Tips for Growing Turmeric

Turmeric

COMMON NAMES:
Commonly known as turmeric, turmeric and curcumin.

LATIN NAME:
Curcumae Longae

HISTORY:
This root is highly revered in Ayurvedic medicine, as well as general South Asian cuisine. Native to Southern Asia, the name curcuma comes from the Arabic word "kurkum", or "saffron", and is an indication of its relationship to the vibrant orange color of both herbs. Since Biblical times, turmeric has been used to spice foods, make perfume and color clothing.

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.

Turmeric Cultivation and Growing Methods

Natural Attitude Turmeric

ANNUAL/PERRENIAL PLANT:
Perennial that re-shoots every spring.

PARTS USED:
Root

SOIL REQUIREMENTS:
Well drained, fertile soil

SUN REQUIREMENTS:
Turmeric prefers warm direct or indirect sun.

GROWING ZONES:
Turmeric is a tropical plant that does well when given abundant heat and moisture. This root will grow well in any region that has a temperate summer, and will die in the winter. USDA Zones 7b-10b

PLANTING TIME:
Unless you live in the tropics, where it can be planted anytime, plant in late spring. Fresh roots can be planted directly into soil.

POLLINATION:
The dried rhizome of turmeric can be used in subsequent plantings.

FLOWERING/SEEDING TIME:
Turmeric shoots appear in about two months from planting. The rhizomes can usually be harvested from seven to ten months after planting, when leaves and stems become dry.

HARVESTING:
When the plant has changed from abundant green to dry, dig up the entire plant, ensuring that you dig up the entire root (as this is the part that is used medicinally). Plan to harvest your turmeric root at the end of the summer growing season.

DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Drying turmeric is a fairly complicated process. First you must boil the roots, then leave in the sun to dry, or use a dehydrator. The plant may also be used fresh and raw in a grated form.

PLANT YIELD:
Approximately 700 grams of fresh root yields per plant.

PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
Store fresh roots in the refrigerator, as you would fresh ginger. Dried, the root can be made into a powder and stored in an airtight container.

ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
The essential oil is excellent for skin conditions, bruises, sprains, fungal infections, Athlete's foot and muscular aches.

PLANT CHEMICALS:
Turmeric's main active chemical component is a phenolic curcuminoid. It also contains immune boosting polysaccharides.

IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
Yes

CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
No contraindications have been seen, but avoid if you are pregnant, as turmeric has been associated with stimulating menstruation and possibly, but rarely, inducing abortion.

DRUG INTERACTIONS:
Avoid taking turmeric when taking drugs related to diabetes (that lower blood sugar).

Clinical Research About Turmeric

  • Pharmacological actions of curcumin in liver diseases or damage.Rivera-Espinoza Y, Muriel P. Liver Int. 2009 Nov;29(10):1457-66. [PMID: 19811613]
  • Analysis of minor curcuminoids in Curcuma longa L. by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry]. Li W, Xiao H, Wang L, Liang X. Se Pu. 2009 May;27(3):264-9. Chinese. [PMID: 19803127]
  • Effect of phospholipid composition on characteristics of liposomes containing zedoary turmeric oil]. Chen J, Zhu K, Cheng NN, Wang WM, Bian Z, Lu TL, Mao CQ, Cai BC. Zhong Yao Cai. 2009 May;32(5):777-80. Chinese. [PMID: 19771852]
  • Stability of lipid constituents in radiation processed fenugreek seeds and turmeric: role of phenolic antioxidants. Chatterjee S, Variyar PS, Sharma A. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Oct 14;57(19):9226-33. [PMID: 19769367]
  • An Anticancer Effect of Curcumin Mediated by Down-regulating PRL-3 Expression on Highly Metastatic Melanoma Cells. Wang L, Shen Y, Song R, Sun Y, Xu J, Xu Q. Mol Pharmacol. 2009 Sep 24. (doi:10.1124/mol.109.059105) [Epub ahead of print].

 

References

  1. Lust, John, N.D. "The Herb Book", Bantam Books. 1979.
  2. Turmeric. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons 4.0. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health; June 2009.
  3. Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D., private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
  4. Chan, E.W.C. et al. (2009). "Effects of different drying methods on the antioxidant properties of leaves and tea of ginger species". Food Chemistry 113 (1): 166–172.
  5. Foods That Help Fight Chronic Pain". AOL Health. Retrieved October 2009.

 

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