Curcuma longa

Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae)

(2n = 32, 42, 62, 64)

Syn : Curcuma domestica Val.

English name: Turmeric.

Sanskrit name: Haridra.

Vernacular names: Asm : Holodhi; Ben: Halud; Guj : Halada; Hin : Haldi; Kan : Arisina; Kon : Holldi, Ghor hollad; Mal: Manjella-kua; Mar: Halede; Mun : Hatu sasang, Sasang; Orn: Balka; Ori : Haladi; Sad: Haldi; San: Oerel sasan; Tam: Manjal; Tel: Pasupu.

Trade name: Haldi.

Traditional use: ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH AND ASSAM: Rhizome: in migrain; SANTALS : (i) Rhizome: in hazy vision, inflammation of eye, night blindness, subnormal temperature after fever, spleen consumption, Basli rog (pain similar to rheumatism), rheumatism due to draught, lock-jaw, Rosbi (stealth convulsions with indistinct speech), chronic scabies, sores and curbuncles, infantile atrophy, indigestion, prolapsus ani and fistula ani, bronchitis, cough and cold, puerperal fever; (ii) Extract of Rhizome: in rhagades; (iii) Bulb: in drying up of lactation; (iv) Flower: in cholera, sores in throat, syphilis; (v) Dried Flower: in icterus; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF RANCHI and HAZARIBAGH(Bihar): (i) Leaf: in cold, fever, pneumonia; GARHWALI: Rhizome: in pimples and feckles on face, wounds, leprosy; KUMAONI : Rhizome: in cough, insect stings, wounds; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana) : Rhizome: in body pain, headache; TRIBES OF ARAKU VALLEY (Andhra Pradesh) : Rhizome: as anthelmintic..

RIGVEDA : Rhizome: improves body complexion and apetite; YAJURVEDA : Rhizome: is a blood-purifier, improves body complexion; CHARAKA SAMHITA : laxative, useful in leprosyand against contaminuos microbes; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : digestive; AYURVEDA : Rhizome: effective against bacterial infection, skin diseases, intestinal worms, liver complaints, stammering, filaria, asthma, sprain, boils, wounds, conjuctivitis, thirst due to phlegm, allergic reactions, against leeches, .minor ingredient of a drug for malarial fever.

SIDDHA : Rhizome: ingredient of Kappu mancal, Manchal.

UNANI : ingredient of 'Majnoor-e-falsfa', useful in gastrointestinal complaints; Powder of rhizome: used as antifertility agent.

Modern use: Rhizome: ingredient of 'Geriforte'-effective in senile pruritis, Vitafix -useful in premature ejaculation, insect repellent against houseflies, insecticide, antifungal; EtOH (50%) extract of rhizome: antiprotozoal, spasmolytic, hypotensive, Central Nervous System depressant; daily consumption of 1 gm raw rhizome helps to fight decaying metabolism and thus prevents cancer; Essential oil from rhizome: anti­arthritic, antifungal,. anti-inflammatory, antibacterial.

Phytography : Herb with large ovoid rootstock, sessile tubers thick, cylindric, bright yellow inside; petiole 60 cm long, green, 30-45 cm by 10-20 cm; peduncle 15 cm or more long, hidden by sheathing petiole, spikes 10-15 cm, about 5 cm in diameter; bracts pale green, ovate, about 3.7 cm long, those of the coma pale pink; flowers yellow, as long as the bracts.

Phenology: Flowering: Autumn.

Distribution: Indigenous to Paresnath (Bihar); widely cultivated in West Bengal and other parts of India; Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Ecology and cultivation: Tropical plant; cultivated throughout the tropics. Chemical contents: Essential oil from rhizome: curcumin.

Remarks: In Hawaii, rhizome is used against growth of nostrils, for cleaning blood and as gargle; green rhizome is given for whooping and other coughs. In Sri Lanka, Rhizome paste is used in skeletal fracture. Extensive research is being carried out on the nutritional and medicinal value of this plant.