The most discussed rhizomatous herb in recent times is the Turmeric. The status of Turmeric in India is high, the maximum usage of the root of this herb is the offering to gods and goddesses. A dried Turmeric root is enough to complete a wedding (the groom ties the turmeric root on the bride’s neck). Turmeric powder is used as a beauty product by the women. If a child scrapes his leg, Turmeric powder is applied on it immediately. To clear ant infested area, Turmeric is used. If you sneeze, you are sure to be handed a Turmeric mixed in warm milk as a night cap. A go-to remedy in India is T.U.R.M.E.R.I.C. India produces 80% of the World’s requirement of Turmeric. By now, you know that it is native of South Asia. It grows in the wild in South Asia where there is excess rain.
Turmeric is known as Arishina in Kannada, Haldi in Hindi, Manjal in Malayalam, Haridra in Sanskrit. The botanical name is Curcuma longa and belongs to Zingiberaceae (Ginger) family.
The perennial Turmeric plant grows to a height of 3-5 ft.
The leaves are alternate, green, oblong, pointed, and long. The leaves are used as a wrapper to steam food in Southeast Asia.
The flowers are funnel-shaped yellow, white, or green flowers, peeping out of large bracts.
Turmeric rhizome is harvested to be used in cooking and in Chinese, Siddha, Unani, and Ayurvedic medicines. The rhizomes are yellow to orange, cylindrical, and aromatic. The rhizomes are boiled, cleaned, and either used raw or dried.
Wild Turmeric grows in Western ghats and the Himalayas.
The dried rhizomes are ground to a powder and is used extensively in Indian cuisines giving it the distinct yellow color.
Turmeric is used to dye garments. Thread dyed with Turmeric are auspicious threads that are tied on the hand or neck during festivals like Swarna Gowri festival, Bheemana Amavasya, 3 Dose Habba, Ele Ashtami also known as Jyeshta Gowri Pooja, Varamahalakshmi, and so on.
Wedding celebrations in India starts with the Haldi ceremony where generous amount of Haldi is applied on the bride and groom to get them glowing for the wedding. The sindoor or vermilion is also made using Turmeric.
The mangalasutra (pendant) is tied with turmeric thread or a turmeric root is tied with turmeric thread and this is tied around the bride’s neck by the bridegroom during the wedding.
During Marathi, Konkani, and Kannada Brahmins wedding, turmeric tubers are tied with strings by the couple to their wrists during a ceremony called as Kankanabandhana.
During Makara Shankranthi day, the Turmeric plant with roots are tied to the vessel while making Pongal.
Turmeric contains many components and 3.14 percent of Curcumin. Many oils constitutes the Turmeric.
Propagation is through rhizomes. Provide water daily and plant in semi-shade area.
Recipes using Turmeric as one of the main ingredient:
Turmeric Milk also known as Turmeric Latte
Turmeric Side Dish – Haldi Ki Subzi
Patoleo – using Turmeric leaf