Manjal – Turmeric Part I & II


Dear friends

Yesterday I was just going through the Tamil TV news and was listening to the very low market value for Erode Turmeric. The farmers want Government to procure turmeric giving a support value to save the situation. The reason told was over flooding market with the product. 

I just thought about turmeric on listening news. Turmeric is an essential item in the kitchen. Even all the masala items produced contain surely turmeric. Always there will be turmeric powder in kitchen as well as store as spare. All the vegetables are boiled adding turmeric powder, to remove poisonous effects if any. 

We apply turmeric powder on bee stinging,thezl kottal, pazhuthara stinging, or any sudden boils. There are many creams having turmeric base itself. 

For all our poojas the sastrikal write manjal, kumkum first in the list. Pullayar for pooja is made out of manjal powder, probably recollecting the first creation of Pullayar by Goddess Parvathi using manjal applied to the body with slight oil as guard inducing life in to it. 

If at all some suspicion of poison is there in a food intake, turmeric water is made to drink, so that it will reduce the poison effect.

In all Naga temples and Devi temples turmeric powder is used much in pooja. Abhishekam is done with turmeric powder mixed in water in Devi temples. On naga deities turmeric powder is put on them as offering and to cool them. Prasadam too is called Manjalprasadam. 

When we exchange a horoscope for marriage purposes or during preparation manjal powder is applied in corners and centre. Account books are normally having marks of turmeric application. Front doors in many houses are provided with a mark of turmeric and kumkum. 

I was not knowing the speciality of erode turmeric before coming to Chennai. It was told by my Tamil friends about speciality of Patthamada pulpai, Tirunelveli Halwa, Dindugal murukku, Madurai iddali, Kodaikkanal grapes, Kallidai kurichi appalam, Pollachi coconut etc. 

Before starting today’s topic I desire to thank one of our esteemed lady member who sent to me a few adages after reading my VELLATHINU MUKALIL POKUNNATHU VALLAM. 

Two of them are very much thought provoking which are reproduced below. 

1.Samsaara saagarm kadakkaan manushyanu Adhdhyaathma chinthaye thoni. 

2.Vellathile vallathinoru dwaaram veenaal Vellavum vallavum samam

The rough TRANSLATIONS are as follows 

1. to cross the ocean of life, divine thinking is the sure boat 
2. If a hole come in the boat floating in the water, boat will be in level with water. 

I have responded to her appreciating the adages. 

I am thankful to all the members responding to me after reading my postings. 

Gopala Krishnan 8-6-2012 

1. Anjanamennal enikkariyam, manjalu polae veluthirikkum 

Once a knowledgeable person was talking to an audience. The talk came about Anjanam. He put the query to audience- Any one knows about Anjanam?

While others were thinking, one hurrying less knowing person got up and said – Anjanamennal enikkariyam, manjalu polae veluthirikkum.

I know anjanam; it appears like manjal which is WHITE in colour. Either he knows anjanam or manjal. 

In day to day life we see many such people in every walk of life. The one telling the COMBINATION PERCENTAGE of different metals in pure gold of 99.96 purity is such a person. 

They are not munthirikkottai since some times they only be hurrying, but knowing things. 

2. Manjal abhishekam in temples 

I had a thinking about manjal abhishekam- if at all any poisonous material form due to different abhisekams in random, any poisonous effect formed would be removed. 

Similarly in olden days in Ammikkal and now a day in mixi, use of manjal will remove any adhering with poisonous effect. 

Even after best cleaning by Droupadi if Lord Krishna could get a cheera bit from Akshayapathra, what about cleaning by lady servants and keeping them with out supervision. 

I have seen my wife making double check before using milk boiling valpathram, and many a times do a 2nd cleaning as if she is just cleaning.

3. Manjal and women

Sumangalies are offered on their visit to other houses as a gesture, kumkum and manjal. If they come as guests, in addition saree or blouse bits are also offered. Earlier it was only blouse bits- Now saree too got added since every body’s standard of living has increased or it has become the order of the day. 

Some thing like split AC has become common in all houses. Once A C was seen as luxury or of richness of a person.Now it has changed.

Last week a worker coming to my house for garden works owning house was telling. In the hall now I have provided AC for the hot summer. Not able to manage sir.. 

Aged women now too use during bath to apply turmeric paste on the face and wash. It was a practice for married women to use turmeric paste during bath every day before years. I do recollect my mother specially requesting for muttan manjal for this application. (Special quality manjal) 

Whether use or not manjal will be in all houses. 

4. Manjal – colour of Mahavishnu

Manjal is told as the colour of Mahavishnu and to appease Planet Guru, it is suggested to wear yellow items since his god is Vishnu. 

5. Light yellow- colour of Onakkodi.

It is a practice to wear kids with yellow small dhothies ( Kutti mundu) during Onam festival. Onakkodi also is light yellow mundu and sari in the original form. 

6. Kanikkonna

Kani kkonna is yellowish in colour which is seen in the morning of Sankranthi day ( Meta vishu). 

7. Palani and yellow dress.

Those going to Palani muruga on pilgrimage wear yellow dress. Some groups to Sabari malai also wear yellow dress.

Many temple priests wear colour dress in Tamilnadu and one among them is yellow. 

It has also become a practice of many men who do NOT TO WEAR white dhothies to wear colour dhoties instead now. How this conversion occurred is not known. Now we can see many iyers wearing colour dhothies in the house. 

8. Manjappai

Now too many of use a yellow bag which is a sign of auspiciousness on important occasions to carry things. We can find sastrikals keeping yellow bag while coming for auspicious occasions. 

I will continue with turmeric in next posting also. 


Continued from part1

Dear friends

In Chennai, near Perumal kovil in Devaraja Mudali street in Flower Bazar (2nd stop from Central railway station to Parry’s corner) a few shops are there selling turmeric and kumkum alone earlier. Now they have added other pooja items also. We could see merchants dressed in red dhothi sitting before heaped kumkum of varieties, manjal of varieties in very big thambalams for sales. The shops are seen always with clients and crowded with people in the evening. On those days the prices appeared slightly high but the products were of EXCELLENT quality.

These shops came to my remembrance first today while start writing. While I was in Chennai in 1966’s I used to get my mother in native these items packed in abundance. 

Every time she got the packets, she used to tell; I should leave for abode, with manjal and Kumkum and apply a large quantity on the face. As she desired in 1972 middle she left for abode with Manjal and Kum kum. 

Gopala Krishnan 15-6-2012

9. Medicinal properties of Manjal 

The Turmeric plant, though long used as an important ingredient for curries and other foods, is also an important medicinal herb, used by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners. 

Known also by its Latin name curcuma longa or simply curcumin, the Turmeric plant is used to treat a number of medical disorders, including digestive disorders, liver problems, and skin diseases.

It has also been proven effective in stimulating improvement in bile flow, making it very beneficial for people suffering for both digestive and gall bladder problems.

As a medical preparation, it is used for curing digestive disorders, helping to break down fats during the digestion process. It also has been proven useful for stomach problems ranging from gastritis to stomach problems caused by stress or alcohol. The Turmeric herb is also said to be very effective in treatment for inflammations caused by osteoarthritis and for helping to unclog arteries partially blocked by atherosclerosis. 

Its use in breaking down saturated facts in cholesterol is becoming well accepted. Turmeric’s effectiveness against cancer and liver disease is being studied as well.

10 Relative of inchi

The plant is a relative of the Ginger plant, and grows to a height of 5 feet in tropical parts of southern Asia. The plant is characteristic in having a sharp, bitter taste. 

The Turmeric roots are dried and boiled to make the familiar yellow powder most commonly used in food preparations.

11. Controlled use of manjal

Even in dishes, manjal is required to be added, but in LIMITED QUANTITY. Adding more turmeric powder can create complications also. 

Besides the common powder for cooking uses, Turmeric is also available in Turmeric capsules and as an extract. Though it can be used by virtually all ages of people, it must not be over ingested as various side effects can occur. 

These include stomach upsets and even ulcers. The herb’s possible interaction with other herbs or drugs could be problems; and amounts exceeding recommended doses should not be taken. 

It should not be taken by people suffering from gall stones or partial bile passage blockage without the approval of a qualified herbal medicine practitioner. Turmeric may also interact with drugs such as resprine; used to treat high blood pressure.

Even in dishes over addition create a vomiting sensation. 

12. Turmeric cultivation 

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial plant of the ginger family; it is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.

During pongal season we get plant with leaves and roots and sub routes. If we plant in a shady area and water, such roots may come as plant. It can be in kitchen garden. The leaves itself will give a smell, and nothing to worry of creepers. 

13. Curcumin
What the curcumin do? Every one of us knows- but not the word curcumin. Read the paragraphs below. 

When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart colour to mustard condiments. 

Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavour and a mustardy smell. 

Curcumin can be used to test the alkalinity or acidity of foods and other items. IT TURNS YELLOW IN AN ACIDIC, AND IT TURNS RED IN AN ALKALINE.

Now recollect- It is the curcumin which make the lime water added with turmeric powder make it dark red during AARATHI. 

14. Turmeric Production

Nizamabad, a city in the south Indian state of Andhra pradesh, is one of the largest producers of turmeric .Erode in Tamil Nadu is another important turmeric trading centre that receives turmeric produced not only from Tamil Nadu, but also from the neighbouring state of Karnataka. In history, Erode is also known as the “Turmeric City”. 

Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian western state of Maharashtra, is another large trading centre for turmeric in Asia. Our esteemed member SRI SAIKRISHNAN had already given this information as response to part 1 of the posting and many members would have read it already.

Kasur district of Pakistan is the largest producer of turmeric in Pakistan.

15. Other names of manjal 

Turmeric is commonly called Pasupu in Telugu, Manjal in Tamil and Malayalam, Arisina in Kannada, Haridra in Sanskrit and Haldar or Haldi in Hindi. 

16. Leaves in dishes and for preparation

In Indonesia and Sumatra leaves of manjal plant are used in dishes. 

Although most usage of turmeric is in the form of root powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara), leaves of turmeric are used to WRAP AND COOK FOOD. This usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. This imparts a distinct flavour.

I have seen my mother using leaves of manjal plant for keeping kakkapodi during pongal time. 

17. Colouring 

In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow colour. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn colour, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. 

It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is mostly used in savoury dishes, as well as some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf.

18. Turmeric pickle 

Although usually used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, much like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as FRESH TURMERIC PICKLE, which contains large chunks of soft turmeric. (I have just read from net. I have not tasted or seen it)

18. Turmeric in Devi temples

We can find wider use of turmeric powder in Devi temples, Naga temples and hill temple Sabarimala at Malikappuram Devi. 
We can also get from sellers forest turmeric bigger in size, which could be about double the size of normal turmeric. This type manjal was used by / is used by married woman during bath for application in face.

I will have a 3rd part also about turmeric 

Compiler- R. Gopala Krishnan, 68, retired Asst General manager, Kerala Telecom, Trivandrum. 


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a happy go lucky person by nature,committed to serve others and remove their sufferings through all possible help. POSTS IN MY BLOG ARE MY OWN OPINION, COLLECTIONS OF INTERESTING ARTICLES FROM FROM VARIOUS SOURCES. MY ONLY AIM IS TO SHARE GOOD THINGS WITH OTHERS WHICH MAY BE USEFUL TO OTHERS AND NOT TO HURT ANY ONE'S FEELINGS. If you like my blog, like me,follow me, share with others, reblog If you have some suggestions post comments your suggestions and comments are eagerly awaited

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