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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.