TEMU LAWAK

Also Known As
ENGLISH:
False Turmeric
Giant Curcuma
Java Ginger
Javanese Ginger
Javanese Turmeric
CHINA:
Yin Ni e Zhu [印尼莪术]
INDIA. MALAYALAM
Adavikachola  
Kasthurimanjal  
Manjakoova  
Pulakizhangu 
INDONESIA, MADURESE:
Temu Labak
JAVA:
Temu Lawak
JAVA, SUDANESE:
Koneng Gede
MALAY:
Temu Raya
MALAYSIA:
Temu Lawas
MALAYSIA, PENINSULAR:
Temu Raya
THAILAND, CENTRAL:
Wan Chakmotluk
VIETNAM:
Nghệ Vàng
Nghệ Rễ Vàng
NOTE: Some sources, such as the India Biodiversity Portal, list the English name as Zedoary. I would say that this common name should only refer to Curcuma zedoaria. 


Order:   Zingiberales
Family:   Zingiberaceae
Genus:    Curcuma
Species: zanthorrhiza

Florida n c s

Edible Parts
Flower Shoots Root
Other Uses
Mug Medicinal Ferment
I searched and searched for this legendary edible ginger relative for years.  Even among my ginger expert friends here in the states, I was not able to source any. Two nurseries sold me what they said was Temu Lawak, but after growing them out for a year, they turned out to be something quite different. This often happens with Zingiberaceae species, unless one seeks out true experts such as Timothy Chapman of Gingerwood Nursery, David Skinner who lives in the Florida panhandle, or Tom Wood who lives near Gainesville... now those three you can trust. I am delighted to announce that, in 2017, I obtained rhizomes from Thailand from two other sources, and they have proven to be the true zanthorrhiza species at long last. They are growing very well here at Bamboo Grove. The rhizomes are getting "fatter" as well. When one searches Google images online for this species, the rhizomes look like turmeric roots that took steroids and go to the gym every day of the week... big fat sukkas. As delicious as the ginger beer is, both fermented and not, that I have drunk that is made with the dried and powdered rhizomes, there is said to be nothing like the flavor of it when it is made from the fresh rhizomes. It is very popular in Malaysia, where custards, puddings, and such, are also made from it. Rhizomes are a well known medicinal in Indonesia, where they are added to most Jamu formulas. The stem hearts and inflorescences are also consumed. I hope to grow many of these plants, and make desserts and the fresh drink with it, and to distribute the plants to growers statewide in a few years. Wish me luck. Scratch that... wish us all luck. 

EDIBLE RHIZOMES: The rhizomes, when properly prepared, are delicious. They are somewhat bitter tasting, and for this reason, sugar is usually added. It is sweet-tasting as well. [10] It is the most commonly eaten Curcuma in Malaysia, where the rhizome starch is made into “porridge or pudding-like delicacies.” “A sweet-flavored soft drink, called 'bir temu lawak', is prepared by cooking dried pieces of rhizomes in water and adding sugar.”  The rhizome powder is added to food products, yogurt, chewing gum, etc. [8]
EDIBLE INNER STEM, RHIZOME TIPS, AND INFLORESCENCES: The  stem  heart  is  eaten  raw  and  the  inflorescences  are  cooked  and  eaten.  Rhizome tips and stem hearts are eaten raw. “The young growing stems and rhizome parts are eaten as a vegetable either raw or cooked.” [2]  Inflorescences are cooked and served with rice.
MEDICINAL RHIZOMES: Plant resources of Southeast Asia lists many of its medicinal uses. Anti-inflammatory, fever, constipation, rectum inflammation, hemorrhoids, dysentery, bloody diarrhea, stomach disorders caused by colds, etc.  Externally for infected wounds, skin eruptions, acne, eczema, etc. [2] "Javanese Turmeric contains substances that might stimulate the production of bile." [14]
IN INDONESIAN MEDICINE: “Temulawak can be said as the heart of traditional medicines, 70 percent of jamu sellers use Temu Lawak,” Charles Saerang, chief director of PT Njonja Meneer, one of the biggest Jamu producers in Indonesia, said to VivaNews." [10] The rhizomes are an important ingredient into many 'jamus' (traditional Indonesian medicinal preparations).”  “An important herb in traditional Indonesian medicine, it is harvested from the wild and is also commonly cultivated, mainly on a garden scale, in Java, Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, occasionally also in India.”  
—They are said to be: 
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY 
—CHOLAGOGUE 
—FEBRIFUGE 
—GALACTAGOGUE  
—LAXATIVE 
—A decoction of the rhizome is also used as a remedy for: 
FEVER 
—CONSTIPATION 
—Taken by women to LESSEN UTERINE INFLAMMATION AFTER GIVING BIRTH 
—Other applications are against: 
BLOODY DIARRHEA 
—DYSENTERY 
DYSPEPSIA 
—INFLAMMATION OF THE RECTUM 
—HEMORRHOIDS 
—STOMACH DISORDERS CAUSED BY COLD 
—INFECTED WOUNDS 
—SKIN ERUPTIONS 
—ACNE VULGARIS 
—ECZEMA 
—SMALLPOX 
—ANOREXIA
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: "The rhizome contains an ethereal oil (5ml per kg), it primarily consists of Sesquiterpenes. There is also a content of Curcumin (at least 1%, Ph. Eur.) and starch." [15] 
AS A DYE: It is used as a natural dye. [8]
TOOTHPASTE: It is added to toothpaste. [8]
COSMETIC USES: It is used in cosmetics and spa products. [8]
OTHER USES: In foods, medical products, household cleaning agents, etc. [8]
DR. RINAWATI: —Dr. Dewi Rinawati, of South Korea, is a doctor of cosmetology who founded a small cottage industry in 1997 named Vitaher in Indonesia. Along with professors from Yonsei University in South Korea, they worked together researching Temu Lawak, Curcuma zanthorrhiza, which has been used traditionally in Java and Bali.
印尼莪术 yin ni e zhu
MITICIDE: "According to one source it is an effective deterrent and pesticide of mushroom mites." [16] 

Recipes

TEMULAWAK GINGER BEER 
From JamuHerba Indonesia Blog 
—“The process of making this drink produces alcohol” The fermentation process “turns alcohol content up to 5 percent.”  When Malaysians want to make it to hold to pure Halal standards, they control the alcohol content to up to just 1 percent. 
—RECIPE 
—Temulawak 100 grams 
—Ginger [100 grams?]
—Sugar  230 grams
—Water 3 liters 
—Lemon/Lime 1 piece 
—Bread yeast ½ crushed tablet [¼ tsp.]
—HOW TO MAKE 
—1. Temulawak: Fresh rhizomes, cut large, take a hammer and crush. 
—2. Ginger, washed, peeled and grated. 
—3. Lemon/Lime: Squeeze with a lemon squeezer. 
—Add crushed temulawak, grated ginger, sugar, and water to a saucepan.  
—Heat the mixture to the boiling point and let sit until luke warm. 
—Add yeast, close jar. 
—Keep at room temperature for 24 hours. 
—Finely strain into a plastic jar that allows excess pressure to escape. It is usually ready in 12 hours. 
Consume soon after this or keep in the refrigerator and consume within 24 hours.  
Drink cold. 

NATIVE TO: India, Vietnam, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia (more specifically Java), peninsular Malaysia. Flora of China also lists it from southern Yunnan, China.
HABITAT: In the wild: "Thickets and teak forest, mainly on moist, fertile, humus-rich soils, at elevations up to 750 metres." [2]
DESCRIPTION: This species develops very large, rounded rhizomes in large clusters.
- INFLORESCENCE: The terminal bracts have a deep pink color, while the lower are greenish-white.
- RHIZOMES: Very large, thick, to 4” long, with golden skin and deep orange to deep orange-red flesh.
SIMILAR SPECIES: "This species bears a striking similarity to Cape York Turmeric, Curcuma australasica. It differs in that the flower bracts are a deeper pink/purple colour as is the dark strip that runs up the centre of the leaf." [9]
CULTURE: Being such a recent import to the Unites States, we have much to learn about its requirements for optimal growth. Please let me know if you are growing this species, and what your experience is with it. I will do the same as I learn.
- HARDINESS: I am guessing that it is rhizome hardy across the state. We shall see, as it might end up only doing well in the southern part of the state. 

More Details

Native?
Non-Native

Hardiness Zone
9a to 11b
Ease of growth
Easy
Light
Part Sun
Watering
Moist



References

[1] jamuhomeremedy.com 
[2] Plant Resources of Southeast Asia 
[3] Gema Herbal 
[4] vegetafruit.com 
[5] Trenvanasi Blog 
[6] Bess and Loie Blog 
[7] Natural Powders Blog
[8] Vitaher, Indonesia
[9] earthcare.com.au
[10] jamuhomeremedy.com
[11] Flora of China [efloras.com]
[12] eol.org
[13] India Biodiversity Portal
[14] webmd.com
[15] Wikiwand
[16] Effect of Crude Plant Extracts on Mushroom Mite, sp. (Acari: Pygmephoridae), Psyche: A Journal of Entomology. 2012
Last Updated: October 28, 2017

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