In Search of Black Turmeric

It was my familiarity with Ayurveda that I was introduced to Black Turmeric (Curcuma caesia). That was about three years back. Ever since then I had approached friends, relatives and even acquaintances to seek out Kali Haldi. Most often they were either laughed at or called names. Or plainly told: “How can Haldi be black? Haldi is yellow and it’s so.”

leaf

This June, having been member of a Facebook group I ultimately got hold of the rhizomes of the “very rare and auspicious plant” from Odisha.

In fact, enterprising individuals and nurseries are making a quick buck selling 100g rhizomes for Rs 2,500 while the regular haldi sells Rs 60 a kg.  A ebay seller I approached offered me a black turmeric plant for Rs 1200. Asked does he have buyers, he answered: “I have sold dozens of them.”

Native to north eastern states and Orissa, it is a perennial herb with bluish-black rhizomes. Its flowers are pink in colour. The rhizomes are bitter in taste with a pungent smell. The dried rhizomes are brownish black in colour. When the rhizomes are boiled, a camphoraceous odour is produced because of the presence camphor.

Presently Black Turmeric is on the verge of extinction because of deforestation, unfavourable climatic changes, over exploitation and bio-piracy.

Curcuma caesia, a wonderful herb, contains a very good percentage of curcumin among all the Curcuma or turmeric species. Curcumin is a chemical substance which possesses many curative properties. It is an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic compound. It increases antioxidant capacity of the body.

My Curcuma caesia plants are barely a month old. The leaves sport a strip of black running on the middle which identifies it as one.

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7 thoughts on “In Search of Black Turmeric

  1. I have heard tales of kali haldi from a friend who hails from the baster dist. in chhattisgarh. It is quiet common there. It is also supposed to be an antidote to black magic. ppl tie it around as a locket around their neck

  2. Kamal

    Good to know you actually found it. Congrats! I have been looking for the past 7 years and no luck. I was told that due to it being used extensively in tantric puja it is going extinct.
    Thanks a lot for the papaya sapling and the moringa and doodhi seeds.

  3. Troy Bond

    Where can I buy some of these black turmeric plants?
    I’ve been looking & want done to grow.
    I hope I get a reply.
    Thanks,
    Troy

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