Turmeric / Curcuma longa L is an ancient and sacred spice in India and is also called the Indian saffron. The other names of turmeric are Haldi, Halud, Pitras, Haldhar, Arishia, Halad, Manjal, Halede, Haldil, Haldar, Haladi, Pasupu etc. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is an herbaceous, perennial plant. Indian turmeric is considered the best in the world due to its high Curcumin content.
Turmeric is a boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizome. The plant is about 60 – 90 cm high and has a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 – 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo-stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30 – 40 cm and width 8 – 12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10 – 15 cm length. 1 – 4 flowers are born in the axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Seeds are produced in capsules and there will be one to numerous sunken capsules in an inflorescence.
The plant is propagated from rhizomes. The leaves are long, broad, lanceolate and bright green. The flowers are pale yellow and borne on dense spikes. The pseudo-stems are shorter than leaves. The rhizomes are ready for harvesting in about 7 to 9 months after planting. The different varieties of haldi are CO1, BSR1, Suguna, Suvarna, Sudharshana, Krishna, Sugundham, Roma, Suroma, Rajendra Sonia, Ranga, and Rasmi.
Turmeric is a tropical crop cultivated from sea level to 1200 meter MSL. It grows in light black, black clay loams and red soils in irrigated and rainfed conditions. The crop cannot stand water-logging or alkalinity. Turmeric is used to flavor and color food. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder and turmeric powder. The color extracted from turmeric is used as a colorant. Turmeric is also used as a dye in the textile industry. It is used in the preparation of medicinal oils, ointments, and poultice. It is stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier, and an antiseptic. It is used in cosmetics as well. The aqueous extracts have bio-pesticide properties.
Most Indian states produce turmeric such as AP (leading state), Maharashtra, TN, Orissa, Kerala, WB, Gujarat, Tripura, UP, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar, Rajasthan, etc. It has anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. Kumkum, popular with every housewife, is also a by-product of turmeric. It finds a place in offerings on religious and ceremonial occasions. A type of starch is also being extracted from a particular type of turmeric. It is used as a home remedy in most households in India such as to reduce infections and is sometimes applied directly to external injuries as well as it helps fight infections and germs.
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Process of growing Turmeric
⦁ Climatic conditions
Turmeric is available in two seasons in India, namely Feb – May and Aug – Oct. Turmeric requires a warm and humid climate. It can be grown in diverse tropical conditions from sea level to 1500 mm above MSL within a temperature range of 20 – 30 °C. It requires a rainfall of 1500 mm or more per annum or under irrigated conditions.
⦁ Seed rate, spacing, soil type, land preparation, irrigation
Turmeric is propagated through rhizomes and small pits are made with a hand hoe in beds with spacing 25 cm x 30 cm. It is then covered with soil or dry powdered cattle manure. The spacing between furrows and ridges is about 45 – 60 cm between rows and 25 cm between plants. Seed rate is normally 2500 kg/ha of rhizomes. Use only good quality rhizomes that are free from diseases and pests.
Test the soil before cultivating. Turmeric thrives well in different types of soils such as light black loam, red soil, clay loam, etc. Rich loamy soils are having natural drainage and irrigation facilities are the best suited. Turmeric cannot tolerate water stagnation or alkalinity. Turmeric can be cultivated organically as an intercrop along with other crops provided that all the companion crops are also organically grown. In some areas, turmeric is grown as an intercrop with mango, jackfruit and litchi and on the west coast with coconut and arecanut. Often castor and pigeon pea are planted on the borders and on irrigation channels to provide shade.
Turmeric is grown in rotation with sugarcane, chili, onion, garlic, elephant foot yam, vegetables, pulses, wheat, ragi and maize. It is cultivated as a subsidiary crop to ginger in some areas and other areas with chili and quick-growing vegetables. In order to cultivate turmeric organically a buffer zone of 25 – 50 feet must be maintained. Being an annual crop, turmeric requires a conversion period of two years.
While preparing the land, minimum tillage operations are carried out. Beds of 15 cm height, 1 m width and of convenient length may be prepared to give at least 50 cm spacing between beds. In the case of the irrigated crop, ridges and furrows are prepared and the rhizomes are planted in shallow pits on the top of the ridges.
Solarisation of beds is beneficial in checking the multiplication of pests and diseases causing organisms. The polythene sheets used for soil solarization should be kept away safely after the work is completed. At the time of planting 25 g powdered neem cake mixed well with soil is applied in each pit.
Farmyard manure @ 10 t/ha is applied as a basal dressing. Beds are earthed up each time after top dressing. The NPK recommendation is 125:37:37 kg per ha. Whole Phosphorus (P) and Potash (K2O) is given as basal dose at the time planting while Nitrogen (N) is applied as 2 5kg each at basal, 30,60,90 and 120 days after planting – 125 kg N.
Mulching the beds with green leaves is an important practice beneficial to this crop when planting is done on raised beds. This helps enhance germination of seed rhizomes, prevents wash-off of soil due to heavy rains, adds organic matter to the soil and conserves moisture during the dry period. Care may be taken to include a mix of leguminous crops with leaves rich in nitrogen content, phosphorus content like Acalypha weed and potassium content like Calotropis as mulch. The first mulching is to be done at the time of planting with green leaves @ 4-5 tons/acre. It is to be repeated again @ 2 tons/acre on the 50th day after planting. Cow dung slurry may be poured on the bed after each mulching to enhance microbial activity and nutrient availability. Weeding may be carried out depending on the intensity of weed growth. Such materials may be used for mulching.
Proper drainage channels are to be provided in the inter-rows to drain off the stagnant water. Turmeric needs heavy manure. Application of well rotten cow dung or compost from own farm @ 2-3 ton/acre may be given as basal dose while planting rhizomes in the pits. In addition, application of neem cake @ 0.8 ton/ acre is also desirable.
Irrigation depends on the soil type and climatic conditions of the region. 15 – 25 irrigations are carried out in medium heavy soils and in case of light and red soils about 35 – 40 irrigations are carried out. Moisture stress affects the plant growth, especially during rhizome bulking stage.
⦁ Weed management and pest control
The underlying approach for pest and disease management under organic production is based on a range of preventive and other management strategies to minimize the incidence of pests and diseases. Regular field surveillance, adoption of phytosanitary measures combined with understanding the life cycles of both pest and its predators will allow decisions to be made regarding the need to intervene in managing the pest population.
Mulching and intercultural operations as mentioned above are carried out to check weeds, pests and diseases.
If shoot borer incidence is noticed, such shoots may be cut open and larvae picked out and destroyed. If necessary neem oil 0.5% may be sprayed at fortnightly intervals.
Leaf spot and leaf blotch can be controlled by restricted use of Bordeaux mixture 1%.
Application of Trichoderma at the time of planting can check the incidence of rhizome rot.
Rhizome scale may be controlled by dipping the rhizomes in Quinalphos 0.1% twice prior to storage and sowing.
Drench the soil with 0.3% Dithane M-45. Dip rhizomes in the same chemical solution for
Nematodes can be controlled by applying aldicarb or carbofuran granules at 1kg/ha to the soil
Harvesting is usually done in March – April. The crop has to be harvested at the right maturity and is ready for harvesting in about 7 – 9 months after sowing depending upon the variety. The aromatic types mature in about 7 months, the intermediate types in about 8 months and the late types in about 9 months. Usually, the land is plowed and the rhizomes are gathered by hand picking or the clumps are carefully lifted with a spade. Harvested rhizomes are cleaned of mud and other extraneous matter adhering to them. The average yield per acre is 8 – 10 tons of green turmeric. Fingers are separated from mother rhizomes. Mother rhizomes are usually kept as seed material. The green turmeric is cured for obtaining dry turmeric.
Curing involves boiling rhizomes in fresh water and drying in the sun. No chemical should be used for processing. The cleaned rhizomes are boiled in copper or galvanized iron or earthen vessels, with water just enough to soak them. Boil till the fingers/mother rhizomes become soft. The cooked turmeric is taken out of the pan by lifting the troughs and draining the water into the pan itself. The same hot water in the pan can be used for boiling the next lot of raw turmeric which is already filled in the troughs.
The cooking of turmeric is to be done within 2 – 3 days after harvest. 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°C can also be adopted. In case of sliced turmeric, artificial drying has a clear advantage giving brighter colored product than sun drying which tends to suffer from surface bleaching. The recovery of the dry product varies from 20-25% depending upon the variety and the location where the crop is grown. Dried turmeric has a poor appearance and rough, dull color outside the surface with scales and root bits. Smoothening and polishing the outer surface by manual or mechanical rubbing improves the appearance. Manual polishing consists of rubbing the dried turmeric fingers on a hard surface.
Preservation of seed rhizomes for seed is generally heaped under the shade of trees or in well-ventilated sheds and covered with turmeric leaves. Sometimes, the heap is plastered over with earth mixed with cow dung. The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with sawdust. The pits can be covered with wooden planks with one or two holes for aeration.
The yield of the pure crop varies from 8000 – 10000 kg/acre. Under exceptionally favorable conditions, it may be as high as 12000 kg/acre.
⦁ Benefits of turmeric
⦁ Turmeric contains curcumin that makes it so special and it is called the Indian saffron
⦁ It is a sacred spice in India and used for religious purposes
⦁ It is a great antioxidant and has antibacterial properties too
⦁ It is used as a home remedy to treat common colds by using with milk and pepper
⦁ It is used as a home remedy for minor burns and injuries by applying directly to the skin
⦁ It is used as a home remedy for reducing pimples and acne by applying directly on skin after making a paste with water
⦁ It is used as a home remedy for reducing hair growth by mixing with water and gram flour powder
⦁ It is used as a face pack
⦁ Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties
⦁ Turmeric contains curcumin that is an anti-inflammatory compound
⦁ Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
⦁ Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor that improves brain function and lowers the risk of brain diseases
⦁ Curcumin lowers the risk of heart diseases
⦁ Turmeric helps prevent cancer
⦁ It is useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
⦁ It is given as a supplement to patients suffering from arthritis
⦁ It helps fight depression
⦁ It helps delay aging process and fights age-related chronic diseases
⦁ Nutritional value of turmeric
As per Wikipedia
Below table as per 100 gm of turmeric
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10 g 15%
Saturated fat 3.1 g 15%
Polyunsaturated fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 38 mg 1%
Potassium 2,525 mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 65 g 21%
Dietary fiber 21 g 84%
Sugar 3.2 g
Protein 8 g 16%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 43%
Calcium 18% Iron 230%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 90%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 48%