Published On: Sat, Apr 6th, 2013

Turmeric : Chemical Constituents, Properties, Uses and Synonyms

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Turmeric Buds


Morphology and Distribution of Turmeric:

Turmeric is a perennial herb which grows to a height of 2-3 feet and consists of the dried as well as fresh rhizomes of the plant, Curcuma longa belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. It has short stem and tufted leaves. Turmeric is known to people by other names like Indian saffron, Curcuma, Haridra and Haldi. Turmeric rhizomes are yellowish brown in colour with slightly bitter taste and characteristic odour.

Cultivation of Turmeric:

Turmeric is cultivated in in the states of , Andhra Pradesh, . The Turmeric which is cultivated in Kerala is of high quality and is exported on large scale. Curcuma is a genus of about 70 species of rhizomatous herbs which are distributed in South East Asia, India, China, Thailand, , , Archipelago and North Australia. It is also cultivated in Sri Lanka, , Jamaica and .

Commercially Important Turmeric Varieties:

The species which are having commercial importance are Curcuma amada, Curcuma angustifolia, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma caesia, Curcuma zedoaria and Curcuma longa. Rhizomes are having commercial significance. These rhizomes are harvested, collected, cooked, dried and then processed for obtaining powder, oleo resin and curcumin. The powder is extracted by the use of solvents or water. High yielding curcumin varieties have been developed by the use of tissue culture techniques. Clonal propagation have been developed for Curcuma longa.

Medicinal benefits and Properties of Turmeric:

Curcuma longa is having more medicinal values because of its uses like

  • Spice
  • Condiment
  • Antiseptic in bruises
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Sprains
  • Natural dye stuff for dyeing wool and silk
  • Curcuminoids isolated from the ethyl acetate extract of turmeric have HIV-1 and HIV-2 protease inhibitory activity.
  • Colouring agent for ointments and creams.
  • Chemically turmeric is used for the detection of the boric acid.

Curcuma aromatica has antiarthritic activity.

  • It is used as antiarthritic agent.
  • It is also used in treatment of cervical cancer in China
Turmeric powder 薑黃粉

Turmeric powder

Chemical constituents of Turmeric:

Turmeric contains volatile oil, resin, many zingiberaceous starch grains. Turmeric contains curcuminoids which gives yellow colour to the drug. The main constituent of the curcuminoids is curcumin. The components of the volatile oil are mono and sesquiterpenes like alpha and beta pinene, alpha phellandrene, camphor, camphene, zingiberene, alpha and beta curcumenes. Curcuma amada is a common substitute for turmeric.

Synonyms of Turmeric in various languages

  • Bengali – Halud
  • Gujrati – Halada
  • Hindi – Haldi
  • Kannada – Arishina
  • Marathi – Halad
  • Sanskrit – Haldi, Haridra
  • Tamil – Manjal
  • Telugu – Pasupu
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