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Turmeric in Micronesia

IN Micronesia, turmeric is used in various social rites.

Turmeric is a plant probably native to South Asia, and is also found in Southeast Asia. In Pohnpei turmeric is known as ongitik (isinieng); in Kosrae, ang; in Chuuk, áfán, kúchún; in Yap, angorlk, guchol; and in Samoa, ago.

In Yap, dancers wear beautiful costumes like multicolored hibiscus skirts and ornamental head-dresses, and cover their bodies with flowers, coconut oil and yellow turmeric powder. In Palau, turmeric is used by new mothers during the hot bath ceremony. In Kosrae, turmeric is mixed with coconut oil (kahki ang) and is used on babies to help keep their skin healthy. In Pohnpei, turmeric leaves are boiled with locally raised chicken for a healthy soup.

According to researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University of Para in Brazil, turmeric has health benefits: “Curcumin [the] yellow powder derived from the roots of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa) can…help prevent or combat stomach cancer.”

MedicalNewsToday listed the following medicinal benefits of turmeric:

  • • The Arthritis Foundation cites several studies in which turmeric has reduced inflammation.
  • • Turmeric is thought of as a pain reliever.
  • • The antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins. This could be good news for people who take strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions that might hurt their liver with long-term use.
  • • Curcumin shows promise as a cancer treatment. Studies suggest it has protective effects against pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma.
  • • Turmeric can help digestion.
  • •The spice is even being explored as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.