Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A plant (Curcuma zedoaria) of South Asia that has small yellow flowers, purple bracts, and starchy tuberous rhizomes and that is widely cultivated elsewhere.
  • noun The dried rhizomes of this plant, used as a condiment and in perfumes, medicines, and cosmetics.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An East Indian drug, known in two varieties as long and round zedoary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) A medicinal substance obtained in the East Indies, having a fragrant smell, and a warm, bitter, aromatic taste. It is used in medicine as a stimulant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Curcuma zedoaria, a perennial herb native to India and Indonesia.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English zeduarie, from Medieval Latin zeduāria, from Arabic zadwār, from Persian.]

Examples

  • They used many spices, some of which we no longer use (zedoary, long pepper), others of which today are associated with ethnic cuisine (such as galangal, an important ingredient of Thai cooking).

    A Conversation with Jack Turner

  • It was made of a mixture of roots of zedoary similar to ginger, lovage and peony, parsnip seeds, mistletoe, myrrh, castor oil and dried millipedes steeped in mugwort tea and brandy.

    Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe

  • It was made of a mixture of roots of zedoary similar to ginger, lovage and peony, parsnip seeds, mistletoe, myrrh, castor oil and dried millipedes steeped in mugwort tea and brandy.

    Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe

  • The other contains prepared herbs which are useful as preventives -- tormentil, valerian, zedoary, angelica, and so forth; but I take it that pure vinegar is as good an antidote to infection as anything one can find.

    The Sign of the Red Cross

  • And all carried rue and wormwood in their hands, and myrrh and zedoary in their mouths, as protection against infection.

    Royalty Restored

  • Pharmacopoeia gave a simpler receipt, in which the ingredients were zedoary and saffron, distilled with crabs 'claws, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom seeds, and sugar.

    Sir Walter Ralegh A Biography

  • -- This plant furnishes zedoary tubers, much used in India as aromatic tonics.

    Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture

  • Let the Panchæan land [42] be rich in amomum, and let it produce cinnamon, and its zedoary, [43] and frankincense distilling from its tree, and its other flowers, so long as it produces the myrrh-tree, as well.

    The Metamorphoses of Ovid Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes and Explanations

  • As to Blaize, when they got into Cheapside, he was so terrified by the dismal evidences of the pestilence that met him at every turn, that he could scarcely keep his seat, and it was not until he had drenched himself and his companion with vinegar, and stuffed his mouth with myrrh and zedoary, that he felt anything like composure.

    Old Saint Paul's A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

  • There's wormwood, woodsorrel, masterwort, zedoary, and angelica; and lastly, there is a little bottle of the sovereign preservative against the plague, as prepared by the great Lord

    Old Saint Paul's A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

Comments

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  • "Zedoary is an aromatic tuberous root of one of several species of Curcuma, related to ginger and turmeric. It was widely used in medieval medicines and cuisine."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 47

    November 28, 2016

  • Another usage/historical note can be found in a comment on cubebs and mandrake, and don't miss the one on long pepper.

    January 8, 2017