We all know the spice and that unmistakable colour, but are you aware of the health benefits of this remarkable plant? Turmeric must be one of my favourite herbs if I were to choose a handful and with good reason. Besides being a lovely spice and flavour addition to curries this plant has been thoroughly researched over the past few decades with remarkable results. The yellow pigment in the tuber is the main active ingredient called curcumin. This compound has been found an effective immune stimulant, a remarkable anti inflammatory as well as antimicrobial, it helps lower cholesterol, eases nausea and it improves blood circulation. Recent research has focused on its anti-cancer properties with good results thus far, it is recommended to take it daily if you have a family history of cancer. Another study has proved a turmeric extract to be almost s effective as Prozac in the treatment of depression. This plant truly deserves a place in every garden and it should be used more often if not daily.
Growing turmeric has always been a rewarding experience for me with my first plant grown in a pot and breaking that pot later that season. The tubers sprout late in summer, around October and grow into majestic plants about 1 meter high. It feeds vigorously to swell up those tubers, so they will need fertile soil with lots of compost and frequent feeding. It is a tropical plant and needs regular watering without ever letting it dry out for long periods. Humidity also improves growth and the leaves will die down in winter. Cover the soil with a thick layer of organic material during winter to protect the tubers against frost.