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: Turmeric has a vast variety of medicinal uses. In traditional medicine, it used to treat liver ailments, ulcers, parasitic infections, skin problems, bruises, joint pain and inflammation, sprains, strains, cold and flu symptoms, as well as a general digestive aid. Scientific research shows that turmeric aids in breaking down liver toxins, strengthens the functioning of the gallbladder, aids in lipid (fat) metabolizing, and stops blood clotting. In general, it is a good anti-inflammatory agent. What is more, recent studies show that turmeric may help prevent colon, breast, lung and other forms of cancers.
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
Turmeric takes between 8 to 10 months for the edible rhizomes to mature. While the leaves and stems are edible, most people harvest turmeric only for its roots. Most herbs can be harvested throughout the growing season, but turmeric root is best if harvested all at once when mature.
When the rhizomes are large enough, dig up all rhizomes from the pot. They are best if all harvested at once.
Dig up the rhizomes and save a few pieces to plant for the following season. Make sure to change the soil, though, because the original plant probably depleted it of all its nutrients.
Storage and Use
Store the roots in cool, dry place.
Directions for use:
– Boil them for about 45 minutes.
– Dry the boiled roots for about a week.
– Peel the roots, while wearing a glove to prevent coloration of your hands.
– Grind the rhizomes into a fine powder.