Turmeric is one of my most favorite healing plants.
People are now catching on to how marvelous this flowering plant is. It makes roots in abundance. Curcuma longa is a tropical rhizome with an intriguing past that looks just as great in the garden as it tastes on the table. Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.
It is a natural wonder in the healing world and has been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-depressant since ancient times.
The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food. They are generally boiled and then dried, turning into the familiar yellow powder.
Curcumin, the active ingredient, has antioxidant properties. Other substances in this herb have antioxidant properties as well.
It has phenomenal anti-cancer properties and has been known to help to inhibit prostate, skin, colon, mouth, esophageal, lung, stomach, pancreatic, liver, and breast cancer.
Turmeric is also a known blood purifier and helps to soothe respiratory ailments, improve liver function, support the circulatory system, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and heal gastrointestinal disorders.
Turmeric significantly decreases inflammation that is attributed to arthritis and other auto-immune disorders such as lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Turmeric also helps the body to digest proteins and fats as well as to regulate blood sugar for diabetics.
Its antioxidant properties have beneficial anti-aging effects and its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial properties aids in healing skin wounds and abrasions as well as inflammatory skin irritations such as psoriasis and eczema.
As with all medicines, do talk it over with your health practitioner, especially if you are being treated for disease or taking medication so they can cross reference Turmeric with your medications and condition.
In India, turmeric has been used as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores, basically for its supposed antimicrobial property. In the Siddha system (since around 1900 BCE), turmeric was a medicine for a range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders.
A fresh juice is commonly used in many skin conditions, including eczema, chickenpox, shingles, allergy, and scabies.
Native Hawaiian’s use three drops of fresh juice in infected ears to heal and use “Olena” for digestive issues as well. By juice it means freshly squeezed from the root, only; not hydrated power.
Turmeric is available as a powder, capsule, tincture, tea, spice, and/or ointment. Supplementing with turmeric or adding it to your diet will provide benefit for your whole body and is one of the best things you can do for prevention, repair, and longevity.
This definitely fits in to eat your preventive medicine! A delicious bowl of curry aids your body is many ways. Yellow rice is made with a dash of turmeric too!
The whole plant is edible; the roots are boiled, dried and ground up to produce turmeric powder, the leaves make a wrap for steamed fish, and even the flowers can be eaten as an exotically beautiful vegetable, like lettuce with a kick.
Turmeric as a spice is widely used in traditional Indian cooking for centuries. In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color.
It is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
Fresh turmeric rhizomes are also cooked in to many delightful dishes and impart a yellow color and subtle flavor. Turmeric is also used for dyes.
Turmeric is considered auspicious and holy in India and has been used in various Hindu ceremonies for millennia. The Native Hawaiians use it in sacred ceremonies. It is taught that a woman during her menses must not pick to touch a live plant as the plant will die. (it does! and it is not that either is harmful, just a combination that does not work together)
Grow Your Own
It is native in southwest India, and needs temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.
Buy the roots from an organic source and be careful of those in stores in case they were treated with something. Yet a plump healthy root will sprout leaves and grow, so why not add some to your garden.
Plant turmeric in spring once all danger of frost has passed, or in northern climates, start it in a container. The pleated leaves will eventually become plumes four feet tall in ideal conditions, and green and white cones of yellow flowers will emerge between the leaves in summer.
After a stem has finished flowering, cut it to the ground to encourage new growth. By late fall the leaves will begin to decline and turn yellow. Cut them back if desired or let them die back naturally.
Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season. They love plenty of water, yet need ample drainage or they will die.
North of zone 7b, dig up the rhizomes in fall, rinse off excess soil with a hose and nozzle, snap off mushy and rotting pieces and let the rhizomes air dry before storing them dry peat or sawdust until spring. Check on them periodically for rot or pests.
Lovely in your garden and tasty on your plate, this is a plant you could enjoy in all its forms!