Curcuma zedoaria, or white turmeric, is an ingredient found in Ayurvedic recipes, Asian cuisine, and some herbal compounds. In general, turmeric holds a special place in Ayurveda. Both yellow turmeric (Curcuma longa) and white turmeric (Curcuma zedoaria) play a role in balancing the doshas. White turmeric, the focus of this post, helps guard against a wide range of health conditions. Without further ado, let’s explore some of the health benefits, essential facts, and Ayurvedic usages for turmeric.
White Turmeric Health Benefits
Addressing Respiratory Issues
White turmeric helps to manage excess Kapha dosha. This is important because when Kapha dosha is excessively high in a person, they may experience a buildup of mucus. Sluggishness, blocked sinuses, lethargy, and water retention are also signs of a Kapha imbalance. White turmeric helps reduce excess phlegm, guarding against the respiratory problems associated with too much Kapha. Therefore, white turmeric may be helpful for colds, asthma, and cough.
Just like yellow turmeric, white turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, Ayurvedic practitioners commonly suggest turmeric for easing aches and pains associated with inflammation. This can include muscle and joint pain and inflammation. Furthermore, turmeric may be helpful for clearing inflamed skin, as in the case of acne.
Ayurveda teaches that strong digestion is foundational to good health. When digestion becomes sluggish due to excess Kapha dosha, turmeric can be helpful in balancing such digestion problems. Indications for the use of turmeric include indigestion, poor appetite, flatulence, loss of taste, irregular bowel movements, and worms.
Ayurvedic herbal compounds that feature white turmeric often help to remove metabolic wastes by balancing both Kapha and Vata doshas. Due to the realities of modern living, people are exposed to toxins on a regular basis—through the air, water, food, and soils. Therefore, it is a good idea to cook with turmeric and to incorporate it into herbal compounds. Additionally, turmeric’s detoxifying properties help to remove impurities from the blood by supporting overall liver function.
Research indicates white turmeric may help to guard against the development of certain cancers, and can even fight cancer cells. This is yet another reason to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet!
These are just a few reasons why white turmeric has long played a role in Ayurvedic herbalism and cuisine. Furthermore, white turmeric is included in many ancient, well-loved rasayanas and remedies, Chyawanprash being one of them.
White Turmeric Essential Facts
- Botanical: Curcuma zedoaria
- Sanskrit: Shati, kachur
- Hindi: Karchur
- English: White turmeric
- Other: Amba haldi, Zedoary (which comes from Arabic and Farsi; in those languages, it is called jadwaar or zedwar)
- Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter
- Guna (qualities): Light, dry
- Virya (action): Warming
- Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Pungent
- Dosha (constitution): Balances all three doshas: Vata, Kapha and Pitta
White turmeric is native to India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. It is also found in Thai cuisine and tends to grow well in tropical regions.
White turmeric is a perrenial plant with long leaves and yellow flowers. The inside of the rhizomes are pale yellow.
The roots or rhizomes.
Rhizome contains curcumol, zederone, zedoarone, fyranodiene, cumolone, pyrocurzerenone, procurcumenol, curcumenone, curcumanolide A and curcumanolide B, curcumenol, guaiane zedoarondiol.
White Turmeric-Usage and Dosage
You can take white turmeric in a number of ways, depending on the intended purpose. For instance, many have found that white turmeric can be an effective means of calming inflammation caused by injuries and wounds. When used in this capacity, it is formed into a paste. This paste is then applied directly to the affected area. White turmeric may also be applied as an essential oil, diluted in a base oil.
You can even consume white turmeric as a juice. Or, enjoy it in powdered form and use it to make tasty beverages, such as golden milk. This method is ideal if you’re taking turmeric (white or yellow) for internal purposes, such as improving digestion or purifying the blood.
Turmeric in Ayurveda—It’s a Wide World!
There are many, many usages for turmeric in Ayurveda. Whether you choose to focus on the yellow or white variety, some of the health benefits may include soothing inflammation, boosting digestion, supporting the liver, and removing excess Kapha from the digestive tract. If you are curious to learn more, consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to understand additional ways to enjoy turmeric as supplement. The you better understand its role in Ayurveda, the more you can enjoy its full range of benefits.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)