Maybe you’ve used turmeric in your kitchen to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes and dishes. Other uses include dying fabric and making homemade face masks.
Turmeric is a versatile spice – similar to cinnamon – with many benefits. But, did you know that there are roughly 30 different species of turmeric? Each is unique, and all belong to the Curcuma family.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is listed in many health and wellness tips as the go-to supplement to fight inflammation. This blog will cover many of these turmeric varieties and reveal what kind we use to create our infused hemp oils at Mana.
You probably recognize turmeric in its powdered form as bright orange or golden yellow spice. It’s found in many Indian dishes, as it originally hails from this region of the world where it has been used as a spice and as a medicinal herb for thousands of years.
Turmeric is a rhizome, which is a part of a plant’s root system that grows from one main bulb, known as a tuber. Turmeric looks very similar to ginger on the outside, though its fingers are slightly thinner and longer. When freshly cut, turmeric flesh is bright orange like a blooming marigold.
When powdered, it is bright yellow. Both fresh and powdered turmeric has a deep earthy aroma. However, the flavor changes with turmeric varieties and may have notes of flowers, citrus fruits, and other herbs. In addition, it may be bitter, spicy, or slightly sweet.
Although India remains the largest producer of turmeric globally, it is produced and used throughout many Asian and African countries. Polynesian explorers quickly discovered the healing powers of this plant and brought it back to their native Hawaii to cultivate in their fertile land.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric has many proven benefits. For instance, lowering the risk for heart disease, decreasing inflammation, helping prevent cancer, treating Alzheimer’s disease, improving mental health, and slowing down age-related diseases. In fact, turmeric for dogs can provide similar beneficial benefits to a degree.
Turmeric varieties are often named for the region in which they are grown. The desirable compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, with curcumin being the most important. It’s the curcumin content that gives turmeric its medicinal value. Here are a few of the highest-ranking turmeric varieties.
In Hawai’i, turmeric is considered a “canoe plant,” meaning it was brought to Hawaii by Polynesian explorers and is part of their staple crops. Turmeric is known by the name `Ōlena in Hawai’i, meaning ‘yellow’. Many varieties grow worldwide with several kinds growing in the lush, fertile soil of Hawai’i.
To the untrained eye, mango ginger turmeric can be easily mistaken for common ginger. It has a pale yellow interior but is less fibrous than traditional ginger. The taste is very much like ginger with a hint of green mango. This variety is excellent for pickling and also works well in topical applications.
Indira yellow turmeric is bright yellow when cut open. Its flavor is bold and the scent is earthy, filling the air with a spicy aroma. This variety is most often powdered and used for culinary purposes.
The red interior is really quite striking, so Hawaiian Red is suitably named. Not quite as dark as a beet, but brighter than a ripe strawberry. The flavor is mild and less bitter than other types of turmeric. Hawaiian Red is best used in culinary applications, or as a dye for fabric.
BKK is deep orange inside and tastes very similar to a carrot. It’s sweet, earthy, and mild. Because of its brilliant orange color, it’s often used as a fabric dye in addition to its culinary and medicinal uses.
Black turmeric is dark and appears bluer than black inside. It’s extremely rare despite its host of benefits. Black turmeric powder is mixed with water and drank to treat gastric upset, and used topically to heal burns, cuts, and bites. Much like other varieties, black turmeric is often used to treat stiff joints and decrease inflammation.
As the largest producer of turmeric in the world, India is responsible for growing roughly 70% of all turmeric. Their varieties are vast and specific to unique regions, producing subtle changes in color, flavor, and percentage of curcumin.
Madras turmeric is light, golden yellow, and is what you’ll likely find if shopping for a jar of turmeric at the grocery store. It’s mild in flavor, but the gorgeous coloring is what makes madras turmeric desirable. This bright yellow adds vibrancy to many curry dishes, pickled foods, and mustards. The curcumin levels are between 2.5% and 3%.
Erode turmeric received its geographical index tag (GI tag) after an 8-year battle. The GI tag is given to products to indicate the specific region in which it is grown. No one can sell erode turmeric unless it is from the Erode region. It is bright yellow with curcumin levels between 2% and 4%.
Alleppey turmeric is dark and rich in color. It tastes much like fresh turmeric, with an earthy aroma containing hints of mint, lemon, and ginger. It is a bit oily compared to other turmeric varieties and is best to put through a sieve or small strainer to help separate clumps. On average, its curcumin content is about 5%, but Alleppey has been known to reach as high as 6.5%.
Pragati turmeric is a rich, earthy, and vibrant heirloom variety. It has a delicate floral flavor with citrus notes. Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, pragmatic turmeric is relatively high in curcumin, averaging around 5%.
Lakadong turmeric is touted as the “world’s best turmeric”. This is because of its high curcumin levels, averaging anywhere between 7-12%. Lakadong turmeric is grown organically without any fertilizers in the hills of the Lakadong village. The farmers take great pride in this fantastic spice.
These are but a few of the incredible turmeric varieties available. Other popular varieties around the globe include Kedaram, Prabha, Prathibha, Sangli, Sudharsana, Sugun, and Suvarna.
At Mana, we highly value the medicinal and therapeutic properties of turmeric. That’s why we include local Hawai’i grown turmeric from Honaunau Farm and Aina Culture. These farmers are the true stewards of the regenerative farming land and hand cultivates all of the sustainably grown turmeric Mana sources.
The Mana line is unique in containing this fresh, potent, tropically grown turmeric, as most brands use powdered turmeric grown outside of the US that is not nearly as vibrant and fresh after processing and shipping.
In many ways, turmeric is complementary to CBD, as they both work to decrease inflammation throughout the body while improving immune function. Our Hawaiian CBD Oil with turmeric and vanilla is an excellent source of these powerful ingredients working in harmony. We work hard to provide only the highest quality ingredients in all of our products, and we’re proud to offer turmeric as a sustainable plant remedy in our recipes, like turmeric rice.
Turmeric is a potent, powerful natural remedy made available to us by mother nature. Take advantage of her many wonders in the form of powdered spices, dietary supplements, tinctures, teas, and skincare.
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Starting from $35.00