White turmeric or zedoary (Kachur in Hindi) is a member of the ginger family. It is used as a medicine in China and Japan. It is an important ingredient of Ayurvedic tonics such as Chyawanprash and Dasamoolarishta. It is a native of India and Pakistan, cultivated in China, south east Asia and Japan. This perennial herb bears ovate leaves with purple spots, yellow shiny flowers and underground part, rhizome. The rhizome is bitter, hard and orange in colour covered with brown skin which smells like a mango.
Chemical composition: Volatile oils, essential oil, terpenoids, flavonoids, curdione, curcuminoids, sesquiterpene etc.
Medical benefits: White turmeric is used both as a paste and in the form of an infusion. It is added to curries, salads and pickle. It is a rich source of antioxidants and useful as a blood purifier and febrifuge. It is also effective in reducing fever. It is used in Chinese medicines to treat ovarian and cervical cancer. White turmeric gives relief from male and female reproductive problems, improves menstrual flow, strengthen uterine muscles. The juice reduces urinary tract infections.
An infusion made from white turmeric detoxifies the body, helps in cold, cough, and digestive problems such as flatulence, vomiting, dyspepsia. It is anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce rheumatic and arthritic pain and inflammation of joints. It is also an antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral. A paste of white turmeric is applied over swellings, toothache, ulcers, leucoderma, wounds and many skin infections. The paste mixed with aloe vera gel is used in facial creams since it adds a glow to skin and remove skin blemishes, wrinkles and dark spots.
Contraindications: White turmeric is a safe herb in limited doses. Pregnant and nursing women should take medical advice as it has warming effect on the body .