(Curcuma longa, Curcuma domestica)
Other Names: Haldi, Haridra, Kunyit, Curcuma, Manjal
The turmeric plant is identifiable by both its characteristic tuberous root and the leaves that extend upward from erect, thick stems arising from the root. Turmeric root is actually a fleshy oblong tuber 5-10 cm in length and 2.5 cm wide. It is tapered at each end and its exterior can be yellow, tan, or olive-green in colour.
Tumeric is a spice commonly used in curries and other South Asian cuisine. Its active ingredient is curcumin. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is also used to give a yellow colour to some prepared mustards, canned chicken broth, and other foods (often as a much cheaper replacement for saffron). It makes a poor fabric dye as it is not very lightfast.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is thought to have many healthful properties. It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver disorders. Studies have demonstrated that turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in the treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Alcohol extracts of turmeric have been found to reduce blood sugar, which could eventually affect the treatment of diabetes. In addiion, clinical trials in China have demonstrated that simply using turmeric as a food seasoning can reduce serum cholesterol levels. The World Health Organization has recommended the use of this spice.
Turmeric grow in warm, humid climates and thrive only in temperatures above 30°C.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and as per other gingers are grown from the rhizome.