Other: common turmeric, Indian saffron, yellow ginger
Curcuma longa L.
Plant Family: Zingiberaceae
Indigenous to India, turmeric is now cultivated in tropical regions throughout the world. Turmeric is an important herb in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has a history of use spanning millennia and is considered energetically hot. The aromatic, dried rhizome tastes mildly pungent and is slightly bitter. It remains a significant herb throughout southern Asia and has gained in popularity in the United States. Turmeric root’s main constituent, curcumin, is thought to be responsible for many of the rhizome’s wellness-supporting properties and results in its brilliant yellow color. It is often added to supplement blends to support healthy joint mobility.*
Used for thousands of years as a spice, turmeric remains a popular ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It is especially recognized in Indian cuisine and is often added to curry powders, lentils, and potato dishes. The colorful and fragrant rhizome adds a unique and earthy flavor to stocks, sauces, and rice dishes. Because of its vivid hue, it has also been used as a food coloring in mustards, popcorns, cheeses, and yogurts.
Curcuma longa is a member of the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. In fact, turmeric goes by the name of yellow ginger in some cultures as its knobby rhizome is said to resemble ginger. Turmeric is an herbaceous perennial growing to a height of one meter. It has large, lanceolate leaves, dense spikes of tubular flowers and fleshy, tuberous roots. Native to India and Southeast Asia, turmeric thrives in the high humidity and warm climate of the tropics.
Turmeric has integrated itself into herbalism, food, and other cultural traditions. Saffron and the turmeric powder have both been used to dye the robes of Buddhist priests and Indian saris. Turmeric is occasionally referred to as Indian saffron for its golden color, although it differs greatly in taste and price. Turmeric powder has also been used as ritual offerings in Hinduism.
Turmeric root powder can be used in beverages such as golden milk or blended into smoothies. A popular culinary spice, the yellow powder can be added to curries, rice dishes, tofu scrambles, roasted vegetables, and soups. Turmeric powder can also be used externally in topical applications; however, the skin may be temporarily stained yellow where directly applied. The powder can be used in gargles, tincturing, encapsulation, and as a natural dye.
For some added inspiration, we have several recipes on our blog incorporating turmeric powder. Try making a warming, delicious, and healthful beverages such as golden milk or turmeric chai. A traditional turmeric face mask can become a fun and unique health care regime for you and your skin.
Learn how we’re working to help strengthen community roots by purchasing organic and Fair Trade turmeric roots.
No known precautions.
We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.