Although known primarily for being the spice used in curry that gives it that distinct yellow color, turmeric or Kurkuma is fast becoming popularly known for its health benefits as well. Indians have been using this spice for centuries, both as a way to flavor their food and as a medicinal herb.
This is why India is the largest exporter for turmeric; with their exports for the spice reaching a worth of $236 million in 2018 alone.
However, who is the one importing all that spice and why?
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is an herb that’s native to Southeast Asian countries, particularly India, and is closely related to the ginger family.
The herb is created through the plant’s rhizomes which are dried before being ground into the bright yellow powdered form for which it is widely known. It is said to have many medicinal properties and is a popular ingredient in many Asian countries, especially Southeast Asia.
Largest Market for Turmeric in India This Year
The Trade Promotion Council of India or TPCI has stated that North America is the largest market for turmeric this year, with Europe as the fastest-growing market. Other importers include the UAE, Japan, and Sri Lanka, among others.
The demand for the spice lies in the increasing demand for curcumin, the substance found in turmeric, in the global pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries.
Furthermore, TPCI’s Chairman, Mohit Singla, said that positioning the spice as an anti-cancer pharmaceutical brand can further increase the exports of the spice.
Why is Turmeric Becoming So Popular?
Despite being popularly found in curry powder, a sudden craving for curry not the reason for the increasing popularity of the spice.
So why is it so popular nowadays?
Turmeric’s popularity stems from the health benefits the spice provides. This yellow-colored spice contains curcumin which is said to have many health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of Turmeric
Although not the miracle drug that many claim it to be, studies show that turmeric does have plenty of health benefits such as:
Perhaps its main medicinal property, one of the spice’s main substances is curcumin which is responsible for its anti-inflammatory characteristics. Many of those suffering from arthritis have found that the herb has helped with the pain in their joints.
Rich in anti-oxidants
Another beneficial characteristic of turmeric is its anti-oxidant properties which is something that has been proven to have many benefits; both for cosmetic and health purposes. Studies have shown that its antioxidant properties are great for improving liver function.
Plenty of studies are underway to see if turmeric might have other benefits and it seems like it may possess anti-cancer properties as well. Although not proven yet, curcumin seems to have the potential to kill cancer cells which could be a great development in the fight against cancer.
Turmeric has long been used by people in India and other parts of Asia as both a way to spice their food and to treat various ailments. Because of its many potential health benefits, it has become one of India’s most exported products, with North America being their largest importer.
Although studies are still underway regarding its health benefits, turmeric’s popularity as a miracle spice is still steadily increasing.