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Curry powder is largely composed of turmeric. Turmeric is the natural source of "Curcumin", among many other compounds. Curcumin is being studied scientifically for a wide variety of medicinal properties (see elsewhere in this website). The other spices and herbs in curry powder, almost every one, are known from early times for improving mental functioning. "Dispels vapours in the braynes," is an often-used phrase describing the effect many of these ingredients.
Curry powder offers a pleasant, easy way to add these vitally important substances to one's diet. Though real curry dishes are prepared much more elaborately, a good teaspoon of curry powder (yes, the kind in the supermarket in the little envelopes for 79 cents) added per pound of meat in any recipe will make that dish into a mild "curry". Or, use in vegetable dishes. Or, simply keep curry powder at the table in a parmesan-cheese shaker, and sprinkle it lightly onto your food --- it is already roasted.
There are quite a large variety of spices that are typically found in the different brands of curry powder available in the United States today. The most typical combination is coriander and turmeric, in that order, followed by half a dozen or so others.
Here is a list of potential ingredients of curry powder, as found by this author in searching eight different brands. The number indicates the number of brands that contained that ingredient. (Of course, all ingredients are ground):
Coriander Seeds, 8
Cumin Seeds, 8
Fenugreek Seeds, 8
Garlic , 5
Curry Leaves, 4
Fennel Seeds, 4
Red Pepper, 3
Black Pepper, 2
Poppy Seeds, 2
Bengal Gram, 1
Cassia buds, 1
Celery Seed, 1
Dill Seed, 1
White Pepper, 1
If tried on every meal for just a few days, seniors may notice a new clarity of mind, subtle but undeniable. Enthusiasm returns. The handwriting clears up. Details are held in mind. The elusive word turns up easily. Balance may return. The desire to organize and clean returns. Multiple tasks can be held in the consciousness, and several objects can be visualized in space. You can organize your desk and household and calendar again.
Watch out for these:
Some unpleasantness may be noticed if one suffers from advanced gall bladder trouble, since curry powder stimulates the gall bladder. Also, if one uses too much right at the table, it might upset the stomach. Sprinkle it on more than salt, but less than salsa. Regular salt shakers don't let the curry powder pass through. Use shakers with large holes, like parmesan cheese shakers available at Smart and Final.
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Imagine being able to ask several other people instantly, in just one email, whatever is concerning you about health, curry powder, or anything even slightly related to these ideas. Receive emails instantly from anyone who posts to the group's email address. You may choose to just read the discussions, rather than post, if preferred. Our Curry_ Powder group at Yahoo!Groups is the only discussion group of its kind, devoted to using curry powder for health. It's totally free, no charge, and you don't need to reveal any personal information.
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Curry: as used in India, this simply means "sauce"; Indian foods made with sauces are thus all "curries"
Curry Powder: a readily-available blend of spices which is a Western approximation of Indian spice blends, and typically contains turmeric, coriander, chillies, cumin, mustard, ginger, fenugreek, garlic, cloves, salt, and any number of other spices
Masala: In India and her neighbors, a blend of powdered spices, of a specific type for a specific type of dish; said to be about 100 kinds of masalas in Indian cooking
Garam masala: A readily-available masala composed of delicate, heat-sensitive spices; thus, it is added at the end of cooking, after the flame has been turned off (see left)
Curcumin: Confusion exists in present usage of this word; Curcumin is the name for turmeric in many countries; however, expensive products called "Curcumin" are now being sold with the vitamins at health food outlets, and research on curcumin abounds in current medical literature. Some say that curcumin is the yellow oils that give turmeric its yellow color, and which are also used as both food coloring and textile dyeing. Others call these yellow oils "curcuminoids" or "curcumin extract." Curcumin has nothing to do with "Cumin" spice (see below). See the
Curcuminoids: Chemicals in turmeric that are being studied for their physiological effects; one group of curcuminoids comprises a potent yellow-orange volatile oil (see Curcumin Extract below); this oil contains three compounds called turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberone, among other substances
Curcumin Extract: The term used by Indian pharmacists to denote the potent and expensive yellow-orange oil which is the dye substance extracted from turmeric, used both for food coloring and for textile dye; has been used for centuries in India
Curry Leaves: A plant with small, dark green leaves (about 1 inch long) that give a mild flavor to Indian food; usually used fresh, not dried; they are sometimes included in Curry Powder, but do not give Curry Powder its name
Cumin: A small, warm-climate annual plant of which the seeds are used; often mistranslated as "caraway" in curry recipes due to similarity of the Indian words for both cumin and caraway, jeera, as well as nearly-identical appearance of the seeds; assume that "caraway" means "cumin" in curry recipes; "Cumin" has nothing to do with "Curcumin" (see above)
Chilli: Red chillies, also called Red Pepper or Cayenne Pepper in America
Chilli Powder: In Asia/Europe, the powder of pure red chillies -- this would be called Red Pepper or Cayenne Pepper in America; American "Chilli Powder" is a very different blend of spices, including cumin and with very little red chilli in it, used in Chili con carne, barbecue and "Texas" style cooking
Haldi or Haldie: The Indian name for Turmeric
Turmeric: A plant of which the root resembles ginger, and is used extensively in India, which produces almost the whole world's supply, as well as consumes 80% of that supply; botanical name is curcuma longa; is native to Southeast Asia, from Vietnam to the humid hilly regions of Southern India; Indian name Haldi