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Common Name

Latin Name Family Country/Origin
Curcuma zedoaria Curcuma zerumbet Zingiberaceae India and Indonesia

Rarely used outside of India today, zedoary is a rhizome similar to turmeric and ginger. In Medieval times, zedoary was occasionally used as a culinary. Zedoary is bitter and because of this is most often used in natural medicine. Its culinary use is more-or-less limited to curry pastes and pickling.

Two different varieties of culinary/medicinal zedoary grow to heights of up to one meter. Curcuma zedoaria is small and thick, where as curcuma zerumbet is longer and thin. Both varieties smell somewhat like mangoes and ginger. Like turmeric, zedoary is brown on the outside and orange on the inside, and both give dishes a bright yellow color. Outside of its native India and Indonesia, the rhizome is available in dried and powdered form.

Purported Medicinal Qualities*

Zedoary is said to purify the blood and, because it is easy to digest, is often used as a medicine for young children and infants. Like ginger, zedoary is said to relieve nausea and upset stomach.

Historically, zedoary has been used to:

  • Relieve nauseau
  • As a carminative
  • Relieve colic and bloating
  • Mitigate the effects of sea sickness

*Always check with your healthcare provider before consuming, inhaling or otherwise ingesting any non-prescription or prescription natural or homeopathic substance or pharmaceutical. is not recommending, suggesting, inferring or otherwise endorsing the use of any herb or spice as a medication.

Culinary/Suggested Use

In Thailand, zedoary is sometimes eaten as a fresh vegetable. Outside of Thailand most people do not enjoy its highly bitter aftertaste. Dried, zedoary can be ground into a powder and added to spice mixtures, especially curry pastes.  Food for thought:

  • Add zedoary powder to Indian inspired dishes
  • Rub powdered zedoary and cumin on chicken or meat before grilling
  • Add zedoary to marinades for color and flavor
  • Add a small amount of fresh grated zedoary to vegetable salads and slaws.

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