Article Index
1. Botany & Varieties
2. Chemical Constituents
3. Medicinal Properties & Use
4. Soil & Climate
5. Propagation
6. Planting & Aftercare
7. Pest & Diseases
8. Harvest & Processing
All Pages

Scientific name  : Curcuma aromatica    Salisb.
Family            : Zingiberaceae
Vernacular names

English       : Wild Turmeric
Malayalam     : Kasthuri manjal
Hindi         : Jangli haldi
Sanskrit       : Aranyaharidra
Tamil         : Kasturimanjal

 Botany & Varieties

It is a perennial rhizomatous herb with annulate, aromatic, cream coloured rhizome.
Leaves are elliptic or lanceolate-oblong, 30-45 cm long,  lower sides of leaves are hairy and smooth.
Flowering not usually observed under Kerala conditions.

 At present, only local types are available for cultivation

Chemical constituent

 Dry rhizome contains:
 0.8% Essential oil 10-11.5%  Oleoresin 0.7% Crude fibre 0.04% Curcumin
Curcumin conte
nt, which is responsible for the yellow colour of the rhizome, is very low in Kasthurimanjal as compared to turmeric and yellow zedoary.

Main constituents of essential oil :Camphene, Methoxy cinnamic acid,  Curcumene



Parts used: Rhizome

The rhizome is an esteemed drug for skin care.
It possesses good germicidal activity, hence ideal for protection against skin infections.
Traditionally used in bathing new born babies. 

It is an ingredient of many cosmetics, skin care products and  tonics for women after childbirth

Application of rhizome paste in rose water controls pimples.
Rhizome is an anti-dote for scorpion and other poisonous stings.

 It is effective for fever, cough and worm infestations.



Well-drained rich loamy soils are ideal for the drop.

Suitable as interctop in coconut plantations.


Well developed healthy and disease free rhizomes are selected for seed material. These are stored in cool dry place or in mud or cowdung plastered pits dug  in a sheltered area.

Rhizome  bits with one healthy sprout is used as planting material.  
Seed rate : 600-800 kg rhizomes/ acre

Planting  &  aftercare

 Planting is done in May-June with the receipt of 4 or 5 pre-monsoon showers.
The field is ploughed to a fine tilth and raised beds of 1m width and convenient length are taken and seed rhizomes are placed in small pits taken at spacing 25 X 25 cm spacing and covered with dry cowdung. The beds are then mulched with  green leaves or dry straw.
Manures and fertilizers
Basal: FYM 4 tons/ acre  Topdressing:  At  45 and 90 days of  planting, the field  is to be cleared of weeds and  40 kg urea, 50 kg rajphos & 18  kg potash per acre  are to be applied and earthed up.


Pest & Diseases

Pest: Shoot borer
Causal organism ; Conogethes punctiferalis
    Inspect the field periodically, collect and destroy the      damaged shoots and caterpillars to control spread of the pest.

Spray tobacco decoction /  0.05% Dimethoate or  0.025% Quinalphos

Minor pests like hoppers, leaf miners etc. which damage the leaves can be

controlled by use of tobacco decoction or 3% neem kernel extract.


Leaf blight:  can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Rhizome rot: If rhizome rot occurs, it can be controlled by drenching 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Dipping the seed rhizomes in 2% Pseudomonas fluorescens for 30 minutes prior to planting is a preventive measure against the disease.

Harvest & processing

The crop matures in 7- 8 months. Drying up of leaves is the indication of maturity. Dig out the rhizomes without causing damage, remove dried leaves and roots.

The average yield of fresh rhizome is 10-12 tons /acre. The rhizomes can be marketed as fresh or sliced into pieces and sundried. Drying gives 20-25% recovery.

Value added products
1. Rhizome powder : sundried rhizome slices are powdered and sieved and packed airtight.
1 kg powder is obtained from 6  kg fresh rhizome .

2. Essential oil :
The rhizome is thinly sliced and steam distilled for 3-4 hours for extracting the essential oil
Oil yield: 0.33 % on fresh weight basis and 1.05 % on dry weight basis
Oleoresin : Extraction in alcohol solvent yield 10-11.5% oleoresin on dry weight basis.


Turmeric / Manjal (Curcuma longa)

Aerial parts of  turmeric plant is similar to that of Kasthuri manjal. Leaves are yellowish green but rhizomes are deep yellow due to very high curcumin content.

Yellow zedoary/ Manjakoova (Curcuma  zedoaria)

The plant is seen wild in homesteads and wastelands.
It is robust in appearance compared to Kasthurinamjal; besides,  a violet colouration is seen in the leaf midrib and the rhizomes are light yellow.

It is ingredient of many cosmetics and skin care products. It is digestive and tonic.

In most cases, the product now available in market under the label Kasthurimanjal powder, is yellow zedoary powder. The cream coloured powder of Kasthurimanjal is rarely available in market.


Wild Arrow root / Vellakoova (Curcuma  angustifolia)

The aerial portion of Wild Arrow root  is similar to yellow zedoary. It robust in appearance and  violet colouration is seen in the leaf midrib; but  the rhizomes are cream with bluish colour formation on fresh cut on exposure to air.
The rhizomes of this plant is widely used for starch extraction.
The fresh rhizomes are ground into a paste, strained through a muslin cloth to remove fibre  and the filtrate is repeatedly washed in water and decanted to collect water insoluble sedimented starch which is sundried and marketed as ‘Koova nooru” though it is different from West Indian Arrow root.
This product is free of fibre, water soluble sugars, essential oil, curcumin etc. and is easily digestible; hence an ideal starchy food for  infants and invalids.

The rhizome is useful as anti-inflammatory and for healing bone fracture.
It is also effective in curing burning sensation, kidney stone, lack of appetite etc.

Karimanjal (Curcuma caesia)
Though the medicinal use of this is species is not common, it is used in a  few folklore medicines. This plant is short statured with blackish tinge on the midrib of leaf lamina and pseudostem. Rhizome is sickle shaped, brownish externally with black colouration inside.
 The tribes of West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh use the rhizomes of Karimanjal for curing ailments and for beauty care purposes.
  The juice of rhizomes is effective to cure asthma, sprains and bruises.
Peoples of West Bengal use this as a substitute of turmeric.

Mango-ginger / Manga inchi    (Curcuma amada)

This plant resembles turmeric in morphological features, but its rhizome is cream in colour and has the characteristic aroma of mango and taste and pungency of ginger.

It is carminative and good for various stomach problems.
The rhizomes are used for making pickles, chutney, candy, sauce, salad etc. It is also used as a condiment to impart flavor and aroma to other food products.

West Indian Arrow root / Kochikoova(Maranta arundinacea)
This plant does not belong to curcuma species, but comes under zingiberales.
The arrow shaped tubers are white in colour and grow vertically downwards.