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Curcuma longa Turmeric Zingiberaceae
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 expensive saffron.
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 bis-demothoxy-curcumin. 8