LATIN NAME: Curcumae Longae
COMMON NAMES: Turmeric, Curcumin
HISTORY: The turmeric root is highly appreciated by both Ayurvedic medicine and South Asian cuisine. It has been used to make perfumes, color clothing, and spice foods since ancient times. Turmeric is native to Southern Asia and it names derives from “saffron” or “kurkum”, an Arabic word which stands for its orange color.
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES: In folk medicine, turmeric is used to treat skin issues, joint pain, strains, sprains, liver ailments, bruises, parasitic infections, ulcers, cold, flu, and digestive issues. It has been scientifically shown that it aids in lipid metabolizing, inhibits blood clotting, improves the function of the gallbladder, and works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Recent studies found that it may help prevent lung, breast, colon, and other forms of cancer.
PARTS USED: Root
ANNUAL/PERRENIAL PLANT: Perennial
LIGHT REQUIRMENTS: Full sun or slight shade
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: Well -drained and fertile soil
GROWING ZONES: Given the fact that it is a tropical plant, turmeric needs abundant heart and moisture. It will grow in any region with a temperate summer and die during the winter.
PLANTING TIME: You should plant it in late spring unless you live in tropic areas where it can be planted all year round.
POLLINATION: You can use the dried rhizome for further plantings.
FLOWERING/SEEDING TIME: Its shoots appear within two months and the rhizomes can -be harvested 7-10 months after planting, once the leaves and stems dry out.
HARVESTING: Once the plant dries out, dig up the whole plant, making sure that the entire root is dug up, as it is the one that it used for medicinal purposes.
DRYING METHODS / YIELD: First, boil the roots and then dry them out with a dehydrator or by leaving them outside in the sun. You can also use the plant fresh or grated.
PLANT YIELD: One plant produces about 700 grams of fresh root.
PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS: Keep the fresh root refrigerated. If you dry the root and make it into a powder, store into an airtight container.
ESSENTIAL OIL USE: The essential oils can be used to treat sprains, skin issues, fungal infections, muscular aches, Athlete`s foot, and bruises.
PLANT CHEMICALS: It contains immune-boosting polysaccharides and phenolic curcuminoid.
IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT: Yes
CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS: Even though no side-effects have been reported yet, it is recommended to avoid turmeric if you are pregnant as it has been linked to stimulation of menstruation and possibly, abortion.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Avoid taking turmeric when taking drugs to lower blood sugar
Benefits of Turmeric
Amazingly, turmeric is said to contain over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic uses. It acts as potent antibacterial and antiseptic agent, which makes it great for treating wounds. The best thing regarding turmeric is its anti-inflammatory property which has been studied to ibuprofen.
If you are interested in growing your own food, keep reading to learn more about cultivation and growing methods of turmeric.
How To Grow Turmeric Indoors
Turmeric is grown from root cuttings, known as rhizomes. Given the fact that it doesn’t propagate seeds, all you need to grow turmeric indoors is a turmeric root which can be found in any health store. To grow your own turmeric plant, adhere to the following instructions:
- Break a larger rhizome into a small rhizome piece with two or three buds.
- Fill the pots with rich organic soil, which is lightly moist but well drained.
- Place the rhizome about two inches below the surface of the soil, with the buds facing up.
- Finally, water the container.
Note: It is recommended to feed the plant with a good organic fertilizer on a bimonthly basis.
How To Water Turmeric
Given the fact that it likes water, you should keep the soil moist. Water the plant every two days or mist it with a spray bottle. In case you live in cooler climates, water the plant less frequently.
How To Harvest Turmeric
The turmeric plants need about 8-10 months to grow. Even though all parts, including the stems and leaves are edible, the roots are mostly harvested. It is recommended to harvest the turmeric root when they mature.
Dig up all rhizomes from the pot when they are large enough. Keep a couple of pieces for the next season. Change the soil on a regular basis so that the plant gets all the nutrients it needs.
Storage and Use
You should keep the turmeric roots in a cool and dry place. When you are ready to use them, follow the steps below:
- Boil the roots for about 45 minutes
- Dry the turmeric in the sun for a week
- Peel the roots ( wearing gloves)
- Grind the rhizomes into a powder