Turmeric is like no other spice. That golden powder, ubiquitous in Indian kitchens and many Asian cuisines is also an incredible health and beauty giver. Turmeric’s amazing health benefits lay in its bioactive phytochemical components such as polysaccharides, curcuminoids and essential oils like curcumol and curdione. But what gives turmeric its wide-spectrum therapeutic properties and it's bright yellow hue is the now well-known and active curcuminoid, curcumin.
Turmeric - Widely Researched Plant, Great in Food & As Medicine
As spice turmeric is a must-have in the kitchen. Curry is simply colourless and tasteless without it. And when it doubles up as a disease-fighter and giver of preventive health benefits, especially in fighting inflammation, kicking out free radicals and boosting your immune system, its consumption becomes necessary. No wonder turmeric is among the most researched plants in the world, resulting in a huge wealth of information now being available about its therapeutic potential and efficacy against human diseases. Research findings say that turmeric exerts curative effects on about 581 diseases. Curcumin alone has a curative impact on over 560 diseases. However, to get the maximum benefit you need to consume it in quantities somewhat like this:
Powdered form - ¼ to 1 teaspoon per day, or
Turmeric slices – 3 to 6 grams per day, or
Curcumin extracts or tablets – 1000 to1500 mg per day (for adults).
To reap all benefits you must obtain that kind of turmeric that contains those desired levels of ingredients, especially curcumin. Levels of curcumin vary with different species and growth regions. Most turmeric plants yield an average of 3%, or less, curcumin per 100 grams. Question is, where do you get that one perfect turmeric and how do you tell the difference?
Different Varieties of Turmeric, Only One Best – Lakadong Turmeric
There are about 133 known different varieties of turmeric but there is only one that is best. This turmeric grows nowhere else in the world except in tiny Lakadong village and its surrounding areas in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, in Northeastern India, around the coordinates of 25°10’N and 92°16’E. The area nestles at an altitude of 610 metres above mean sea level and gets an average annual rainfall of 4000mm. The soil there is acidic, deep to very deep in colour and light to medium in texture. The farmers have experienced that when they tried growing Lakadong turmeric in any other soil or under any other climatic conditions, the quality declines.
Differences Between Lakadong Turmeric & Ordinary Turmeric
All turmeric powders may appear the same to the uninitiated. A closer examination, however, will reveal a good many differences between Lakadong turmeric and ordinary turmeric.
The most glaring difference is the curcumin content. Lakadong average curcumin content is 7.5% while most other turmeric varieties can boast of only 3% or less. With Lakadong you get more curcumin per gram. But then you first have to recognize it is Lakadong turmeric.
Which brings us to the colour. Lakadong turmeric has a bright, golden yellow hue that can only come from the high curcumin content. This gives the food that rich and appealing deep yellow colour that gourmets appreciate. Other turmeric types, by comparison, give the food a not so appealing, even dull, appearance.
The taste or flavour of Lakadong turmeric is definitely an edge over the others. This comes alive as you sample the food. There is a clear earthy and subtly nutty taste to it that’s indescribable. With other turmeric powders that defined taste is clearly lacking.
A pleasant aroma wafts through the air as you put in your Lakadong turmeric into your curries. Pure, mouth-watering aroma. In some preparations, such as herbed and spicy potatoes, where you add at the last moment, the aroma sizzles in the air and lingers in the mouth. The feeling that accompanies is one of intense satisfaction any other turmeric cannot bestow.
High Potency of Lakadong turmeric means you need a lesser quantity of it in your cooking. It might appear that you are paying a higher price but you only need half a teaspoon to spice up a meal for about six people with fantastic results. With other powders, you will definitely need at least double the quantity but you will certainly not get the same results. So you save money too.
Lakadong turmeric grows only in one place in the entire world. The spice is naturally andtraditionally farmed, without chemical or artificial fertilizers and no pesticides, the way it was done for centuries. The farmers know Lakadong’s value lies in cultivating it that way and they will not change their methods. Attempts have been made to grow Lakadong elsewhere too, or clone it. There was a success in higher yields, but the flavour, punch and curcumin content was always short of true Lakadong. Lakadong geographically belongs to Jaintia hills and nowhere else. Once you taste Lakadong, every other kind of turmeric tastes inferior.
How to Know If Your Powdered Turmeric Is Lakadong or Not?
We learnt from a farmer how to distinguish the difference between Lakadong and other turmeric rhizomes. Lakadong rhizome has fingers like those in another turmeric (and ginger) species. They look very much alike in shape and structure. The roots, however, are the tell-tale signs. Lakadong roots are thin, long and parallel in diameter throughout their lengths. Any other turmeric will have roots that are thicker in diameter at the base. The thickness tapers off towards the tip. However, once it is powdered, it is difficult to tell Lakadong from ordinary turmeric. Though colour, taste and flavour are good pointers, the ordinary buyer will not have a fool-proof option except to obtain it from reputed suppliers. This is especially important because powdered turmeric is often heavily adulterated, despite stringent anti-adulteration laws and measures. Even turmeric slices can contain a mixed lot because once dried the slices look alike whether they are Lakadong or not.
At Zizira We Take Every Precaution
We know the high value of Lakadong and the ease with which it can be adulterated. So we have eliminated every possibility of all that happening by sourcing it from the farmers themselves. It is like we farm it ourselves. We follow our farmers through seasons and stages: planting, nurturing, harvesting, sorting and grading. We transport the rhizomes ourselves to our own and exclusive processing facility. The result? True and pure Lakadong. Nothing less. Why? because your health and money are at stake here. And our reputation too. So we cannot settle for anything that is in any way short of Lakadong turmeric. And now that the harvest has just gotten over, the stock you get is not only true-blue but fresh Lakadong turmeric as well. Do look us up at www.zizira.com for more information.
For hundreds of years, people in India have been doing their laundry and cleaning with Soapnuts. Soapnuts are extremely versatile. They can be even used for personal care and numerous everyday-cleaning needs. They are naturally hypoallergenic, odorless and do no damage to fabrics. Learn more about the uses of Soapnuts.