(Curcuma longa), the ancient and sacred spice of India
is a major rhizomatous spice produced and exported from India. Also
called “The Indian Saffron” Turmeric, is truly
an Indian Spice. It is used extensively in the preparation of all
types of tasty curried dishes. It not only adds its typical flavour
but also its colour, thereby helping to bring out the best in curried
dishes. Turmeric is the basic ingredient in almost all curry powders
and a major source of natural colouring for foodstuffs and pharmaceutical
and cosmetic applications. The colour ingredient in Turmeric is
known as Curcumin. The level of curcumin content varies
in different varieties of Turmeric.
Zingeberene, 1, 8-cineole
Field at Erode
saffron des Indes
is largest producer, consumer and exporter of Turmeric in the world.
India accounts for about 80% of world production of Turmeric. Every
year approximately 4 Lakh Tonnes of Turmeric is produced in India.
Of this approximatley 40,000 Tonnes of Turmeric is exported. 90%
of the Turmeric produced in India is consumed locally. Remaining
10% of the production is exported to varies countries like US, UK,
Middle East, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia
and other countries. Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh states in
India constitute the lion’s Share in India’s Turmeric
Turmeric growing states in India are Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh,
Kerala, Maharastra and Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu is known for its “Erode Turmeric”-
Tamil Nadu is known for its “Salem Turmeric”
Andra Pradesh is known for its “Nizamabad and Warangal
Kerala is known for its “Alleppey Turmeric”
Maharastra is known for its “Rajapuri and Sangli
can be grown in diverse tropical conditions from sea level to 1500
m above MSL at temperature ranging from 20 - 30 0 C with a rainfall
of 1500 mm or more per annum. It is grown on different types of
soils from light black, ashy loam, clayey loam and red soils. However,
it thrives best in a well drained sandy or clay loam soils.
The land is prepared with the receipt of early monsoon in May. The
soil is brought to fine tilth by giving about four deep ploughings.
Weeds, stubbles, roots etc. are removed. Beds of size 1-1.5 m width,
15 cm height and of convenient length are prepared with spacing
of 50 cm between beds. Small pits are made with hand hoe in the
beds in rows with a spacing of 25 x 30 cm and covered with soil
or dry powdered cattle manure. Planting is done by forming ridges
and furrows. The optimum spacing in furrows and ridges is 45-60
cm between rows and 25 cm between plants. Turmeric can be planted
during April- May with the receipt of pre monsoon showers. Whole
or split mother rhizomes are used for planting. A seed rate of 2500
kg of rhizomes is required for planting in one hectare.
Cattle manure or compost at the rate of 40 tonnes per hectare is
applied by broadcasting and ploughing at the time of preparation
of land or as basal dressing by spreading over the beds to cover
the seed pits after planting. Fertilizers at the rate of 30 kg N
30 kg P2O5 and 60 kg K2O per hectare. In areas low in major nutrient
status fertilizer rate to be applied is @ 60 kg N, 50 kg P2O5 and
120 kg K2O per hectare. The beds are earthed up after each top dressing
The crop is to be mulched immediately planting with green leaves
at the rate of 12-15 tonnes per hectare. It may be repeated for
second time after 50 days with the same quantity of green leaves
after weeding and application of fertilzers. Weeding may be done
thrice at 60, 120 and 150 days after planting depending upon weed
intensity. Turmeric can be raised as mixed crop with chillies, colocasia,
onion, brinjal and cereals like maize, ragi etc. In the case of
irrigated crop, depending upon the weather and the soil conditions,
about 15-20 irrigations are to be given in clayey soils and 40 irrigations
in sandy loams. Shoot borer and rhizome scales are the major pests
in turmeric. Leaf blotch, leaf spot and rhizome rot are the major
diseases infecting turmeric.
The crops becomes ready for harvest in seven to nine months depending
upon the variety. Usually it extends from January – March.
The land is ploughed and the rhizomes are carefully lifted with
a spade. Harvested rhizomes are cleaned of mud and other extraneous
matter adhering to them. The average yield per hectare comes to
20-25 tonnes of green turmeric.
Post-Harvest Processing of turmeric consists of four stages.
Curing: Fingers are separated
from mother rhizomes. Mother rhizomes are usually kept as seed materials.
The fresh turmeric is cured for obtaining dry turmeric. Curing involves
boiling of fresh rhizomes in water and drying in the sun. The traditional
method of curing is as follows:
The cleaned rhizomes are boiled in copper or galvanized
iron or earthern vessels with water just enough to soak them. Boiling
is stopped when froth comes out and white fumes appear jigging out
a typical odor. The boiling lasts for 45-60 minutes when the rhizomes
are soft. The stage at which boiling is stopped largely influences
the colour and the aroma of the final product. Over cooking spoils
the colour of the final product while under-cooking renders the
dried product brittle. The improved scientific method of curing
turmeric is as follows:
The cleaned fingers / mother rhizomes are taken
in perforated trough made of GI or MS sheet with extended parallel
handle. The perforated trough is containing the raw turmeric are
then immersed in a pan of water which can hold 3-4 troughs at the
same time. Boil it till the fingers / mother rhizomes become soft.
The cooked turmeric is taken out of the pan by lifting the trough
and draining the water into pan itself. The same hot water in the
pan can be used for boiling next set of raw turmeric. The cooking
of turmeric is to be done with in 2-3 days of harvest.The rhizomes
may also be placed in baskets with perforated bottom and sides and
dipped in coveted tanks when the quantity is large or may be put
directly into the vessels when the quantity is small. The mother
rhizomes and fingers are generally cured separately.
Drying : The cooked fingers are
dried in the sun by spreading in 5-7 cm thick layers on bamboo mats
or drying floor. A thinner layer is not desirable as the colour
of the dried product may be adversely affected. During night time,
the material should be heaped or covered. It may take 10-15 days
for the rhizomes to become completely dry. Artificial drying using
cross flow hot air at a maximum temperature of 60 0 C is also found
to give a satisfactory product. The yield of dry turmeric varies
from 20-30 % depending upon the variety and the location where the
crop is grown.
Polishing : Dried turmeric has
a poor appearance and rough dull colour outside the surface with
scales and root bits. The appearance is improved by smoothening
and polishing the outer surface by manual or mechanical rubbing.
Manual polishing consist of rubbing the dried turmeric fingers on
a hard surface or trampling them under feet wrapped with gunny bags.
The improved method is by using hand operated barrel or drum mounted
on a central axis, the sides of which are made of expanded metal
mesh. When the drum is filled with turmeric is rotated, polishing
is effected by abrasion of the surface against the mesh as well
as by mutual rubbing against each other is as they roll inside the
drum. The turmeric is also polished in power operated drums. The
yield of polished turmeric from the raw material varies
a unique, colourful and versatile natural plant product combining
the properties as below:
As a Food
by dint of its aromatic oil content, flavours foodstuffs, acts as
an appetizer and aids digestion. Turmeric powder is used extensively
in Indian cuisine. It is a significant Ingredient in most commercial
curry powders. Turmeric is used in product systems that are packaged
to protect them from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for oil-containing
products. The curcumin/polysorbate solution or curcumin powder dissolved
in alcohol is used for water containing products.
Turmeric has found application in canned beverages,
baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes,
biscuits, popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatines,
direct compression tablets, etc. In combination with Annatto it
has been used to colour cheeses, dry mixes, salad dressings, winter
butter and margarine.
As a Medicine
is seen as an excellent natural antibiotic, while at the same time
it strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora. It's
not only purifies the blood, but also warms it and stimulates formation
of new blood tissue. Turmeric promotes proper metabolism in the
body, correcting both excesses and deficiencies. It aids in the
digestion of protein. It is tonic to the skin, for which purpose
it can be taken internally as a milk decoction. Turmeric is aromatic
and a stimulant and has many helpful functions. It is bitter, slightly
pungent and a good blood purifier, and works as a tonic to aid digestion
and relieve congestion. It has a soothing action on respiratory
ailments such as cough and asthma. It also is anti arthritic and
acts as a natural anti-bacterial.
Turmeric is exceedingly useful in the treatment of Meha (obstinate
urinary disorders including diabates mellitus). Turmeric is beneficial
in the treatment of measeba. Stimulates secrtion of bile, anti inflammatory,
eases stomach pain, antioxidant and anti bacterial. When applied
to skin and exposed to sunlight, turmeric is strongly antibacterial.
Turmeric improves the action of the liver and is a traditional remedy
for jaundice in both Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine. To ease
liver complaints and ulcers turmeric is used. Turmeric is aromatic,
mild digestive and in Asian countries it is taken to ease liver
complaints and stomach ulcers. In India, the powdered rhizome is
commonly administered as an agent that rids the body of parasitic
preparations are Haridra-khand, chandraprabha-vati, laghuvis-garvataila,
pippalesav, punarnava mondus, sudarson churna, videngadi lep. A
fresh Juice from the rhizome or a paste prepared from turmeric or
decoction is often used as a local application as well as internally
in the treatment of leprosy, snake bite, vomiting associated with
pregnancy and the offlicluis of liver. In case of smallpox and chickenpox,
turmeric is applied as a powder or as a paste to facilitate the
process of scabing.Turmeric powder is alum powder are mixed in a
proportion of 1 to 20 and this is blown in to the ear which is having
a chronic discharge or otorrhoea. It is used by the Unani practitioners
to expel phlegm or kapha, opening out the blood vessels to improve
Recent studies have shown that turmeric can be effective in fighting
a number of STDs including chlamydia and gonorrhea. Investigations
into the low incidence of colorectal cancer amongst ethnic groups
with a large intake of curries compared with the indigenous population
have suggested that some active ingredients of turmeric may have
anti-cancer properties. Curry Pharmaceuticals, based in North Carolina,
is studying the use of a curcumin cream for psoriasis treatment.
A recent study involving mice has shown that turmeric slows the
spread of breast cancer into lungs and other body parts, but also
enhances the effect of taxol in reducing metastasis of breast cancer.
As a Dye
paper is an official reagent in British Pharma Copoea for testing
Alkalinity. A diluted, tincture of turmeric is suitable for use
as a fluorescence indicator even in brown and yellow solutions.
Turmeric is an anti-oxidant, due to the phonemic character of Curcuma.
As a Cosmetic
is currently used in the formulation of some sun screens. Turmeric
paste is used by Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair.
The Government of Thailand is funding a project to extract and isolate
tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) from turmeric. THCs are colorless compounds
that might have antioxidant and skin lightening properties and might
be used to treat skin inflammations, making these compounds useful
in cosmetics formulations.
Hand Book 8-2”
A Activity (RE)
© 2006, Lanco Spices