Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) other names: Amomum zedoaria, Cedoaria, Cetoal, Curcuma Sauvage, Curcuma zedoaria, E-Zhu, Essence de Zédoaire, Gingembre Bâtard, Herbe à l’Estomac, Huile de Zédoaire, Indian Arrowroot, Kua, Rhizome de Zédoaire, Round Zedoary, Sati, Shati, Temu Kuning, Temu Putih, Zedoaire, Zédoaire, Zedoaria, Zedoarie Rhizoma, Zedoary Oil, Zedoary Turmeric, Zedoary Turmeric Oil, Zitwer, Zitwerwirtzelstock, ZTO.

Zedoary (botanical name Curcuma zedoaria) is also known as white turmeric. This ancient spice is closely related to the normal turmeric and is indigenous to India as well as Indonesia. In the sixth century, this spice was introduced to Europe by Arab traders and during the middle ages zedoary became very popular throughout the continent. However, these days the zedoary is very rarely used in the West, as it has been largely substituted by ginger. In India, people use zedoary as a substitute of arrowroot and in local perfumes. People in India also use zedoary in rituals performed during festivals.

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) plant

Zedoary is basically a rhizome (underground stem) having a flimsy brownish skin with a vividly orange-hued, firm interior. This is an aromatic spice, whose scent is similar to that of turmeric and mango. This is a perennially growing herb with a warm zesty, camphoraceous cineolic and woody smell. The zedoary produces glossy yellow blooms having green and red bracts. The leaves of zedoary are narrower at the base and have an ovate shape with purple-hued spots and grow up to a length of anything between 30 and 60 inches. While the plant bears triangular and ovate fruits, the shape of the seeds is oval or akin to that of a spear.

Usually, zedoary or white turmeric is commercially available in the form of a powder. Zedoary is also sold dried and sliced having a greyish exterior, while inside its color ranges from yellow to greyish-white. Two varieties of white turmeric are available in Indian markets - Curcuma zerumbet (long), and Curcuma zedoaria (round). While the Curcuma zerumbet is long and slender akin to turmeric, zedoary is relatively small as well as fat resembling ginger.

In the eastern part of the globe, the root of zedoary is very popular both as a spice and also a medicine. The zedoary is used in the same manner as we use its cousin turmeric (botanical name Curcuma longa L.) in curries and condiments. Zedoary root forms an important ingredient in the gastrointestinal disorder remedy called Swedish Bitters. The odour of zedoary root is akin to that of camphor and its flavour is somewhat like bitter ginger. As in the case of turmeric, chewing zedoary root also changes the color of saliva to yellow.

Zedoary or white turmeric is a perennially growing plant having close relation with ginger and turmeric. The zedoary is native to places having tropical as well as sub-tropical climatic conditions.

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Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Health Benefits

Zedoary is a plant. The underground stem (rhizome) is used to make medicine.

Traditional methods for preparing zedoary involve washing it with lots of water to remove most of the protein and water-soluble nutrients. The rinsing is also supposed to remove a poison that is yet to be identified.

Zedoary is used for colic, spasms, loss of appetite, and indigestion. Some people also use it for anxiety, stress, fatigue, and pain and swelling (inflammation).

Zedoary is used both for culinary as well as therapeutic purposes. As zedoary possesses several curative properties, it is used for treating a number of health conditions.

As zedoary possesses anti-inflammatory properties, fresh roots of the zedoary are made into a paste and applied to inflamed body areas, especially to wounds and skin complaints. In addition, zedoary is also used to alleviate pain.

Zedoary also works to stimulate the body and purify the blood. At the same time, zedoary is effectual for treating problems related to the respiratory tract and helps to tone up the uterus. Zedoary is also said to be an excellent aphrodisiac.

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) image

Zedoary is beneficial for people enduring digestive problems, as zedoary helps to improve digestion, boost the health as well as the functioning of liver and regulate body temperature. Zedoary is also employed in the form of a gastro-intestinal tonic while treating flatulent colic. Zedoary is useful for treating vomiting, colic, dyspepsia, cough and infections of the urinary tract. The juice of the fresh root is said to be useful in treating urinary tract infections as well as other disorders related to urination.

Zedoary is also effective in preventing stress ulceration, while taking the powdered form of the herb facilitates regularizing menstruation. Zedoary is also effective for treating abdominal stress, rheumatic pain and abdominal pain due to amenorrhea (lack of the menses). Zedoary often forms a component of anti-periodic pills.

It is worth mentioning here that zedoary root is also employed in the form of anti-venom for the Indian cobra, also called the spectacled cobra.

Zedoary root possesses antiseptic properties and applying a paste prepared from the fresh herb externally to wounds and cuts facilitates healing. Zedoary is also used to assist digestion as well as to alleviate flatulence and colic. The starch, which is called “shoti” in India, can be digested easily. In addition, zedoary is nutritious and, hence, extensively used in the regimen of the ailing or those who are very young in the eastern part of the globe.

Zedoary also possesses antioxidant properties and it is believed that using it internally helps to resolve sexual problems encountered by men as well as women. In addition, zedoary root is also believed to reinforce the muscles of the uterus and, thereby, facilitates childbirth. Since it possesses aphrodisiac properties, zedoary is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. This apart, zedoary is also an anti-periodic - used to stop the recurrence of diseases as well as to cure digestive problems, indigestion, colds, ulcers, and problems related to the gastrointestinal system. Zedoary is also effective in preventing indigestion, provided it is consumed about 30 minutes prior to a meal.

Zedoary or white turmeric also possesses detoxifying attributes and helps in cell regeneration. In addition, zedoary is beneficial for our immune system. Zedoary helps to control the body temperature and, hence, is often used to treat fevers.

Zedoary is usually used to treat indigestion and flatulent colic. However, ginger, which is used for the same purpose, is more popular than zedoary. Conventionally, a bitter tincture prepared from zedoary root is employed to put off recurrence of diseases, such as malaria, and also for treating ulcers. As zedoary possesses bitter properties, it is effective in augmenting the secretion of gastric juices, thereby, providing relief from gastrointestinal disorders and dyspepsia related to congestion of the digestive organs. In Germany, health authorities have found that the ‘bitters’ promote bile secretion and, at the same time, help to remove fatty deposits from the liver.

The essential oil obtained from the dried out zedoary is used by the perfume industry and also employed in soap fabrication. This essential oil is also used in the form of an ingredient in many bitter tonics.

Zedoary is sometimes applied directly to the skin to keep mosquitoes away.

Zedoary root is edible. Internally, the root is white, while its aroma reminds one of mango. Nevertheless, zedoary tastes more like ginger, baring the fact that it leaves an extremely bitter aftertaste. People in Indonesia dry this root and pulverize it into a powder, which they incorporate in curry pastes. On the other hand, people in India use the fresh zedoary root for culinary purposes or for making pickles. In Thai cuisine, zedoary root is used uncooked, while it is sliced into very slender pieces and added to specific Thai salads. In addition, thin strips of zedoary root can also be served with other different herbs as well as vegetable together with specific varieties of Thai chilli pastes known as nam phrik.

The flavour of zedoary root is warm, similar to ginger, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. Many people find this herb to have a disagreeable flavour. In fact, when used as a spice, zedoary root is never used alone, but always combined with other different spices with a view to lessen its bitterness. In addition, the root of this plant is also starchy, which helps it to act rather like a thickener.

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) rhizomes

People in India generally use the fresh roots of zedoary herb in the form of a spice as well as a thickener. Often, fresh zedoary roots are grated and used in locally prepared pickle mixtures known as “achar.” When used in the form of a thickener, Indians called the paste “shoti.”

In Thailand, people consume the young zedoary roots in the form of a vegetable. On the other hand, people in Indonesia and China frequently use dried out zedoary in curry powder, especially for cooking seafood. Dried zedoary powder or dried out slices of the herb are freely available in many stores in Asia. In China, the dried zedoary powder is known as “kentjur.” When the fresh zedoary roots are sliced and dried in the sun, the color of the surface exposed to sunlight turns grey, while internal color of the herb ranges from yellow to greyish-white.

Zedoary (Curcuma Zedoaria) Side effects

There isn’t enough information to known whether zedoary is safe. So far, no harmful side effects have been reported.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is unsafe to take zedoary if you are pregnant. There is concern that it might cause a miscarriage. It’s also best to avoid zedoary if you are breast-feeding, since there isn’t enough scientific information to know how it might affect a nursing infant.

Heavy menstrual periods (menorrhagia): Some experts suggest that zedoary should not be used by women who have heavy menstrual periods.