white turmeric, also known as zedoary, Curcuma zedoaria, or E Zhu in Pinyin, is one of common Chinese herbs mainly used for regulation of menstrual function traditionally. Because the medicinal part is the root, it is also customarily referred to as turmeric root (white). For that reason, zedoary will be referred to as the “turmeric” in the remainder of this article, just for convenience’s sake. But please don’t confuse it with another herb – Turmeric (Curcuma longa, Jiang Huang) since they share the name Turmeric. Now it is also widely used in the treatment of cancer thanks to the newly found healing properties. However, the benefits of white turmeric root are far more than that. This is an amazing herb that can do so much to your health. However, you won’t use it to its fullest potential until you have totally mastered and tamed its disposition. So, what is turmeric used for? Is turmeric root good for you? What is turmeric good for? If you are interested in finding out the answers, read on please. This article will give you more information on its effects, dangers, drug interactions, nutritional value, medicinal properties, and so on.
What is turmeric root (white)?
Actually TCM wise it doesn’t refer to the best known species like Curcuma longa or Curcuma zedoaria. Instead it means their cousin in the family Zingiberaceae – Curcuma phaeocaulis Val. or Curcuma aeruginosa Roxb., Curcuma Kwangsiensis S. G.Lee et C. F. Liang, and Curcuma wenyujin Y.H. Chen et C. Ling. As its name suggested, root is the main medicinal part. It comes with several common names like rhizoma curcumae, Turmeric Rhizome, and so on. But sometimes they are generally called as Zedoaria Rhizome, Zedoary, zedoary root, zedoary rhizome, and more. However, apparently they mean different species on particular occasions.
Curcuma phaeocaulis Val. is mainly produced in Sichuan, Guangdong, and Guangxi. Roots are oval, long oval, conical or fusiform, 2 to 8cm long, 1.5 to 4cm in diameter, and with tip blunt top and obtuse bottom. Surface is from greyish yellow to gray-brown, with raised upper part and rounded or slightly concave fibrous scar or residual fibrous roots. It is heavy, solid, and with grayish brown to blue-brown waxy section. It is lightly scented, and slightly bitter and acrid in flavor; Curcuma Kwangsiensis S. G.Lee et C. F. Liang is primarily from Guangxi. It comes with slightly raised rings and yellow-brown to brown cross section, which is often with light yellow powder and cortex with yellow-white ring pattern; C.wenyujin Y.H.Chenet C.Ling is basically from in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. It comes with yellowish brown to dark brown section, which is often with pale yellow to yellow-brown powder. It is scented or slightly scented.
Medicinally turmeric ginger root is harvested in autumn and winter after leaves and stems wither away. The overground part, fibrous roots and scale leaves need to be removed after that. Next clean them, steam or cook them thoroughly, dry them in the sun, slice them, and finally use them raw or processed with rice vinegar.
Main chemical constituents are volatile oil, in which major ingredients include curzerenone, epicurzerenone, curzenene, curdione, curcumol, camphor, borneol, etc.
White turmeric root benefits
As mentioned above, the turmeric root health benefits have been found by ancient herbalists and widely used for various ailments thanks to its great healing properties. Nowadays it is also made into tea, powder, smoothie, juice, extract, supplement, essential oil, drink, curry, capsules, chutney, etc. for cooking and medical purposes. And it has an even more extensive applications on acne, alzheimer’s, acne scars, arthritis, cancer, gynecomastia, gout, detox, inflammation, pain, weight loss, skin problems, diabetes, hair removal, and more.
Modern pharmacological actions of zedoary
1. Its volatile oil preparation can directly damage a variety of cancer cells. In addition, it achieves significant immune protection by enhancing specific immunity, which thus comes with the anti-cancer effect;
2. Its volatile oil can inhibit the growth of many pathogenic bacteria;
3. 1% volatile oil can reduce the acetic acid-induced peritonitis in the animals. And it also inhibits local edema and inflammation in mice;
4. Curcuma oil shows significant anti-gastric ulcer effect;
5. Its water extract can inhibit platelet aggregation, promote the recovery of arteriole blood flow, completely prevent the arteriole contraction, and significantly promote the recovery of local microcirculation;
6. Its extract, extracted by water and by ethanol, can inhibit the thrombosis in vivo;
6. It can also directly kill respiratory syncytial virus;
7. Curcuma oil has significant hepatoprotective and anti-early pregnancy effect.
Proven turmeric ginger root related herbal remedies
Herbalist of TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) believes that this herb is acrid and bitter in flavor and warm in properties. And it covers meridians of liver and spleen. Its major functions are promoting the circulation of qi to break stasis and removing food retention to relieve pain. Prime turmeric root uses include cardiodynia, indigestion, abdominal distention and pain, amenorrhea due to stagnation of blood, dysmenorrhea, abdominal mass, bruises, early stage cervical cancer, and more. Recommended turmeric root dosage is from 3 to 10 grams.
E Zhu San
It comes from Shou Shi Bao Yuan (Protection of Vital Energy for Longevity). This is a formula mainly used for abdominal mass and abdominal pain due to amenorrhea. Other major herbal ingredients include San Leng (rhizoma sparganii), Dong Quai (Dang Gui), Xiang Fu (Nut Grass Rhizome), and so on.
E Zhu Wan
This formula comes from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns & Treatment). It is basically formulated for abdominal pain and bloating caused by dyspepsia. Other major herbs include Qing Pi (Green Tangerine Peel) and Bing Lang (Betel Nut).
E Zhu Kui Jian Tang
This is a prescription coming from Ji Yang Gang Mu (Compendium of Therapies for Men’s Diseases). It is primarily designed for abdominal distension caused by accumulation inside. Rest vital herbs are Hong Hua (Safflower Flower), Sheng Ma (Black Cohosh Rhizome), Wu Zhu Yu (Evodia Fruit), Chai Hu (Bupleurum), and more.
San Leng E Zhu Tang
This prescription is from Pu Ji Fang (Prescriptions of Universal Relief). It is mainly used for infantile malnutrition. Rest important herbal ingredients are Green Tangerine Peel, rhizoma sparganii, Bupleurum, Ban Xia (Pinellia Rhizome), Da Fu Pi (Areca Peel), and so on.
Potential white turmeric root side effects and contraindications
In terms of the white turmeric root toxicity, the median lethal dose, by oral administration of the ethanol extract, is 86.8 ± 12g (crude drug)/kg in mice. In its clinical treatment, a proportion of patients see adverse reactions, including dizziness, nausea, facial flushing, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest. And individuals see fever, cyanosis, palpitation, fatigue, transient elevated glutamic-pyruvic transaminase, and so on. TCM wise, this herb should not be used during pregnancy and in the cases of menorrhagia, qi-blood deficiency, and spleen-stomach deficiency without retention.