At first sight it may seem ginger to you, but it has less intense aroma that is similar to turmeric or mango. This herb is native to Indian subcontinent and some parts of South East Asia. Scientifically, Curcuma zedoaria is also known as white turmeric. Rhizome of this plant is similar to ginger from outside and turmeric inside.
This ancient Asian herb was introduced by Arab traders to Europe. This herb is not widely used these days, even in India for culinary purpose, but finds its use for treating medicinal conditions.
It is used as substitute for arrowroot and also termed as Indian Arrowroot. It is also known by various names across places. Some of them are – Kachoor (urdu), khamin khao (thai), nghệ đen(Vietnamese), kentjur (Indonesia), zedoaire (French), Zitwer German), Zedoaria (Italian), Cedoaria (Spanish), Ambehalad or mango turmeric (Marathi), Krachura (Sanskrit), aam aadaa (Bengali), karppurakkiccilikkilangku (Tamil).
Nutritional value of Zeodary
This herb contains phtyochemicals which offer it peculiar flavor and aroma. These includes curcuminoids and different kinds of sesquiterpenoids, including zederone, curzerenone, curzeone, furanodiene, furanodienone, germacrone, curcumenol, and zedoaronediol. The rhizome bears essential oil known as zedoary oil which includes mainly Curzerenone and zederone and attributes for some medicinal properties of zedoary.
Health benefits of Zedoary
This rhizome is used in Asian traditional folk medicine as antispasmodic, stomach tonic and detoxifying substance. Today anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of zedoary has been identified and attributed for many medicinal uses. Some of the health benefits of zedoary are mentioned here.
Zeodary helpful in stomach disorders
Zedoary stimulates secretion of enzymes in digestive system and improves digestion. It works as carminative by aiding digestion and reducing flatulence. It relives stomach spasms and colic pains. It is useful in treating loss of appetite, indigestion and stomach ulcers. Decoction made by boiling this root in water is drunk before eating to improve digestive system.
Zedoary helps detox
It is believed to aid elimination of toxins from body and thereby purify blood. Decoction made of zedoary is considered helpful in detoxification process and body stimulant.
Zedoary good for spasms
This herb has been traditionally used in treatment of strains and spasms. It is effective in curing abdominal cramps, menstrual cramps, joint pain, strain and joint pain.
Zedoary as anti inflammatory
Zedoary offers anti inflammatory effect and reduces swelling and pain. Combined with anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic property, it is used traditionally to relive strains and spasms. Hot past of white turmeric powder is applied to area of strain and inflammation and covered. It is left overnight to relive swelling and pain.
Zedoary as antioxidant
Curcuma zedoaria contains phytonutrients which are potent antioxidant in nature. It helps remove free radicals in body which are harmful. It protects various organs of body including heart, skin, liver, kidney and brain from damage due to oxidative stress.
Zedoary as antimicrobial
Zedoary is antiseptic in nature. White turmeric paste is applied to wounds and cuts topically. It protects body from attack of infections including bacteria and virus. It is also mild analgesic in nature.
White turmeric for respiratory disorders
Zedoary is effective in treating respiratory disorders like cold, cough, asthma and others. Combined with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties it reduces inflammation in respiratory tract and protects from infections.
Zedoary as aphrodisiac
It has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac agent. Like ginger it is used in treatment of sexual problems including infertility, erectile dysfunction. It is believed to strengthen uterine muscles.
Zedoary for cancer cure
Zedoary contains curcuminoids which are believed to have anticancer properties. Studies suggest that zedoary extract or zedoary essential oil can prevent growth of cancer cells.
Zedoary benefits for women
The herb contains various phytonutrients which are good in regulating menstrual cycle in women. It tones up the reproductive system in women. It is useful in reliving from abdominal cramps common in pre-menstruation period.
Zedoary and treatment of diabetes
Extract of the rhizomes of zedoary offers the anti-hyperglycemic properties. It has been used in folk medicines in treatment and control of diabetes. Research has found that zedoary contains chemicals like curcumin which are anti-diabetic benefits.
Zedoary for Urinary tract disorders
Zedoary decoction has been used in treatment of urinary tract disorders. It offers phytochemcials which are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory in nature.
Skin benefits of Zedoary
It goes without saying that Zedoary offers various benefits for skin. As an antioxidant it helps protect skin from oxidative stress of pollutant and other substances. It works as antiseptic over skin wounds. Zeodary past is used to moisturize skin. It is also useful in reducing skin inflammation and treatment of skin diseases.
Other traditional uses of Zedoary
- It is used in treating fever and regulating body temperature.
- Zeodary oil applied to body can keep mosquitoes away
- Tuber juice is used in treating intestinal worms in children.
- Zedoary leaf juice is used in treatment of dropsy, leprosy
- Rhizome is used in Japan for treatment ‘Oketsu’ syndrome
Uses of Zeodary in Food
Rhizome and young shoots finds its place in cooking. It is also stored in dried powder form. Paste of rhizome is used in various curries, sea food marinate, pickles, soups and salads. Try out this healthy zedoary recipe
Sautee about finely sliced pieces of one large onion and 3-4clove of ginger in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until they are little brown. Then add about ½ tsp of mustard seeds, ½ tsp of cumin seed, ½ tsp of caraway seeds, ½ tsp of ginger paste, 1 tsp of coriander powder and ½ tsp of chilli powder. Sautee well for about 5 minutes. Now add about 250 ml or 1 large cup of coconut milk. Add some salt as per taste and some vinegar. Place around 200 grams of shrimps in mixture, stir well and simmer till shrimps are cooked.Image Credits: Flickr - Vaishali