Nutritional and Medicinal Values of Turmeric

Turmeric (curcuma longa Linn) is a monocotyledonous plant belonging to the family Zingiberaceae and consists of many species.  

Turmeric is a shallow-rooted crop and an herbaceous plant with thick and fleshy rhizomes. Its origin has been traced to south and southern Asia. Turmeric is a cross-pollinated, triploid species which can be vegetatively  propagated using its underground rhizomes. Here are about 76 cultivars of turmeric in the germplasm of the NRCRI, Umudike. Ten out of these are being evaluated on multlocational trial. Theyare:NCL41, NCL58, NCL39, NCL14, NCL52, NCL04, NCL25, NCL60 and NCL36. Turmeric has often been viewed as irrelevant and uneconomic solutions to global nutritional problems.

Nutritional Constituents of Turmeric

Proximate analysis of turmeric rhizomes indicated that it contained: moisture (8.6%), crude protein (14%), crude fiber (8.63%), fat (3.82%), total ash (6.97%) and starch (57%).

Economic Importance of Turmeric

  • Turmeric as Food

Turmeric is an important commercial spice in savory dishes and sweet dishes such as: cake, coconut jiggery and in baked products, ice cream, yogurt, orange juice, biscuits, sweets etc. it is a significant ingredient in commercial curry powder. As an anti-oxidant, turmeric has been found to be eight times better than vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation. It is anti-inflammatory and dissolves blood clots. It is anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, bio-protective and chemo-protective for the liver and kidneys. It is used to relieve menstrual pains. It aids digestive health and assists in the proper functioning of the liver and gall bladder. It is used to treat malignant ulcers. The leaves are used for wrapping cola-nut and other things. It contains health benefiting essential oils such as termerone, curlone, curumene, cineole, and p-cymene. All these revelations about the potentials of turmeric make it a good crop for development of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, or food ingredients with functional properties.

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  • Turmeric as Medicine

Turmeric is a tuber crop of high economic and medicinal significance. Turmeric is used as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments and in treatment of skin diseases such as eczema, chicken pox and scabies. Turmeric is also used in traditional and modern medicines. It has been a centre of attraction for potential treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s illness. As an anti-oxidant, turmeric has been found to be eight times better than vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation. It is anti-inflammatory and dissolves blood clots. It is anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, bio-protective and chemo-protective for the liver and kidneys. It is used to relieve menstrual pains. It aids digestive health and assists in the proper functioning of the liver and gall bladder. It is used to treat malignant ulcers. The leaves are used for wrapping cola-nut and other things. It contains health benefiting essential oils such as termerone, curlone, curumene, cineole, and p-cymene. Turmeric is efficiently used in the treatment of circulatory problems, liver diseases, dermatological disorders and blood purification

  • Turmeric as Cosmetics

On account of its flavour and medicinal properties, turmeric is also used in the preparation of cosmetics, soaps, ointments, face cream, toothpastes etc.

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