Curcuma amada: A California Grown Variety of Turmeric

Wild Turmeric (Curcuma aromatica) is acclaimed for its medicinal and delicacy in cuisine around the world. Ayurvedic medicine calls Turmeric one of the most medicinally beneficial plants available. Research has shown it can treat arthritis, help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, inhibit viral infections, inhibit cancer, lichen planus in addition to aiding other conditions.

Wild turmeric Curcuma aromatica has many health benefits.
Curcuma aromatica

This article will discuss a unique variety of Wild Turmeric being grown in California. Some of the plant’s history, constituents, growing practices and localities, pungency, and recipes are discussed by master herbalist Paul Gaylon.

Curcuma aromatica (aka Amada)

As part of American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the turmeric grown at Whiskey Hill Farms in Watsonville, California was analyzed by a Swiss laboratory for full identity testing.

Curcuma amada” (family Zingiberaceae) was the variety identified for this part of the AHP turmeric monograph. Samples of fresh roots and fluid extracts were provided so that a full profile could be analyzed.

Curcuma amada is widely grown ranging from Tamil Nadu in the south of India and up the east coast to West Bengal (known as wild turmeric) to Bangladesh and into Burma. It is also grown in southeast India from Kerala to Gujarat. In the north, it is found in Utter Pradesh and in the Himalayan foothills. Throughout Southeast Asia, there are many varieties and colors of turmeric. Wild turmeric can grow in close proximity to cultivated turmeric.

The taste of fresh turmeric root is slightly bitter, sweet and sour with a pungent overall characteristic. The nourishing root contains most of the taste range. If it used with a little black pepper and Krystal (Himalayan)l salt, it contains all five tastes and is fully activated.

Turmeric root freshly harvested.
Freshly harvested turmeric root. Copyright Paul Gaylon

Historically, the Pali language of India speaks of the aromatic properties of the Curcuma Amada. This was known as the “Mango Ginger” or Curcuma Mangga. It has the smell of the green mango fruit and the juicy qualities of ripe mangos. Aromatic compounds include curcumin, alpha & beta pinene, beta-ocimene, linalool and other aromatic compounds..

It is a popular food ingredient all over S. E. Asia with each country having their own fresh special preparations, specially in curry dishes, savory sauces, pungent pastes, juices, salad dressings and condiments. The carminative and digestive properties of turmeric enhance foods such as chutneys and pickles, which are so popular throughout India. Curcuma aromatica (Amada) delivers a lot of juice with less fiber.

Tracing the origin of Curcuma amada and its connection to Curcuma aromatica, the origin of Amada is as follows:

  • In Spanish, Amada means “beloved”
  • In Sanskrit, Amada means “bright, active”
  • In the Pali language (India/Thailand), Amada means “worthy of being loved”
  • In Arabic, Amada means “peace, humility”

The Latin plant name, Curcuma amada, was developed through folkloric usage. As is evident now, the original name, Aromatica, is very appropriate. The robust characteristics of Indian cuisine brings forth the pungent and aromatic qualities of Curcuma aromatica (Amada).

This beloved treasure from the spirit creator reflects a worthy plant with golden roots, bright green leaves, and white flowers. It is loved by many people. The Golden Aromatic light is encased in the roots of the earth. Thus, it is the golden gift from the earth.

Whiskey Hill Farms Curcuma aromatica Crop

The methods used to grow turmeric at Whiskey Hill Farms include deep tilling, which captures the subsoil warmth, canopied crops grown in greenhouses, frog habitats which help with both pest management and soil fertilization. Byproduct feed stock provides nutrients as it remediates throughout the energy crop ponds. Alcohol permaculture integrates into the farm infrastructure.

Read more:  Curcumin from Turmeric Inhibits Zika, HIV, Herpes and Other Viruses

Whiskey Hill Farms continues to allocate additional resources for production operation to create stable, fresh, organic turmeric. Large tumblers clean the soil from the turmeric cluster as multiple sprayers help clean the roots. The conveyor line helps sort, final rinse & cleaning for preparation of the H2O2-vinegar bath using this as an organic certified disinfectant. The highly efficient fans dry the material. It is then stored in a clean isolated storage cooler with a proper dehumidifier system.

Wild turmeric farmed in California.
Wild turmeric farmed in California. Copyright Paul Gaylon

Later, 10 & 20 pound boxes are distributed. Worldwide average for Curcuma aromatica is 80 cm (3’.). At Whiskey Hill Farms, the average size of the turmeric plant is 2 meters (7’) more than double the size of the original seed stock. The experience of being in a greenhouse surrounded by 7 foot turmeric plants in every direction is indeed a profound joy!

Whiskey Hill Farms is committed to improving the size, yield, quality, and aromatic food characteristics of turmeric which honors India & S. E. Asia, where it is an important part of life. We esteem Curcuma Aromatica & all turmeric as “worthy of being loved”, as its name signifies. People and the earth are enriched by the nourishment of these robust aromatic roots.

Traditional Recipes

Indonesian Bumbu

Freshly mashed aromatic turmeric, ginger, pandan leaves, young lemongrass, nutmeg, and black pepper. Combine ingredients and make into a dense paste. Refrigerate; will last a few weeks.

Aromatic Rice

Dice, mash, and blend the following ingredients well: aromatic turmeric, holy basil or any suitable basil, sesame seeds, young tender lemon grass, cucumber, banana. Mix in and stir with rice.

Additional Recipes with Turmeric

Fresh Juice

Blend together: curcuma aromatica, celery, carrots, yellow beets, ginger. Add per taste: black pepper, Krystal salt. Optional: jicama, daikon or radish. Thin with water as desired. Fresh Curcuma Aromatica & other spices greatly enhance your exploration of many dishes!

Recipes for main dishes, desserts, spreads, sauces, and more

Cultured turmeric, blueberry, kefir is delicious.

Sauerkraut, pickles, fermented food recipes/sites

See also HP&D Turmeric Gold fluid extract product profile. Use on cooked and raw dishes, in
marinades, toppings, soups, salads dressings, and green drinks

Scientific References

Sikha A, Harini A, Hegde Prakash L. Pharmacological activities of wild turmeric (Curcuma aromatica Salisb): a review. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2015;3(5):01-04

Chen Y, Shukurova MK, Asikin Y, Kusano M, Watanabe KN. Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds in Mango Ginger (Curcuma amada Roxb.) from Myanmar. Metabolites. 2020 Dec 30;11(1):21. doi: 10.3390/metabo11010021.

Jatoi SA, Kikuchi A, Gilani SA, Watanabe KN. Phytochemical, pharmacological and ethnobotanical studies in mango ginger (Curcuma amada Roxb.; Zingiberaceae). Phytother Res. 2007 Jun;21(6):507-16. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2137.



Author

  • President and founder of Herbal Products & Development (https://herbprod.com/), he has studied herbs and formulated innovative herbal products and whole-food concentrate blends for over 30 years. Through his extensive travels and ongoing learning, he has become very knowledgeable of both native and foreign herbs.After studying the medicinal plants of many countries, Paul created the concept of a Natural First Aid Kit for travelers in 1991. The kit was the first of its kind in the United States. Seeing the need for high-energy nutrition for very active people, he also formulated and brought to the market a green superfood called Plant Power. He was the second person in the country to formulate a green superfood. Plant Power has now evolved into Supremely Green which contains over 35 carefully combined and extremely concentrated ingredients. Other well-known products developed by Paul include Power Plus (food enzymes), Friendly Colonizer (probiotics), Vita Power (vitamins & antioxidants), Macro-Night (macro-minerals), Flex-Connect Plus (for joint issues), Liver Restore, Mushroom Power Supreme, Global Male Tonic, pure-pressed Saw Palmetto, and Hempkin Fine Oil, a blend of premium Pumpkin and Hemp Oils. The full range of nutritional and natural products that Paul has developed and marketed include nutritional green foods, seed oil blends, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamin and mineral antioxidant blends, fluid extract herbal combinations, nutritional chocolates, probiotics, skincare products, concentrated powder blends, and bulk powder extracts. He actively sources out organic ingredients, wildcrafted herbs, and unique concentrates.Herbal Products & Development is listed in various trade publications including Green Business Association, Natural Foods Merchandiser, and Herbal Green Pages. Herbal Products & Development's website, herbprod.com, is an online store with a wealth of information on every product ingredient and their uses in health articles and profiles on each product. Many savory recipes can be found on the website. Paul continues to develop new products while researching new developments on herbal and health frontiers.Paul has been instrumental in introducing new foods, food preparation techniques, and dietary programs to the market. He has worked with many associates on these projects. He has been a consultant on the development and marketing of many supplements, skincare, and nutritional products. As a result, Paul has become accomplished at understanding all nutrient and product components before bringing products to market — from research to formulation, to sourcing and production, and then to marketing. His company does private labeling for other companies. He is committed to educating people on nutritional and medicinal topics through his company’s website and printed documentation and through other forms of sharing which often is simply his warm willingness to confer with people directly.Clinical studies, finishing in 2010, have been conducted at medical centers on a variety of selected HP&D products including Flex-Connect Plus used with MSM-Vitamin C, Liver Restore, Power Plus, Vita Power, Macro-Night, Gluco-Low Balance, Golden Lite (chocolate with nutrients), a high grade of pure-pressed Saw Palmetto, and Supremely Green. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. The clinical study on Flex-Connect with MSM-Vitamin C has been published in the Townsend medical journal. There is a link to this article and to the other clinical summaries of these studies on the website.Over the years, Paul has assumed many leadership and project coordinating roles in local and regional organizations, at events, and at numerous conferences. He has made various public statements on subjects such as freedom of individual and public health choice issues, water quality, the environment, and social justice. He has developed fruitful networking skills which he regularly uses. He has given talks at health food stores and other places of business and has been a guest on public television, radio shows, and podcasts. He has added his creative food preparations to many local food group events. He has acted as a consultant in various contexts for the natural food, hemp, and environmental communities.Paul integrates innovative ideas in other areas too such as building, carpentry, house design, and landscaping including permaculture. His own gardens utilize land contouring, natural drainage, terracing, mulching systems, and the integration of natural and recycled materials such as wood, stone, plants, and sculptures. His permaculture skills were boosted when he took an intensive course with David Blume of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture and author of the book “Alcohol Can Be A Gas.” Paul continues to attend permaculture teachings and events and is a strong advocate for permaculture food forests.A major project directed by Paul in the spring of 1998 was the Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo, the largest event of its kind in the country with 6,500 people attending. It was very successful and brought together businesses and individuals on the cutting edge of the expanding hemp market. Out of that event emerged a one-hour documentary video, “Hemp Hemp Hooray – The Growing Industrial Hemp Market,” about the Expo and the enormous potential of industrial hemp. Paul was a contributing partner and co-director of the documentary along with the excellent videographer L.B. Johnson. Its premiere showing took place in September 1999 at the Vets Hall in Santa Cruz, CA. The DVD can be found in many libraries and is now on YouTube. You can also find it as a link on his unifiedcommunity.info website in the Industrial Hemp/Videos category.Paul also consulted with the Coalition for Agricultural & Industrial Renewal (C.A.I.R) by helping organize a fund-raising event to support a California assembly bill for renewing the legal status of industrial hemp. He also, along with a number of hemp businesses and California granges, helped organize a benefit concert in Sacramento, CA in 2014 to promote industrial hemp. The intent of all these efforts has been to bring greater attention to the amazing benefits of hemp and its connection to ecological sustainability, natural health, and global change. Paul's website, unifiedcommunity.info, contains hundreds of links to online information about industrial hemp, medicinal marijuana, CBDs, and cannabis.Additional projects that Paul was involved with include organizing a panel to discuss organic foods and fiber processing at the Eco-Farm Conference in January 2000, helping with the Gaia Song Sustainable Living and Ecological Building Conference in Santa Cruz in 2002, co-directing Synergy Party events in 2002 which combined music and networking to help local non-profit groups share ideas, Spring into Summer Fest in 2012 which was a successful community fundraiser for the Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) and featured 75 vendors, musicians, and speakers on four stages. Paul also maintains a membership in the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange which is part of a national organization to promote family farms, organic farming, and sustainable agriculture.In addition to his company’s website, herbprod.com, Paul created unifiedcommunity.info which is a directory of links to over 2,000 websites and online information on 100+ topics dedicated to achieving a sustainable, environmentally responsible and just world. Another website of his, exploringbotanicals.com, is a work in progress and is envisioned to be a worldwide plant catalog showcasing his large photo collection of plants photographed locally and around the world. The website currently has a list of worldwide botanical gardens and useful plant-related links.One of Paul’s most recent projects was assisting Whiskey Hill Farms, a local, sustainable, organic farm, with marketing and sales of turmeric and their other crops as well as acquiring seed stock and cuttings. The chopped and juiced turmeric roots, shoots, and flowers from the turmeric plants grown at Whiskey Hill Farms are used in one of Herbal Product & Development's newest fluid extracts, Turmeric Gold.Paul’s other hobbies and interests include snorkeling, plant identification nature walks, photography, and wildcrafting herbs. Paul enjoys collecting, growing, and sharing tropical seed stocks of peppers, fruits, vegetables, and vine crops. He likes to volunteer his first aid and nutritional know-how at music and cultural events when he is available. In 2008, Paul became actively involved in promoting biodiesel, ethanol fuel conversion, and byproduct utilization as sustainable energy sources and for other uses. While in India that year, he visited various facilities that utilized these practices. His travels allowed him to also visit with traditional Ayurveda practitioners, traditional and modern herbal facilities, farms, gardens, crop production areas, and an organic sugar cane facility with multiple byproducts.Paul has always been and continues to be dedicated to discovering and implementing new concepts in health, nutrition, and herbology. Paul is a firm advocate of educating people to empower them and allow them to make informed decisions about their health and other important aspects of their lives. His hope is that in the future the world will see more multidisciplinary healing retreats, health centers, and community improvement projects.

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