Our rhizomes where overlooked until we realized they were turmeric. Similar to our Noni story, we had not paid attention to this garden healer and were about to ask our laborer to pull the all out of the earth. Every time I think of the possible mistake I was going to make – again – because I was moving too fast, the beautiful turmeric plant serves as a reminder to slow down, to get in communion with my plant allies.
Ayur means life, and veda means science or knowledge. Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for turmeric.
Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a flowering plant belonging to the ginger family. The roots called rhizomes, have been used for cooking and medicinally for thousands of years. Curcumin is the bright-yellow chemical produced by the turmeric plant; turmeric rhizomes contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities making turmeric a healing ally. The turmeric root is used fresh or boiled and/or dried and ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a coloring and flavoring agent in foods or for dyeing fabrics. It is rumored that Turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions including smallpox, chicken pox, blemishes and shingles and used to treat depression in olden days.
In India the turmeric plant is used as a treatment in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of natural healing. Ayurveda translates to science of life– Ayur meaning life and veda meaning science or knowledge; Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for turmeric, including jayanti, meaning one who is victorious over diseases, and matrimanika, meaning as beautiful as moonlight.
Some Medicinal Uses of Turmeric:
- Protects the liver from toxins
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces joint swelling
- Improves protein digestion
- Inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion
- Turmeric juice aids the healing of wounds and bruises
- Turmeric paste is said to treat skin conditions
- Offers a broad spectrum of benefits for physical maladies
How to Farm Turmeric with Your Fork:
Our turmeric preservation project is part of a library of my musings, news stories, and gardening tips about the Five Steps to Farming with Your Fork. It’s my way to share with you tangible actions toward inspired sustainability adoptable for home practice.