Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary “healer spice” that spans cultures – it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and gives the American mustard its yellow color.
Turmeric is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. Turmeric’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties also make it great for cleaning and treating wounds, and its anti-inflammatory properties work well against joint pain and arthritis.
Experts believe that turmeric may even have over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic uses and 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects.
Also, a body of evidence is emerging suggesting that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventive agent as well, probably due to its anti-inflammatory action. Turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects!
Turmeric can be easily grown indoors. Turmeric is grown from rhizomes (root cuttings) similar to ginger.
Turmeric does not set seeds.
So all you need to start your home-grown turmeric is one turmeric root which you can find at health stores (Whole Foods or Indian stores).
To grow turmeric indoors, just follow these four simple steps:
- Break a larger rhizome into a small rhizome piece that has two or three buds.
- Fill the pots with rich organic soil, which is lightly moist but well drained. The ideal soil pH should range
from 4.5 to 7.5
- Place it about two inches below the surface of the soil, with the buds facing up.
- Water the container.
And that’s all there is to it!
Turmeric likes water. So try watering it once every two days. Keep the soil moist–but not sopping wet or it will rot. In about a month or so, you should see small sprouts.
TIP FOR FASTER GROWING: In order to stimulate new root growth, you should keep the soil slightly dry between each watering without letting it become bone-dry at any time! Plants naturally send out roots to search for water when conditions become too dry. If you pace watering to once every two days, you can encourage new growth by stimulating this “plant sense”, while still keeping your soil sufficiently moist.
How to harvest turmeric
Turmeric takes between 6 to 10 months for the edible rhizomes to mature. Once the leaves start to wilt and brown, it is time to harvest the plant. Harvesting is quite easy- just pull up the entire plant including the roots. Cut the needed amount off a finger at the edge of the pot and then return the soil. Store turmeric in a dark, cool place.
Turmeric is a perennial herb plant, so it re-shoots every spring. It will continue to produce roots.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet?
One way is via turmeric tea. There are also extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores. You should look for supercritical extracts in dosages between 400 and 600 mg, and take them three times daily or as directed on the product.
And, of course, one can simply indulge in more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. However you do it, adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves toward optimal health you can wish for.