The Ginger that smells like Raw Mango
Indian Mango ginger or Curcuma Amada is a stout underground rhizome growing wild in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Srilanka and Malaysia and it is also cultivated as a backyard crop in these countries. Interestingly, the word Amada is derived from the Bengali name of, ‘Mango’ which refers to the taste of the rhizomes. Similarly, the specific word Mangga is derived directly from the common name, ‘Manga’, a Tamil word from which the common mango name, originated. Both the species resemble the Turmeric plant. Mango ginger is a unique spice having morphological resemblance with ginger imparting a raw mango aroma.
A few more interesting names of Amada are; Ambe Halad in Marathi, Aam Haldi in Hindi and Curcuma Amada (Mango Ginger). The Flower of Amada, adds to the beauty of a garden and can be perfectly ornamental to your table top, with its gorgeous spires of pink, purple, or white flowers all summer long.
Botanical name: Curcuma Amada Roxb.
Ayurvedic name: Mangga
Nature of Herb
It is a perennial herb which grows about 80 cm tall with a underground, branched rhizome,yellowish outside and the top;white.It is white in the periphery and has a lemon yellow central core.
The leaves arranged alternately in two opposite vertical rows with the leaf sheaths being 35-60 cm long, blades elliptical-oblong to oblong-oblanceolate.
The flowering is lateral with inflorescenses arising directly from the underground rhizome from the apical bud of a rhizome branch.The floral characteristics are similar to that of the Curcuma Mangga.The flower is tender with a narrow throat.Leaves appear after the flowering. The plant produces gorgeous spires of pink, purple, or white flowers all summer long.
- Height at Maturity
C. amada Roxb. is a rhizomatous aromatic herb which grows up to a height of 60-90cm in height.
Amada traces its origin in eastern region of India, it’s said that before the introduction of Ginger, amada was used to meet the daily culinary needs in East India.
The Indian Mango Ginger best grows in tropical climate.
Prefers a humus-rich sandy loam soil, moist but well-drained soil in a shaded position enriched with farm yard manure (FYM) and a good drainage.
Ginger is known as a therapeutic herb. The rhizome(underground stem)of mango ginger is a popular spice and vegetable due to its rich flavor, which is described as sweet with subtle earthy floral and pepper overtones and similar to that of raw mango. Some of the interesting popular and flavoured dishes made out of Mango Ginger are: Kondaikadalai pachadi, mango ginger gravy, mango ginger pickle, grilled pan chicken with fiery mango ginger salsa,Thai Chicken salad etc.
Ginger is known as a therapeutic herb. In India, it is cultivated because of its roots which contains medicinal properties and used as fresh, dried and powdered or as a juice or oil. The use of Ginger has been revered in Ayurveda for ages. The traditional uses are still carried on in many parts of India and even abroad.
- The root of the mango ginger rhizome is used in the manufacture of pickles and culinary preparations
- The Ayurveda and Unani medicinal systems have given much importance to mango ginger as an appetizer, alexteric, antipyretic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and laxative and to cure biliousness, itching, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma, hiccough and inflammation due to injuries
- The mashed or grated root is applied externally to the skin in the treatment of ulcers, bruises, wounds and sprains
- The Rhizomes of both the Indian Mango Ginger and the Indonesian Mango Ginger are used fresh or dried as a spice as a vegetable and as medicinal herbs
- Ginger roots treat upper respiratory tract infections, cough and bronchitis
- For complicated stomach ailments, digestive problems, nausea, Ginger root is extensively used
- Mango ginger is a very potent medication for relieving lice in hair as well as treat dandruff related problems
Additionally, the biological activities of mango ginger include antioxidant activity, antibacterial activity, antifungal activity, anti-inflammatory activity, platelet aggregation inhibitory activity, cytotoxicity, antiallergic activity, hypotriglyceridemic activity, brine-shrimp lethal activity, enterokinase inhibitory activity, CNS depressant and analgesic activity.
Chemicals isolated from the plant
The major chemical components include starch, phenolic acids, volatile oils, curcuminoids and terpenoids like difurocumenonol, amadannulen and amadaldehyde. Amada extracts have shown cytotoxic activities on the human cancer cell lines MCF-7 (a hormone-dependent breast cell line), KB (a nasopharyngeal epidermoid cell line), A549 (a lung cell line), Ca Ski (a cervical cell line), and HT-29 (a colon cell line). While these extracts showed no cytotoxicity against the non-cancerous human fibroblast cell line MRC-5.
The Curcuma Amada plants are adapted to growing in areas of seasonal drought in monsoonal forests.
- Sowing Season
It is mostly planted in April with the commencement of pre-monsoon showers. Small pits are dug with a hand hoe on the beds with a spacing of 30cm.
- Land Preparation
The bed should be brought to fine tilth between February and March, subject to the availability of pre-monsoon showers. The beds should be of convenient length usually 3-5m with 1.2m wide with 40cm spacing in between. A well-developed, healthy and disease-free whole or split rhizome, weighing 15- 20g are suitable for planting. In most places, local varieties are used for cultivation.
The pits are filled with well-decomposed compost
The crop is immediately mulched with green leaves. This reduces weed growth and conserves soil moisture. However, depending upon the soil moisture, supplementary irrigation is required.
- Harvesting Methods
The rhizomes are ready for harvesting after seven or eight months of planting. The entire plant is uprooted, cut at the top and the rhizomes are collected. After cleaning, the harvested rhizomes are dried under the shed for two or three days.
Post the harvesting, the rhizomes must be stored in airtight containers away from sunlight similar to Curcuma Longa (Turmeric).
Indian Mango Ginger is a promising spice distributed throughout India. The aromatic root is used mostly in east Asian cuisines, pickles, perfumery and other essential oils.