Turmeric

Turmeric

Curcuma longa

Turmeric is known to help with inflammation as well as joint paint, muscle aches and soreness. Turmeric is also high in antioxidants.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Rhizone
  • Side Effects:
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About Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant that is a property of the most reputable ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The plant of turmeric can outstretch up to the height of roughly around 3 feet. It is outlined by alternately arranged, oblong to elliptical shaped leaves that can be 30 to 45 inches long. The flowers of the turmeric plant are funnel-shaped that arise from the pseudo-stem or a direct stem. The flowers can be seen in white, yellow and, pink.

Turmeric root is widely used in the food to spice up the look of a dish by giving it the warmth it deserves. The beautiful yellow golden color that it imparts is worthy enough to be a part of some legend. Other than that, turmeric has also gained prestige in the medicinal world by being a reputable part of the Ayurvedic regime for millennia. It bolsters the immune system, detoxifies the body by supporting the liver, and promotes splanchnic blood flow. It is also documented to possess anti-inflammatory properties so it is employed to support the treatment of arthritis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and so forth.

The prime active ingredients of turmeric are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These ingredients account for the numerous benefits that turmeric confer and have worked a lot in building its fame.

Growing

Living in USDA zone 8 to 11 seems fruitful for growing turmeric. Zone 7 also supports the growth of turmeric but this zone demands a little effort and endurance.  Growing the turmeric plant elsewhere prompts it to act like an annual herb i.e. it dies at the end of the season.

This tropical plant requires a location that receives full to part sun. A richly organic soil, a lot of humidity and moisture are the key necessities to witness a hearty growth. To avoid attaining rotting rhizomes, it is made sure beforehand that the soil has well-established drainage.

Turmeric plants are slow to grow. It seems better to start their growth indoors with a warming mat placed beneath the pot to break the dormancy. The ideal temperature for sprouting ranges from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant can then be transferred to an outdoor setting for better continuation when the danger of frost has surpassed.

Turmeric can only be started in an outdoor environment when the frost danger is not dangling in the air anymore and the temperature of soil feels right enough to be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Harvesting

The flowers of the turmeric plant are hermaphrodite (i.e. a single flower contains both male and female sexual characteristics). Turmeric flowers emerge in summer and are pollinated by pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.

The process of pollination is followed by fertilization. It is usually seen to reproduce asexually (i.e. from rhizomes) also called vegetative reproduction. The initiation of the turmeric plant from seeds or spores is not well-documented in the literature.

The lifecycle of turmeric revolves around its precious rhizome that proves to be of utmost importance for both its growth and medicinal use.

Turmeric has its own signaling mechanism when it comes to notifying the gardener about the time of harvest. The plant starts turning its leaves and stems brown and dry. The stem normally falls over due to excessive dryness. Such incidents usually occur 7 to 10 months after the plantation of our loved plant.  

The aforementioned color transition promises the maturation of the plant.

The period that lies between January and April is considered to be quite fruitful for harvesting the turmeric rhizomes.

The flowers and rhizomes of the turmeric plants are saluted all around the world. The flowers of the turmeric plant also possess curcumin, the reason for its booming popularity.

The plant is dug from the soil and the stem is snipped an inch above the rhizome.
The soil is brushed off of the rhizomes and they are supposed to be washed well afterward.

The flowers of the turmeric plant are simply just clipped off from the stem and used for medicinal purposes.

Turmeric rhizomes are stored in a completely moisture-free and dry place. Usually, sand is considered to be the best place for the storage of fresh turmeric.

Other than that, turmeric is sun-dried, ground and stored in an airtight container in a dark and dry place. The powder is occasionally aired in the sun to avoid moisture and fungus attack.

Usage

Turmeric rhizomes can be feasted in a variety of ways to enjoy its doubtless pungent flavor and golden look.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped turmeric root in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh turmeric root are boiled with water. To enhance its taste, honey is added.
  • Decoction - Turmeric root is chopped and boiled with water. The solution is further simmered for another 45 minutes and is served with a hint of honey.
  • Salve - Turmeric powder is paired with ginger powder and beeswax to form a salve.
  • Syrup - Powdered turmeric, water, and sugar are combined over the flame to form turmeric syrup.
  • Infused oil - Turmeric Root is infused with any sort of carrier oil (such as sweet almond) to form turmeric oil.