|Believed to have
originated in India, turmeric is grown throughout tropical Asia for
its bright orange rhizomes, which apart from their mildly spicy flavor
are valued as a food coloring, providing a substitute for the very
It is also used for dyeing cloth.
The broadly lance-shaped, bright green leaves can form large clumps up
to about 3 ft (1 m) tall in hot areas.
Short, dense spikes of pale yellow flowers are produced in summer.
The fresh or dried roots provide color and pungent fragrance to
chutneys, pickles and curries; it is harvested when the foliage begins
to dry off .
Cultivation: In the tropics grow in a well-tilled garden bed in
moderately fertile soil.
Plant rhizomes or tubers late in the dry season and water frequently
when new leaves appear.
Harvest turmeric rhizomes when leaves show signs of dying back.
|Country of Origin: South East Asia
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
|The rhizome contains up to 7% of an orange-yellow, volatile oil. Tumerone
and artumerone together comprise about 60% of the oil and zingiberene
comprises about 25%. Cineole, d-phellandrene, d-sabinene, and borneol are
present in low concentrations. 7 The major yellow pigment has been identified
as curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a phenolic antioxidant. 8 Unlike most natural
antioxidants that contain beta-diketone or polyphenolic functional groups,
curcumin possesses both active moieties. Its superior antioxidant activity has
been attributed to this structural combination. 9 Curcumin's mechanism of
action remains unclear. Other curcuminoids structurally related to curcumin
also are found in the extract and include demethoxy-curcumin and