Turmeric is a plant belonging to the ginger family. It grows in hot climates that have lots of rain. It’s no surprise that India produces most of the world’s supply of turmeric and uses about 80% of the total crop itself.
The roots of the turmeric plant are boiled, dried and then ground into a yellow/orange powder that is used as a curry spice and a food colouring.
Turmeric powder is contained in most curry powders and gives curries that great brown/golden colour. Almost every Indian curry recipe contains turmeric, in one form or another. There are good curry recipes on the curry Focus website.
There are lots of medical applications for turmeric including being an antiseptic and having antibacterial properties. It also has been used to treat cancer and liver disorders. A lot of medical research is currently being carried out on curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric. A lot of interest is in using curcumin to help treat Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric is also used in sunscreens and some of its compounds are used in cosmetics.
As you can see, turmeric is a very versatile spice indeed.