I feel like turmeric is all the rage right now, and it's no wonder! It is anti-inflammatory, a natural antibiotic, and an antioxidant. One of it's main components, curcumin, is responsible for most of it's wonder-herb qualities, which just seem to go on, and on, and on...
Three of the most promising benefits of turmeric, shown in recent research, are the possible prevention of Alzheimer's disease, hugely positive changes in the symptoms of arthritis and the prevention and treatment of cancer. There is a lot of info about turmeric out there, so I encourage you to go find it and learn about it!
Turmeric looks a lot like ginger root (see photo below) and is a beautiful saffron color when cut open and in its powder form. In Ayurveda, turmeric (haridra, in Sanskrit) is best for kapha dosha, but can be used by all three dosha types. Vatas and pittas must be careful not to use it in excess, especially high pitta folk, as it is a heating herb with a somewhat pungent taste! It is also known to awaken the energy of the Divine Goddess bestowing energy and prosperity. It cleanses the subtle body and the chakras, and helps stretch the ligaments so is great for yoga practioners.
I like to get fresh turmeric and roast it with cauliflower or make it into carrot turmeric juice! Ginger is a good addition to either of those, as well! You can throw turmeric powder or fresh turmeric into almost any curry dish, vegetable dish, or meat dish and yield delicious, aromatic results. It will cause a little staining, though, so be careful!
Today I had a fun tincture play time with my friend, and decide to make a turmeric tincture. I chopped it up, filled a jar, and added vodka! The liquid is already looking a beautiful golden color and I can't wait to use it when it is ready in a few weeks! Turmeric is one of those herbs you can take more or less all the time because it doesn't have many side effects and can help at least a little with almost anything! So fight those free radicals, fight that inflammation, and stay healthy & strong with turmeric!
(Most of my information comes from my textbooks, teachers, personal experience and the book "The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine," by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad. None of this is to be taken as medical advice, but as a way to learn a little more about herbs and Ayurveda.)