Black turmeric (Curcuma caesia) also known as Black zedoary or Kali haldi is a perennial herb with bluish-purple rhizome. Found in the North East India and Madya Pradesh regions, it is a powerful, medicinal plant with some amazing health benefits. Usually sold in fresh and dried forms, unfortunately it is still a rare and expensive root. Good news though – if you live in a warm climate or have the right conditions, you can grow your own, and if you feel too lazy for that, you can always order Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength. In this article we will discuss the benefits of this less-known plant, so let’s dive in into its amazing health benefits.
Health benefits of black turmeric
Curcuma caesia is related to both ginger and yellow turmeric. Although still lacking in thorough research, initial animal studies have shown promising health benefits, some of which include:
Black turmeric, just like yellow turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help improve arthritis, muscle and joint pain, lower inflammation in the gut and provide better digestion. It is usually used in dried form, added to various dishes or in fresh form, added to tea or blended into smoothies.
This bluish-purple plant contains the highest concentration of curcumin. Curcumin is known for its healing and antifungal properties. Curcumin is the bright yellow chemical compound found in many species of the ginger family. It is advised to mix curcumin with black pepper in order to improve its bio-availability.
Turmeric also shows promising results in being a natural anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant. It may reduce the severity of epileptic fits and help induce muscle relaxation.
Extracts from both yellow and black turmeric possess analgesic properties and can help reduce both acute and chronic pain especially muscle and joint pain. It can help reduce the severity of arthritis, as well as help reduce the pain induced by sore muscles.
Turmeric is also a great antibacterial plant that can help reduce the number of “bad” bacteria in the body, especially in the gut, therefore it can improve digestion and reduce bloating.
Black zedoary may provide broncho-dilating activity and animal studies showed promising effects in reducing histamine induced bronchospasms.
Kali haldi can help improve the functions of the immune system thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may help reduce oxidative stress and reduce the effects and duration of both the common cold and seasonal flu.
Taste and medicinal value
The rhizomes of the herb are often used to reduce the effects of cold, fever, muscle spasm, cough and various inflammations throughout the body. Turmeric has a spicy, pungent taste and a sweet smell thanks to the presence of essential oils and over 30 components as well as terpenoids, flavonoids, steroids, and alkaloids as major constituents.
The cultivation process is similar to that of yellow turmeric. Planting takes place around June/July and it is advised to water the rhizomes 2-3 times a week in the beginning stages and less in the latter stages. After approximately 8 months the root is ready for harvest. The rhizomes are washed and placed in cauldrons then boiled for around 30 minutes and when the water content is reduced to around one-third of the original amount, they are dried for around 10-15 days, ideally in the hot sun.
Ethnic and cultural uses
Crushed turmeric has long been used as a natural antidote to snake, scorpion and spider bites across India. It is also used in religious rituals such as the sacred ceremony for the Goddess Kali, hence the alternative name Kali haldi. Another fact worth mentioning is that the plant is believed to bring abundance, prosperity and protection. The blue root is also believed to ward off evil spirits and it is commonly carried in pockets or medicine bags.
Questions and Answers about Black turmeric
Is it illegal?
Yes and no. The plant has been listed as an endangered species by the Indian Agricultural Department but it can still be found at various markets across India.
Is it edible?
Just like yellow turmeric, this mesmerizing root is edible and can be used in both fresh and dried forms. It can be added to health boosting smoothies along with ginger, lemon, greens, apples, raspberries, bananas or any other fruit or veg of your choice. Making tea is also a great way to consume this medicinal plant.
What is it used for?
As mentioned before, it is a great anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial and immune boosting plant that can provide relief with various ailments including indigestion, asthma, arthritis, muscle pain and migraines.
How to grow it?
It can be grown in high quality soil and a warm climate. Plough the soil before sowing and once it’s brittle, plant the turmeric rhizomes. The plant should be watered 2-3 times a week in the beginning stages and once a week in subsequent weeks. Roots are ready for harvest after 7-8 months. Let dry in a warm spot for around 10-15 days.
Is it good for diabetes?
Turmeric may lower blood glucose levels although more studies are needed. When mixed with black pepper, it can reduce blood vessel damage induced by diabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Is it good for arthritis?
Yellow turmeric has long been used as a natural treatment for arthritis, therefore it is believed that it has similar properties in reducing the effects of this disease.
Can it help with weight loss?
It is still unclear whether it can help with weight loss and more studies are needed to provide additional information regarding this topic.
Black turmeric is certainly growing in popularity, despite the fact that it is a rare root, thanks to its amazing health benefits. Even though it is not readily available, unless you live in India, we suggest growing your own and incorporating it into your diet especially in the winter months and during flu season.
Have you ever tried this powerful root? Or maybe you’re in the process of growing your own. We would love to know your thoughts, so feel free to share them in the comments down below.