Turmeric

Space Needed

1.5 plants/sf

Background

Turmeric, is native to the monsoon forests of south east Asia. It is now being grown throughout tropical regions world over.

Medicinal Value

Turmeric: is a supreme antioxidant and a potent anti-inflammatory as well as a general immune system booster.  Additionally it is antibacterial anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and it stimulates excretion of bile

There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin ( the yellow pigment) in 100 grams of turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to positively influence more than 700 genes. It is being used to treat or protect against: crones disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis,cystic fibrosis, various cancers, cholesterol and cardiovascular issues, alzheimers and diabetes. It is certainly a most important and promising food/medicine for our times.  For more information: 

Ornamental value

Turmeric is a perennial herb growing up to 3’ tall with underground rhizomes. It produces very beautiful, white flower spikes assuming clumps are left undisturbed for a year. The flower is so attractive that it is worth growing for this alone. It requires a well-drained soil, and consistent moisture. It thrives best on loamy or alluvial fertile soils and cannot stand for a prolonged time standing in water. It prefers light shade.

Cultivation

Turmeric, a true tropical plant,  is not hard to grow although it does require a long (9-10 month) growing season. Rhizomes may be purchased at local ethnic markets, healthful stores or even online.  In most zones, it does best if started indoors in containers and brought in before night temperatures fall below 60 degrees. 

Harvest & Keeping

Rhizomes are harvested 9 to 10 months after planting, the lower leaves turning yellow or stems drying and falling over are indications of maturity. It is possible for the home gardener to just dig carefully at the side of a clump and remove rhizomes as needed rather than harvesting the whole clump. 

Precautions

Do not use if you are pregnant, have gall bladder disease or are on any blood thinner medication

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