Curcuma aromatica, the source of Wild Turmeric, is one of the species related to common or yellow turmeric (Curcuma longa) . It is known as Wild Turmeric or Musk Turmeric and some of the local names are Vana Haridra, Kasturi Manjal, or Pasuppu
In the Curcuma family, it is the second most common species cultivated for its rhizomes. This species is rich in volatile oil compounds.
Wild Turmeric contains curcumin and volatile oils. It contains alpha-curcumene (ar-curcumene), beta curcumene, d-camphor, alpha and beta-turmerone.
Camphene and camphor are also present in the spice and is the reason this rhizome has a distinct camphoraceoius aroma and also the reason it is calssified as Curcuma aromatica.
Other constituents in the spice are alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, 1,8-cineol, isofurano-germacrene, borneol, isoborneol, beta-curcumene, ar-curcumene, xanthorrhizol, germacrone and curzerenone.
Curcuma aromatica has a lower concentration of curcuminoids than the rather more common Curcuma longa.
Traditional Uses for Turmeric:-
Turmeric (coded as E100 when used as a food additive) is used in product systems that are packaged to protect them from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for oil-containing products. The curcumin/polysorbate solution or curcumin powder dissolved in alcohol is used for water containing products. Over-colouring, such as in pickles, relishes and mustard, is sometimes used to compensate for fading.
Turmeric has found application in tinned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatines, direct compression tablets, etc.
In combination with Annatto (E160b) it has been used to colour cheeses, dry mixes, salad dressings, butter and margarine.
Also found in Momos (Nepali meat dumplings) which are a traditional dish in South Asia.
Turmeric is well known for its anti inflammatory properties all over the middle and far east where it is often made into a milky drink used in the control of painful joints. It is becoming more widely recognised and used in the west.
Take one pint of milk and add three heaped teaspoons of ground turmeric, one heaped teaspoon of ground ginger and, if desired, one teaspoon of your favourite tea for flavour. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add sugar or honey to taste (it benefits from the sweetness) and drink at least one cup a day.
This is one of those drinks that is often known as “stretched” meaning that the final mixture is poured from a great height from one container to another a few times in order to froth it and to aerate it as in North African Mint tea where you see the maker pouring it from one container to another, making a great show and at some speed. It is said to improve the tea by concentrating the flavour.