How to Grow and Cultivate Turmeric
Cultivation of Turmeric
If you’ve dined at an authentic Indian restaurant or have tried cooking an Indian dish, then you’ve probably come across turmeric.
This powerful herb imparts a bright yellow color and a distinctive, pungent taste and aroma to food. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant native to South Asia that looks similar to ginger. It is an important ingredient in Indian and Asian cuisine, is an Ayurvedic medicine, and has been used as a natural dye for more than 2,000 years.
Cultivation of Turmeric
Turmeric plants do not produce seeds. You have to cultivate them from roots or rhizomes.
- Get fresh turmeric roots from your local market or nursery. Select plump, juicy-looking rhizomes that already have little buds growing.
- You can either plant the root directly or cut the buds or “fingers” off and plant them one by one in pots filled with well-draining soil. Dig holes 12 to 16 inches apart and at least 2 inches deep, then place the roots with their buds facing upwards.
- Place the pots in areas where they can get full sun. They can also grow in slightly shaded spots.
- Because turmeric plants are prone to root rot, avoid giving them too much water.
- After a few weeks, you will start to see some sprouts peeking through the soil. You will then have to wait 8 to 10 months before the roots are ready for harvesting.
Tips on Growing Turmeric
- You can plant the roots directly outside, though it may be better and safer if you keep them in pots first before transplanting them. Transplanting should be done during late fall.
- Turmeric needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C to thrive.
Medicinal Uses of Turmeric
This ancient herb has served numerous uses for thousands of years. Apart from adding flavor to food, it has also been used to dye clothes and condiments.
Turmeric also serves a variety of ceremonial uses: as a thanksgiving offering, as a dye for the robes of Buddhist monks, and as a paste to color the body of brides and grooms.
Through the centuries, it has also gradually carved its niche in the field of medicine. In fact, scientific studies have shown again and again turmeric’s beneficial effects to our health.
Here are some of the known medicinal benefits of this versatile rhizome:
Helps treat wounds – Turmeric has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Use it to keep cuts and burns from getting infected.
Positive results against cancer – Results from a number of laboratory tests using mice as test subjects showed considerable success after using turmeric to prevent the spread of breast cancer.
Combined with cauliflower, it has been proven to prevent the growth of prostate cancer. It also stops the growth of blood vessels in existing tumors.
Possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease -Studies have shown that the herb helps stop the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain, which in turn slows down the progression of this dreaded disease.
Keeps skin healthy and flawless – Turmeric is great for the skin. It helps prevent and treat various skin diseases like psoriasis, and can be used for exfoliating, getting rid of acne, lightening stretch marks, healing burns, and keeping wrinkles away.
Aids in weight loss – Use turmeric for weight management. Its active ingredient, curcumin, stimulates gallbladder activity, aids digestion, and hastens fat metabolism. Add it to your stews, soups, and roasts to reap its slimming benefits.
And so much more – Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been found helpful in treating and managing the symptoms of arthritis. It is also used to detoxify the liver, treat depression, prevent metastases, regulate cholesterol levels, and reduce the physical effects of a stressful lifestyle.