Turmeric

Turmeric is a flowering plant, perennial herbaceous plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, the tuberous rhizomes, or underground stems, of which have been used from antiquity as a condiment, a textile dye, and medically as an aromatic stimulant. The botanical name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. Native to southern India and Indonesia, turmeric is widely cultivated on the mainland and in the islands of the Indian Ocean.



Like ginger, is considered a spice. Another feature it shares with ginger is a showy flower (although the showy part is actually a bract, not the true flower), which means an additional use for the plant is as an ornamental. The canna-like leaves make it an attractive foliage plant even when flowers are absent. The rhizome has a pepper like aroma and a somewhat bitter warm taste and has a strong staining orange-yellow colour.



Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

3 - 4 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

3 - 4 feet


Approximate pH

4.5 - 7.5


Growth Nutrition of Turmeric


Organic manures contain all the essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, boron, zinc, copper, manganese and iron which are necessary for increasing the yield and quality of the turmeric rhizome.


Turmeric is also a heavy feeder so use a soil mix rich in organic matter with quality compost to start. Once the turmeric is actively growing, feed throughout the season every few weeks. Worm castings, organic liquid fertilizer, granular organic fertilizers, or compost tea are good choices.


Types of Turmeric


Lakadong


Dubbed as the world’s best turmeric, the Lakadong turmeric is a beast of a spice when it comes to superiority, mainly due to its high curcumin levels. This amazing spice is found in the pristine hillocks of Lakadong village.



This turmeric variety is known for its high curcumin percentage which stands at a staggering 7-12%. The average curcumin percentage is usually 2-3% which can go to about 5% in some turmeric varieties. It is grown naturally without the use of any chemical fertilizers and the farmers indulge in sustainable farming practices for the cultivation of this special turmeric variety.


Alleppey



This turmeric is grown in the southernmost part of India, in a town called Alleppey, Kerela. Famous for its backwaters and scenic beauty, Kerela is home to this variety to turmeric which has an average curcumin percentage of 5%, making it fairly beneficial as a colouring agent and as a source of medicine.


Madras



The Madras variety of turmeric is another turmeric which is found in South India. This turmeric is the most common variety which is seen in the supermarkets. It has a pale yellow colour and a curcumin percentage of an average 3.5%.


Erode


This particular turmeric variety acquired a GI tag in the year 2019, after 8 long years of fighting for it. It boasts of a curcumin percentage averaging 2-4%. It has a bright yellow colour and is derived from the Erode local cultivar.


Sangli


Another GI Tag contemporary, this turmeric comes from Maharashtra. It is supposedly known to have great medicinal properties and accounts for nearly 70% of the state’s total production of turmeric.


Nizamabad



Another popular Indian turmeric variety comes from. Nizamabad, Telangana. It contains 2-4% curcumin on an average and has a classic yellow colour.


The other some of the varieties of turmeric are:

  • Hawaiian Red (deep orange color and sweeter flavor)


  • Indira Yellow (bit more pungent and spicy)


  • White Mango (tastes similar to a green, under ripe mango)


How deeply orange the color is a direct indication of how much curcumin it contains. So while the yellow and white varieties are unique and fun to grow, they don’t pack the same punch in regards to nutritional benefit.


Planting Turmeric


You will need a 14- to 18-inch pot or planter for each 6 to 8 inches of rhizome, and enough potting soil to fill it. But to start, it's more practical to sprout your rhizomes in smaller containers and then transplant them into the larger containers once they have a few leaves and are growing well. Here's how:

  • Cut your rhizomes into sections, with two or three buds on each section.

  • Fill 3-inch pots halfway with a good potting soil.

  • Lay the rhizome sections flat on the soil, and cover with more potting soil.

  • Water well and slip the pots into clear plastic bags.

  • Place the pots or clamshells in the warmest place you can find (86 to 95 degrees is ideal). Sprouting at lower temperatures will be very slow and your rhizomes may even rot rather than sprout. No toasty location? You can make a great germination chamber with a heating pad or a small desk lamp, a picnic cooler, and a thermometer. Or you can buy a small germination chamber for home use. Light or no light is fine at this stage.


Care for Turmeric


Light


In the far North, give your turmeric plant full sun. The further south you are, the more it is advisable to afford it some afternoon shade.


Soil


Turmeric likes a rich soil. Adding compost and/or manure helps achieve this. The soil should also drain well.


Water


Turmeric is a plant that tolerates wet soil. At the very least, watch out that its soil never dries out. Turmeric's water needs are considered to be above-average.


Fertilizer


Because turmeric needs a lot of nutrients, feed it every month. An all-purpose liquid fertilizer works best.


Harvesting


Your turmeric is ready to harvest when the leaves and stem start to turn brown and dry, about seven to 10 months after planting. Tip out the plants, soil and all, and shake the soil off your fresh turmeric. Cut the stems off an inch or so above the mass of rhizomes and wash the rhizomes well.


Storing and Eating



Rhizomes will stay fresh in the fridge for up to six months in an airtight bag or container; toss them in the freezer to save them for longer. Be sure to set a few of the largest aside for replanting!


You can also make your own turmeric powder. Place the freshly cleaned rhizomes in a pot and cover them with water, bring them to a boil, and simmer until you can easily pierce them with a fork (depending on their size, this may take 45 to 60 minutes or longer).


Drain the cooked rhizomes, rub the skin off with your fingers (optional), and dry them in the sun or a food dehydrator set at 140 degrees until they are brittle and snap cleanly when you try to bend them. Grind dried rhizomes in a spice mill, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle to make turmeric powder for cooking.


Pests and Diseases


Pests


1. Shoot Borer: The caterpillar bores into rhizomes and feeds on it.

Control: Spray 0.1 % Malathion.


2. Leaf Roller: Caterpillar remains in leaf folds and feds within. .

Control: Spray 0.05 % Dimethoate.


3. Scale Insects: The scales, damage the rhizomes both in field and in storage

Control: Dip seed rhizomes in 0.05 % Malathion or Dimethoate for 30 minutes before storage or planting.


Diseases


1. Leaf Blotch:Small oval, rectangular or irregular brown spots appear on either side of leaves and soon become dirty brown. Yield is reduced.

Control: Spray 0.2 % Diethene M-45.


2. Leaf Spot: Brown spots of different size appear on the upper surface of young leaves. The spots are whitish or grayish in the center. Subsequently, the whole leaf gets covered and leaves dry up. The rhizomes do not develop well.

Control: Spray 0.3 % Zineb or 1 % Bordeaux mixture.


3. Rhizome Rot: Leaves dry up starting from the margins. Collar region becomes soft, water soaked and the plants, collapse, Rhizome decay follows.

Control:

a. Treat the seed rhizomes with 0.3 % Diethane M-45 for 30 minutes before sowing and also before storage.

b. Under field conditions, drench the beds with 0.3 % Diethane M-45.


Benefits of Turmeric


Anti-Inflammatory


The best-known health benefit of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, giving it the power to alleviate swelling and pain in conditions such as arthritis. Inflammation is a very common cause of pain and discomfort. It can also contribute to the development of certain diseases. Turmeric usage reduces the risk of the side effects of taking prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.


Boosts Immunity


The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against pathogens that can cause disease and infection. Turmeric has been shown to be one of the best foods to maintain, protect, and boost immunity, reducing the risk of falling ill. Turmeric has antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.


Pain Relief


Turmeric can ease pain and is used as a pain reliever for arthritis pain. This has been studied in several trials, particularly for patients with arthritis.


Potent Antioxidant


Turmeric has antioxidant properties that help fight free radical damage and oxidative stress. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind the development of numerous diseases and aging. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals. Aside from that, curcumin can boost the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body.


Improve Brain Function


Curcumin can improve and boost levels of the brain hormone brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth of new neurons and wards off many degenerative processes in the brain. Hence, turmeric has been used to attempt to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.


Lower Heart Disease Risk


Curcumin plays a major role in the prevention of heart disease. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can improve the function of the endothelium. Moreover, it lowers the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or the “bad” cholesterol. This can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and even stroke.


Aids in Digestion


Turmeric also supports enzymatic reactions, muscle movement, acid production, and optimal absorption of nutrients in the gut.


Can Help to Control Diabetes


Turmeric boosts glucose control and augments the effects of medications that treat diabetes. This powerful herb can supplement mainstream diabetes treatments by helping moderate insulin levels. It also lowers resistance to insulin, which can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is still best to consult a physician before supplementing diabetes treatments with natural options.


Might Prevent Cancer


There are many types of cancer, but they share common features that curcumin and turmeric could help address. The herb may be able to influence the growth, development, and spread of breast, colon, stomach, and skin cancer cells at a molecular level. Research also suggests curcumin can lower the growth of new blood vessels in existing tumors, prevent metastasis (spread), and possibly contribute to the elimination of cancerous cells.


Turmeric Helps Lower Cholesterol


High cholesterol has many poor health consequences. Studies show using turmeric to season your food can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels and suppress plaque build-up in the arteries, which are essential to preventing cardiovascular issues and other serious health diseases.


Can Treat Skin Conditions


Turmeric offers many benefits for the outsides of our bodies, too, including speeding up wound healing and calming the pores to help reduce acne. It can also prevent scarring and helps control psoriasis flareups. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties offer many perks, but the bright color can stain the skin, and some people may have allergic reactions to the topical application, so it is ideal to consult a dermatologist first.


Uses

  • Turmeric flowers may also be cooked with rice to impart an aromatic fragrance.

  • Turmeric is also used as a yellow food dye, replacing tetrazine.

  • Leaves wrapped around fish flavour it during cooking.

  • In Indonesia, the young shoots and rhizome tips are eaten raw.

  • Turmeric is used in households for treating cough, anorexia, dysentery, abdominal pain, respiratory ailments, and dental disorder.

  • The bride and bridegroom are smeared with fresh turmeric paste on the morning of the wedding as a religious, health and beauty significance.

  • Freshly prepared turmeric paste is used in a perineal laceration to facilitate the wound healing after the delivery.

  • The turmeric paste is an excellent antiseptic, and that is why it is applied to the umbilical core of newly born babies.

  • It is known that turmeric paste is applied to the skin during eye infections, burns, and bites.

  • The combination of turmeric and neem is very effective in treating chickenpox, smallpox, and measles (rubella).


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