Definitions

zedoary

zedoary

[zed-oh-er-ee]
zedoary, name for a perennial herb (Curcuma zedoaria) of the Zingiberaceae (ginger family) and for a spice consisting of its dried and pulverized aromatic rhizome. The plant, related to turmeric and to the East Indian arrowroot, is native to and principally cultivated in India. It is used as a condiment, as a flavoring for liqueurs and bitters, in perfumery, and medicinally as a carminative and stimulant. Zedoary is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Zingiberales, family Zingiberaceae.

Zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria, known as kacōramu in Telugu) is the name for a perennial herb and member of the genus Curcuma Linn., family Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to India and Indonesia. It was introduced to Europe by Arabs around the sixth century, but its use as a spice in the West today is extremely rare, having been replaced by ginger.

Zedoary is a rhizome that grows in tropical and subtropical wet forest regions. The fragrant plant bears yellow flowers with red and green bracts and the underground stem section is large and tuberous with numerous branches. The leaf shoots of the zedoary are long and can reach 1 metre (3 feet) in height.

The edible root of zedoary has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango; however, its flavour is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste. In Indonesia it is ground to a powder and added to curry pastes, whereas in India it tends to be used fresh or pickled.

Zedoary is also used in some traditional eastern medicines where it is reputed to be an aid to digestion, a relief for colic and an agent for purifying the blood.

The essential oil produced from the dried roots of Curcuma zedoaria is used in perfumery and soap fabrication, as well as an ingredient in bitter tonics.

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