Tumeric (ukon)

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Tumeric, Kurkuma

***** Location: India
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


fresh tumeric, kigo for winter

tumeric powder, non-seasonal topic

Tumeric is called manjal in the South and haldi in the North; it has been used by Indians from time immemorial. Now modern science has woken up to the medicinal value of Haldi [turmeric] claiming it to have great antiseptic properties.
The ancient Indians knew about it and Indian cooking uses it extensively.

Women apply turmeric on their faces even now! A cream called, ‘fair and lovely’ proudly claims to have turmeric and chandan [sandalwood] in its composition. It is supposed to clear the skin of pimples, acne – keeps one looking young!
Most of our Indian dishes use a pinch of dried turmeric powder while cooking.

In Maharashtra – in January we get fresh Turmeric – which looks like a bigger version of ginger . . . and it is used as a vegetable – a whole dish prepared with Haldi!
Fingers get yellow even while cutting! Children hate to eat it and adults know the value of it – so you can easily imagine the mealtime scene!

Kala Ramesh


Turmeric (Curcuma longa/domestica)

Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 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 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.

Origin and Distribution
It is a native of India. Apart from India, it is cultivated in Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, East & West Africa, South Pacific Islands, Malagasy, Caribbean Islands and Central America.
In India, it is cultivated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Turmeric is a tropical crop cultivated from sea level to 1200 meter MSL. It grows in light black, black clayey loams and red soils in irrigated and rainfed conditions. The crop cannot stand water logging or alkalinity.

Turmeric is used to flavour and to colour foodstuffs. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric oleoresin is used in brine pickles and to some extend in mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatins, butter and cheese etc. The colour curcumin extracted from turmeric is used as a colourant.

Turmeric is also used as a dye in 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. The aqueous extracts has biopesticidal properties.

Other names for this plant
Spanish : Curcuma
French : Curcuma
German : Kurkuma Gelbwurzel
Swedish : Gurkmeja
Arabic : Kurkum
Dutch : Geelwortel
Italian : Curcuma
Polish: Ostryż długi, Szafranindyjski; Kłącze kurkumy (turmeric rhizome)
Portuguese : Acafrao-da-India, Açafrão da Índia
Russian : Zholty Imbir Имбирь жёлтый, Имбирь желтый,
Japanese : Ukon
Chinese : Yu.Chin

© indianspices.com

Read more Indian names of this plant here:


Worldwide use


kigo for early autumn

Ukon 鬱金 ウコン, kizomegusa きぞめぐさ
flowers of tumeric, ukon no hana 鬱金の花
kizomegusa きぞめぐさ "yellow dye plant"

It is grown mostly in Okinawa and Kyushu. It is now widely used for medical purposes, we get fresh spring or autumn ukon tablets, which are said to help people who drink a lot of alcohol.
It is also widely used for dyeing in natural colors.

. WASHOKU - Ukon hangover drink -  

Things found on the way


winter evening . . .
fresh salad on the menu
the kid bites into haldi

morning sun. . .
after a face-wash
she comes out glowing

Kala Ramesh


in lieu of saffron
a pinch of turmeric in my pilaf -
autumn sun

- Shared by Sandip Sital Chauhan -
Joys of Japan, 2012

Pilaf (also known as pilau and plov),
is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. In some cases, the rice may also attain its brown color by being stirred with bits of cooked onion, as well as a large mix of spices. Depending on the local cuisine, it may also contain meat and vegetables.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Related words

***** Food from India

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Gabi Greve said...

村上 立身

kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/nsurf/ nsurf41/nsu4109/nsu410926d.htm


Gabi Greve said...

The goddess of turmeric brings color in life
It is the ornament of married woman
And any woman who puts turmeric in her purse,
Her purse will never be empty.

An old Indian folk song

. Tumeric for your Health, By Hilary E. MacGregor .

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