Turmeric – Economic Importance

Turmeric – Economic Importance

Turmeric – Economic Importance

Curcuma longa, Linn (Turmeric) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.

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A family of tropical monocotyledonous plants of the order Zingiberales; an order of flowering plants, division Magnoliophyta, consisting of eight families and about 1800 species. Zingiberales also known as Scitamineae are morphologically well defined and clearly circumscribed in DNA sequences analysis (Hills, 2007). The largest families are Zingiberaceae (700 species), Marantaceae (350 species), Cannaceae (over 40 species), Musaceae (150 species) (Dutta, 2005).

In the Zingiberaceae family, the leaves are distichous with sheathing and distinct ligule. The perianth has segments in whorls, distinguishable into calyx and corolla. The stamens are in 2 whorls- only 1 perfect. The style is slender and passed through the two anther lobes (Dutta, 2005).

The Genus Curcuma consists of about 30 species which includes Curcuma longa (Turmeric), Curcuma aromatica (Wild Turmeric), Curcuma domestica, Curcuma amada (Mango ginger), Alleppey finger, Erode and Salem turmeric, Rajapore and Singh turmeric, Hizamabad Bulb etc. (Dutta, 2005).

The specie Curcuma longa, Linn. (Turmeric), known as golden spice of India Is native to South Asia and have existed for more than 5000 years, India produces 600,000 tons of turmeric annually, which is 75% of world’s production of 800,000 tons. Arabian traders introduced it in Europe in the 13th century, and owned to the recent research that has highlighted it’s therapeutic properties. It became popular in the western cultures and countries as Indonesia, China, Philippine, Taiwan, Haiti and Jamaica joined in the leading commercial producers of turmeric.

Turmeric comes from the roots of Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. This herb has a peppery, warm and bitter flavour and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger to which it is related. The rhizomes or underground stem, have a rough, segmented skin. The length of the main rhizome is approximately 2.5-7cm (1-3 inches) in length with a diameter of 2.5cm (1 inch), with distinct nodes and smaller tubers branching off. The chemical composition indicates that it has starch (40%-50%), protein (6%-10%), fat (4%-8%), fibre(3%-5%), and violet (4%), fixed (7%), oil and ash (3%-7%) (Mehta, et al 1971). In addition, it has several micro nutrients such as carotenes, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and selenium in varying concentration (Gopalan, et al 1989).

Turmeric can be grown in diverse tropical conditions from sea level to 1500m above sea level at a temperature range of 20-30oc with an annual rainfall of 1500mm or more, under the rain fed or irrigated conditions. Thou it can be grown on all types of soil, it thrives best in well drained sandy or clay loam soils. The land is prepared with the receipt of clearly monsoon showers. The soil is brought to a fine tilt by giving about four deep ploughings. Hydrated lime at 400kg/ha has to be applied for laterite soil and thoroughly ploughed. Immediately with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers, beds of 1.0-1.5 width, 15cm height and of convenient length are prepared with spacing of 50cm between beds. Planting is done by forming ridges and furrows. Turmeric being annual crop, can be cultivated organically as an intercrop with other crops provided organic methods of cultivation (Sreeramu, et al 2007). The source of planting material are gotten from properly preserved seed, rhizomes free from pest such as shoot borers (Conogethes punctferatis- the most serious pest of turmeric), rhizomes scale (Aspidella hartii- infects rhizomes in the field). Diseases that infects Turmeric includes leaf blotch, leaf spot and rhizome rot. Diseases such as leaf blotch is caused by Taphrina maculaus and appears as small oval, rectangular or irregular brown spots on either side of the leaves which soon becomes dirty yellow or dark brown; leave spot diseases is caused by Colletetrichum capsici, Rhizome rot is caused by Pythium graminicolum (Sarman, 2001).

Depending on the variety, the crop becomes ready harvest in 7-9 months after planting during January to march. Early varieties mature 7-8 months, medium varieties mature in 8-9 months, and the late varieties mature after 9 months. The land is ploughed and the rhizomes are gathered by hand picking or clumps are carefully lifted with spade. The harvested rhizomes are cleared of mud and other extraneous matter adhering to them. The rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried hot in oven or under direct sunlight, after which they are pilled and then grounded into powder with a deep orange yellow colour.

Economic Importance Of Turmeric

Culinary Purposes Of Turmeric
Turmeric is widely cultivated for its rhizomes which are used as a bright yellow-orange culinary spice.

Turmeric became known as Indian saffron since it is widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice. A yellow spice with a warm and mild flavour and is related to ginger. Modern India cooks employs turmeric liberally. It is added to nearly every dish, be it meat or vegetables. Yellow rice is popular on the eastern islands of Indonesia; it derives its colour from fresh or dried turmeric. Turmeric forms part of several spice mixtures and sauces;

Curcumin, the primary pigment in turmeric is generally used in various food industries as a food colour. It is one of the basic components of the curry powder which is available in markets. In Okinawa Japan, it is popular in drinking tea. It is also used as food preservative in diary products, beverages, cereal, confectionary, ice cream, bakery and savoury products in India and China.

Oleoresin, an extract of turmeric is becoming increasingly important in the developed countries where the food industries have made phenomenal progress. In this form it is free from microbial contamination and therefore readily used in frozen, ready to eat and other conventional foods. Oleoresins are mixture of compound such as volatile oil, non-volatile, fatty and resins materials extractable by solvents (Srimal, et at, 1985).

Medicinal Roles Of Turmeric

Turmeric (curcuma longa.Linn). Is a medicinal plant extensively used in India for Ayurveda, Umami and Siddha medicine and as home remedy for various diseases (Ammon, 1991; Eigner 1999). It is effective on the following organs, the skin, heart, liver and lungs. Turmeric finds medicinal application in anaemia, epilepsy, atherosclerosis, diabetes, oedema, bleeding disorders, haemorrhoids, hepatitis, hysteria, indigestion, inflammation, skin diseases, urinary diseases, wound and bruise healing, psoriasis, anorexia, cough, liver disorder, rheumatism, and sprains. The powdered rhizomes are used. Data are also available showing that the powder when applied as capsule to patient with respiratory diseases gives relief from symptoms like dysporrea, cough and sputum (Jain, et al 1979). A short clinical trial in 18 patients with definite rheumatoid arthritis showed significant improvement in morning stiffness and joint swelling after two weeks of therapy with oral dose of 120mg/day (Sinha et al 1974). Application of powder in combination with other plant products is also reported for purification of blood and for menstrual and abdominal problems (Eigner, et al 1990). In Ayurvedic cooking, turmeric is everywhere, this multifaceted wonder spice helps to detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol levels fights allergies, stimulate digestion, boost immunity enhance the complexion.

In digestion, turmeric is considered as a bitter and carminative substance. It improves digestion, reduces gas and bloating. Turmeric stimulates the bile production in the liver, encouraging excretion of the bile via the gallbladder. This improves the body’s ability to digest fats. For chronic digestion, weakness and congestion, turmeric is recommended. It can be taken as a single extract or in the form of digestive bitters , which combines turmeric with other bitter and carminative herbs.

Turmeric may be helpful in preventing of blockage of arteries that can gradually cause a heart attack or stroke in one or two ways. Turmeric makes cholesterol levels low and inhibited the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol). Oxidized LDL deposits in the blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plague.

Turmeric may also prevent platelets build up along the walls of an injured blood vessel. Platelets collecting at the site of a damaged blood vessels cause clots to form and blockage of the artery as well.

For women who experience monthly menstrual cramps, turmeric is an anti-spasmodic to smooth muscles so it reduces digestive and menstrual cramping thereby reducing the severe pain. Certainly, diet and standard of living have a reflective influence on the menstrual cycle but turmeric is a great addition.

In eye disorder, Curcumin may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids in the uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the sclera- white outer coat of the eye and the retina- the black of the eye) the type of eye disorder.

Turmeric decreases congestion and inflammation from stagnant mucous membranes. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory to the mucous membranes, which coat the throat, lungs, stomach and intestine. Regular use of turmeric can benefit from colitis, Cohn’s disease, diarrhoea, and post salmonella conditions. The itching and inflammation that accompanies haemorrhoids and anal fissures can reduce by the use of turmeric. Turmeric can also benefit skin conditions such as: eczema, psoriasis and acne, for those it is potent detoxifier.

The skin is the main portion of the body and provides a shielding barrier against chemicals, microbes and ultraviolet radiation. Natural plant products like turmeric have been formulated to heal and prevent dry skin, treat skin condition such as retardation of aging process. Washing in turmeric improves skin complexion and also reduces hair on the body.

Curcumin acts as a potent anti-carcinogenic compound. Among various mechanisms, induction of apoptosis plays in important role in its anti-carcinogenic effect (Chen, 1998). Note that carcinogenesis induced by chemical involves the separate and independent processes of initiation promotion and progression caused by damage in the DNA followed by epigenetic promotional events, which through progress in manifest as cancer (Soudamin, 1989).

Curcumin induces apoptosis and inhibits cell-cycle progressions both of which are instrumental in preventing cancerous cell growth in smooth muscle cells (Chen, 1998).

Industrial Roles Of Turmeric

Since time immemorial, turmeric is very popular in cosmetic industries especially for women. The sin is the main portion of the main portion of the body

Religious Purposes Of Turmeric

Turmeric is used in different parts of the world for ritual and ceremonial purposes especially in India where it is worn by Hindu women as the ‘bindi’ dot on the forehead, at the point of the third eye.

Furthermore, Turmeric generates good income in the commercial market for countries that produce it in quantities such as India.

Turmeric – Economic Importance

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