumin stops laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating and pushes the cancer cells to commit suicide. It does this, researchers say, by shutting down nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), a powerful protein known to promote an abnormal inflammatory response that leads to a variety of disorders, including arthritis and cancer. The study is the latest to suggest that curcumin has potent anticancer powers, say the researchers. "The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties of curcumin derived from turmeric are undergoing intense research here and at other places worldwide," says one of the study's authors, Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor of cancer medicine in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics.

    At M. D. Anderson, for example, dramatic results from laboratory studies have led to two ongoing Phase I human clinical trials, testing the ability of daily capsules of curcumin powder to retard growth of pancreatic cancer and multiple melanoma. Another Phase I trial is planned for patients with breast cancer, and given this news of curcumin's activity in melanoma, animal studies will soon begin, Aggarwal says. Ground from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, curcumin is a member of the ginger family. It has long been utilized in India and other Asian nations for multiple uses: as a food-preservative, a coloring agent, a folk medicine to cleanse the body, and as a spice to flavor food (two to five percent of turmeric is curcumin, for example).

    While researchers had thought curcumin primarily has anti-inflammatory properties, the growing realization that cancer can result from inflammation has spurred mounting interest in the spice as an anti-cancer agent, Aggarwal says. He adds that another fact has generated further excitement: "The incidence of the top four cancers in the U.S. - colon, breast, prostate, and lung - is ten times lower in India," he says. This work is just the latest by M. D. Anderson researchers to show how curcumin can inhibit cancer growth. "Curcumin affects virtually every tumor biomarker that we have tried," says Aggarwal. "It works through a variety of mechanisms related to cancer development. We, and others, previously found that curcumin down regulates EGFR activity that mediates tumor cell proliferation, and VEG F that is involved in angiogenesis. Besides inhibiting NF-kB, curcumin was also found to suppress STAT3 pathway that is also involved in tumorigenesis. Both these pathways play a central role in cell survival and proliferation."

    He said that an ability to suppress numerous biological routes to cancer development is important if an agent is to be effective. "Cells look at everything in a global way, and inhibiting just one pathway will not be effective," says Aggarwal.

    In this study, the researchers treated three different melanoma cell lines with curcumin and assessed the activity of NF-kB, as well the protein, known as "IKK" that switches NF-kB "on." The spice kept both proteins from being activated, so worked to stop growth of the melanoma, and it also induced "apoptosis," or programmed death, in the cells. Surprisingly, it didn't matter how much curcumin was used, says the researchers. "The NF-kB machinery is suppressed by both short exposures to high concentrations of curcumin as well as by longer exposure to lower concentrations of curcumin," they say in their study. Given that other studies have shown curcumin is non-toxic, these results should be followed by a test of the spice in both animal models of melanoma and in human trials, they say.

    The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense. Co-authors included principle investigator Razelle Kurzrock, M.D.; first author Doris Siwak, Ph.D. and Shishir Shishodia.

    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Ashta-Lakshmi - The Eightfold Lakshmi

    When we come first of all to consider Maha Lakshmi in Her cosmic aspect as Avidya-Maya who has to preserve the world-process which has evolved out of the Supreme Being, we find that She is conceived of as all the various things that are necessary to have a prosperous and successful life upon this earthplane. We have the conception of Mahalakshmi in Her eightfold forms and the Hindus refer to Her as the Ashta-Lakshmi. For the sustenance of life upon this earth the most important thing is food. All beings live upon this physical plane through the nourishment derived from physical food and the chief source of food upon earth is grain that is cultivated. The grain is Dhaanya..

    Therefore, Mother is worshipped as Dhaanya-Lakshmi. It is a common sight to see upon a particular day in the year set apart for this specific purpose, the cultivator and all the people worshipping the freshly-cut sheaves of golden corn, wheat grains, or rice grains that has been gathered at harvest-time. It is a very joyous festival. The first crop of golden corn which has filled the field is cut, taken up with great ceremony, with music and rejoicing and it is brought to the house wherein all the ceremonial worship due to a deity is offered to it. Thus Mother in Her universal aspect as life-sustaining grain is regarded as the most important factor and in this form Lakshmi is manifest in this world of ours.

    Secondly, for all human dealings, in society, both local and international, money or wealth is of paramount importance. Without wealth man cannot live with happiness, prosperity and success. He cannot undertake any works; and therefore, Mother is also conceived of as Dhana. It means wealth in any form—in the form of coins, goods—all valuable things. Thus wealth also is revered and worshipped in society.

    The Mother in these various forms is worshipped by different classes of people in India. The Hindu society is based upon the beautiful plan of Varnashrama. There is a general division of labour in the whole society as it is and different aspects of national life are entrusted to different sections of the community and in Her eightfold aspects as Dhaanya-Lakshmi, Dhana-Lakshmi, Dhairya-Lakshmi, Vidya-Lakshmi, Jaya-Lakshmi, Veerya-Lakshmi, Gaja-Lakshmi and Saubhagya-Lakshmi,

    Mother is worshipped in the form of life-giving grain, of wealth, of Apara-Vidya (knowledge of arts and sciences which is very essential if one must live a civilised and happy life—all knowledge pertaining to this material universe is Mother in the form of Vidya), of Dhairya (to utilise wealth and knowledge one must have enterprise), of Veerya (vitality or virility), of Gaja (royal power or the power of royalty), of Jaya (the power of victory over adverse circumstances, obstacles that stand in the way of a happy, prosperous and successful life) and of Saubhagya (prosperity in general). In these eight aspects, the power of the nourisher and sustainer Lakshmi is manifest in the world of human beings.

    The Kshatriya worships the Mother in the form of victory-giving weapons; to him the sword and all the other weapons are the victory-giving manifestations of Mahalakshmi. To the Vaishya who belongs to the third social order, who carries on commerce and business in human society, the great power is the power of money; therefore, a day is set apart to specially worship Goddess Lakshmi in this aspect of money, by them. It is a common sight on Deepavali and Lakshmi Puja, especially in wealthy cities like Bombay, when silver coins would be put into a heap and worshipped as any deity would be worshipped by the devout Hindu, as the visible manifestation of Divine Mother Lakshmi Herself. The fourth class, Sudras, worship Lakshmi as grain which they help to produce. By the Brahmin who is the trustee of knowledge and who is to impart knowledge to all people Mother is worshipped in the form of Vidya and as books. Implements of machinery, every sort of Ayudha that help to keep life going upon earth, are also worshipped on Ayudha Puja day. The conception of the Motherhood of God in its aspect as the preserving and life-sustaining form is thus practically demonstrated in the Hindu society in these various ways.

    Mother is worshipped in the form of life-giving corn, of wealth, of Apara-Vidya (knowledge of arts and sciences which is very essential if one must live a civilised and happy life—all knowledge pertaining to this material universe is Mother in the form of Vidya), of Dhairya (to utilise wealth and knowledge one must have enterprise), of Veerya (vitality or virility), of Gaja (royal power or the power of royalty), of Jaya (the power of victory over adverse circumstances, obstacles that stand in the way of a happy, prosperous and successful life) and of Saubhagya (prosperity in general).

    Mahalaxmi Stotram


    Aum Namaste-astu mahaa-maaye sree peethe sur-poojite,
    Shankha chakra gaddaa-haste, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    O Great Mother, abode of fortune, Who art worshipped by the Devas, I salute Thee;
    O Mahaa Lakshmi, wielder of conch, disc and mace, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Namaste garu-daaroode, kolaa-sura bhayankari;
    Sarva paapa hare devi, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    My salutations to Thee, Who rides the Garuda and art a terror to the demon Kola;
    O Mahaa Lakshmi remover of all miseries, my obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Sarvagye sarva varde, sarva dustha bhayankari;
    Sarva duhkha hare devi, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    Salutations to Thee, Who knows all, The Giver of all boons,
    a terror to all the wicked, remover of all sorrow, my obscene to Thee.

    Aum siddhi buddhi prade devi. bhukti-muktipradaayini;
    Mantra moorte sadaa devi, Mahaa Lakshmi namo astute.
    O Goddess of Wealth, giver of intelligence and success and of worldly enjoyment and Liberation,
    Thou hast always the mystic symbols as Thy forms, O Mahaa Lakshmi, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Aadhyanta rahite devi, aadhya-shakte maheshvari;
    Yogaje yoga-sambhoote, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    O Mother Maheshvari, without a beginning or anend;
    O Primeval Energy, born of Yoga; O Mahaa Lakshmi, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Stoola suksham mahaa rovdre, mahaa shaktemahodaye;
    Mahaa paapa hare devi, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    O Mahaa Lakshmi, who art both gross and subtle, most terrible,
    great power, great prosperity and great remover of all sins, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Padmaa sanas-thite devi, pare brahma svaroopini;
    Para meshi jagan-maatar, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    O Devi, seated on the lotus, who art The Supreme Brahman,
    The Great Lord and Mother of the Universe, O Mahaa Lakshmi, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Svetaambar dhare devi, naanaa lankaar bhooshite;
    Jagat stithte jagan maatar, Mahaa Lakshmi namo-astute.
    O Devi, robed in white garments, and decked invarious kinds of ornaments,
    Thou art The Mother of the Universe and its support; O Mahaa Lakshmi, obeisance to Thee.

    Aum Mahaa Laksham-yashtak stotram, yahahpathed-bhakti maan narah;
    Sarva siddhim vaapnoti, Mahaa Lakshmi prasaad taha.
    Whoever with devotion recite this hymn to Sri Mahaa Lakshmi,
    composed in eight stanzas, attains all success through the Grace of Mahaa Lakshmi Devi.