Tumeric - Curcuma longa

Tumeric as it is commonly known is oddly enough a member of the Ginger family. It is a perennial plant and its medicinal power lies in its tuberous rhizome roots.

Summer is the best time to plant Tumeric. I would recommend using a large tub, you can get away with potting mix but whatever you use make sure it is a good draining soil. Its not a plant that you can forget about, it needs a lot of water so make sure you give it something to drink regularly but don't drown it.

The best time to harvest them is when they are about 10 months old. You will know its time because their leaves turn yellow and their stems start to dry out and all you do is tip the plant out of its pot and shake the dirt off. The part you are wanting is the root, it is also a good idea to keep the main part of it to replant again later.

Give it a good wash and make sure it is free from of all dirt and then leave them out in the sun to dry out.

Once dry if you are wanting to keep them for food, pop them in a paper bag in the fridge and they should keep ok for a couple of weeks. If you are wanting to process for teas or you want the powder then you will need to slice them thinly and put them into a dehydrator. Once dried you can grind into a powder if that's what you are after.

So why would you want to grow or buy Tumeric?

If you ever needed a natural dye Tumeric produces a beautiful colour, mind you it is not as strong in fabrics but makes an excellent food colouring.

Speaking of food, Tumeric is most commonly used in the culinary context. It is an excellent addition to any Curry but is also a nice flavour to add to cauliflower, soups and stews.

But why do I love Tumeric?

Its medicinal value of course which has been used for thousands of years of course!

You may of heard that Curcumin is the active compound in Tumeric that is so amazing and this is true however only about 3% of what Tumeric you do consume contains Curcumin so you would need to eat or take an awful lot for that to be of much value to you.

There is a way around this and depending on your taste buds you may not like it but Black Pepper contains another compound called Piperine which enhances your bodies ability to absorb Curcumin by 2000%!

Curcumin is also fat soluble so adding it to a meal with a reasonable fat content will also help your body take the most from it.

Is an anti-oxidant

Oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of aging and disease, one way to combat this is by using skincare and consuming a diet high with anti-oxidant compounds. Tumeric is one of these due to its curcumin content as shown in this study

Good for Heart Disease

Heart disease for many reasons is one of the leading causes of death in the world. This handy little compound again has been shown in this study to help reverse the steps in the heart disease process. Mostly it does this by helping improve the lining of your blood vessels which helps to regulate your blood pressure and blood clotting. Of course we just mentioned how it is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant which also contributes to a healthy heart.

Cancer Preventative

Nothing in life is guaranteed however this study shows significant promise when it comes to preventing and treating cancer. It does this by reducing the formation of new blood vessels in cancerous tumours and reducing its spread.

It is anti-inflammatory

This is probably the most common medicinal use of Tumeric, if you suffer from Arthritis or any other inflammatory condition I'm sure you have heard that Tumeric is good for this however as mentioned before you need to consume a lot of it for it to have any benefit which is why you need to take it with Black Pepper. This paper goes more into this.

There have been studies done on this including this one which shows that for a form of arthritis as aggressive as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Curcumin was more effective than anti inflammatory medication!

Which leads me to my next use for this plant.......

I use it in my Anti-inflammatory Tea, alongside Black Pepper of course. This may sound like it would taste terrible however it has sweet spicy flavours with highlights from lemon, it is delicious! Infuse 1-2 teaspoons per cup of hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes then drink. For best effect drink 2-3 cups per day, do not exceed 3 cups a day.

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