Curcuma longa – Turmeric or Haldi

 

Turmeric is really a bulb or tuber (rhizome) not unlike ginger. This underground stem is usually available as yellow powdered condiment in stores. The yellowish-brown underground stem has a deep orange inside that turns bright yellow once processed. To turn it into fine powder used in kitchens, the bulbous stems are boiled for 30–45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens after which they get ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder.

Turmeric is a traditional spice used since times immemorial in the Indian subcontinent. Its main component is curcumin that has medicinal properties. So besides being used to color food it also lends medicinal additives to our dishes. Curcuma longa the plant offers its roots for the wonderful and aromatic spice that flavors our curries with its distinctive indescribable taste that may at best be described as mildly peppery.

The chemical compounds of turmeric known as curcuminoids include curcumin diferuloylmethane, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. The most minutely studied compound remains curcumin which constitutes on average about 3.14% of powdered turmeric. However there are variations in curcumin content depending on species of Curcuma longa. Additionally  turmeric has important volatile oils like turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberene. Other general components include sugars, proteins, and resins.

Turmeric is largely used in the form of rhizome powder. In some regions, especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan, and Andhra Pradesh turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. This happens around areas where turmeric is grown and where leaves can be freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart their distinct flavor. Typically the root is used in its dried, powdered form. Often turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger, especially in East Asian cuisine in the form of pickles.

In medieval Europe turmeric was commonly known as Indian saffron since it became an alternative to the expensive saffron. Although in India it is readily available even so the powdered form may be subject to adulteration. It may include toxic, cheaper agents similar in color like lead (II, IV) oxide that gives adulterated turmeric its orange-red color instead of original gold-yellow. Another common adulterant could be metanil yellow or acid yellow 36 that is an illegal dye used in foods.

Turmeric is often known as the Queen of Spices. Its distinct aroma and golden color is loved by true gourmands. As per the Journal of American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains many healthy nutrients like protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. It is said turmeric can inherently treat a wide variety of health problems.

Here are ten best known benefits of Turmeric:

  • Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds with Powerful Medicinal Properties.
  • Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound.
  • Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body.
  • Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases.
  • Curcumin Leads to Various Improvements that Lower Risk of Heart Disease
  • Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer.
  • Curcumin May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplementation.
  • Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits against Depression.
  • Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases

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HERD Organic Farms Chargaon

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Two years back Herd Organic Farms began cultivating and producing organic produce. Looking to the fact that organic agri-produce needed a shot in the arm to boost both adoption of cultivation practices and adaption to modify eating habits, HERD Organic Farms at Chargaon became part of the revival of traditional agricultural practices, to revert back to as they were prior to advent of chemical fertilizers.

The organic agriculture scene today may not be exploding with organic produce but its demand and popularity is certainly rising steadily. More and more people are getting into the organic food fold and they do so because it is safer, healthier and tastier. Additionally it is better for the environment too – for the soil, land, water and the well-being of animals.

Organic food actually focuses on the process of how such crops are produced. They are grown without the use of artificial chemicals, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms. And to be recognized as organic a product must be free of artificial food additives, so no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, or flavoring. In fact organic farming grows crops using natural fertilizers like home grown manure to improve plant growth. The pesticides used for weeds or pests are also non-chemical. Organic farming improves soil quality, conserves groundwater, reduces pollution and is good for the environment.

Commonly grown organic foods include variety of fruits and vegetables, grains and more. Nowadays you may even buy processed organic products that are increasingly being made available by a growing organic producer’s community. HERD Organic Farms produces organic turmeric and sells it after careful packaging. The medicinal qualities of turmeric are well known and grown organically the processed product becomes more beneficial.

Evidence suggests foods grown organically are more nutritious since they contain plentiful antioxidants and vitamins. Study after study has proved that organic foods generally contain higher levels of micronutrients like vitamin C, zinc and iron. In fact, it is said antioxidant levels can be up to 55% higher in these foods! In fact many varieties of organically grown fruits and vegetables contained over 50% more antioxidants and higher amounts of vitamin C.

So if one replaces regular fruits and vegetables with organic fruits and vegetables they derive extra antioxidants in their diet. This would be like eating 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables! Since organic plants are not dependent on chemical pesticides to safeguard them they produce more of their own protective compounds or antioxidants. This explains their higher levels of antioxidants.

Of course nutrient content may vary even in organic produce depending on varied factors like soil quality, weather conditions and time of harvest. Evidence suggests that consuming these foods reduces exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Many people therefore choose to eat organic for this reason alone, and that is to avoid artificial chemicals.

HERD Organic Farms is convinced that we need to act as a motivating agent to inspire rural farmers to take up organic farming practice. We hope to set an example in the rural region that growing organic foods is ultimately good for all. As more people demand organic food this will produce a domino effect to alter the economics and most certainly make it a profitable venture, in good time.

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