Curcuma Longa, commonly called turmeric, is a flowering plant categorised under the ginger family, and native to India. The plant’s roots, which yield the popular orange-yellow spice have been used for millenniums throughout Asia, chiefly for culinary and therapeutic purposes. Turmeric, a perennial herb, grows up to 1m and bears inflorescence with stem bracts coloured whitish-green that makes the plant appear striking.
So if you wish to reap the numerous benefits of turmeric or add something exotic to your lawn, this guide will come handy.
Turmeric Plant Attributes
Turmeric which also goes by other names such as Curcumin, curcuma, and Indian saffron, is farmed extensively in tropical zones of Asia, mainly for its rhizomes (roots). Many people prefer to grow the herb in their grounds chiefly because of the plants’ white to green inflorescences.
The turmeric plant thrives in tropical climes, and grows best in well-drained clayey loam or sandy soils. Additionally, the crop needs to be watered heavily but is highly susceptible to alkalinity and water logging. Also, make sure the plants are not exposed to sunlight directly but stay in shade.
Turmeric is heavily used for flavouring a variety of dishes, thanks to its earthy, mustardy whiff, and mild peppery flavour.
Turmeric, like ginger, grows from rhizomes that you can source from bio food and health food stores or even online. Ensure that the roots are somewhat moist; dried roots do not grow. Early September or October is the ideal time for planting turmeric, and the rhizomes need to be embedded in pairs deep in humid soil.
If you wish to grow many plants, maintain a spacing of 15-30cms between every set of two roots. The soil should abound in nutrients and drain water properly. Water the growing crop regularly, particularly if you stay in a tropical region.
Add manure or fertiliser to the soil more often so that the plants have a regular supply of nutrients. Turmeric plants do not need to be pruned or clipped but ensure to remove dried leaves. However, make sure there is no stagnant water on the ground or else or else the plants will be susceptible to diseases and pests.
There are some telltale signs that indicate it is time to harvest; leaves will turn yellow, and the stems will dry up and fall off. It takes about 8-10 months for the plants to attain full maturity. You can either uproot the entire plant together with its roots or simply separate the rhizomes. Preserve some plants in case you want to grow and harvest a fresh crop in the next season.
Turmeric: Applications and Benefits
Turmeric is called a “super food” owing to its multiple therapeutic properties. The herb is widely used for spicing up a variety of dishes and for making alternative medicines. It is because of the presence of curcumin-yellow chemical compound-in turmeric that imparts to the herb its unique properties.
It is alleged that turmeric can help boost cognitive function, alleviate severe inflammation, reverse insulin resistance, and reduce pain.