Hyderabad: No cough, cold or sore throat for a whole year. Wow. Who wouldn’t like to bargain for this comfort? No, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get rid of these seasonal ailments. Just inhale the vapours of the bright yellowish-orange root lying in your kitchen. Turmeric may be a staple spice in most Indian homes, but not many know that it is also a superfood packed with amazing health benefits.

Mujtaba Hasan Askari With Turmeric Roots (1)

A Hyderabadi family, practising organic farming, stumbled upon this wonder remedy when they started using turmeric for therapeutic purpose. “Believe me, no one in my family has had any flu or seasonal ailments during the last one year,” says Mujtaba Hasan Askari of the Helping Hand Foundation.

Turmerric Roots Being Boiled

Nature itself is the best physician. Askari discovered this when his family moved from the hustle and bustle of the polluted city life to the rustic surroundings of Murtuzaguda in Moinabad, just 25 km away. The family went for organic cultivation of turmeric purely for household consumption but landed up with a bumper crop. Post-harvest, Babu Mian, an experienced farming hand, explained the therapeutic value of the vapours that rise when the harvested stock is boiled. “We inhaled the vapours for 10 to 15 minutes and felt very refreshed. The most astonishing thing is that no one in my family experienced any minor problems for the next one year,” says a beaming Askari, who deals in modern medicine but is now concentrating on traditional cures as well.

Buoyed by the experience, he is now growing turmeric for its medicinal benefits. For the last six years, he has been organising ‘Turmeric Utsav’ at his farmhouse with a large number of his friends and family members. The turmeric roots are boiled in big vessels, and everyone inhales the vapours that are generated and feel invigorated. Most of them also take away the processed, grounded turmeric powder for household consumption.

Turmeric Vapours Being Inhaled

Modern research, Askari says, has shown that turmeric or haldi has antiseptic and anti-microbial properties. It is also cardioprotective, anti-viral, and an antioxidant, making it a powerful healing herb. So it’s not a diet but a lifestyle change that is needed. Why not be a nature nut and reap the benefits?

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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