Turmeric (Curcuma longa) (/ˈtɜːrmərɪk/) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, and requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68–86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, and traditional Chinese medicine. It was first used as a dye, and then later for its medicinal properties
Turmeric powder is approximately 60–70% carbohydrates, 6–13% water, 6–8% protein, 5–10% fat, 3–7% dietary minerals, 3–7% essential oils, 2–7% dietary fiber, and 1–6% curcuminoids.
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia where it is collected for use in Indian traditional medicine.
In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron because it was used widely as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.
In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric sometimes is used as an agent to impart a golden yellow color. It is used in many products such as canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, cereals, sauces, and gelatin. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes, imparting a mustard-like, earthy aroma and pungent, slightly bitter flavor to foods.
Some 34 essential oils are present in turmeric, among which turmerone, germacrone, atlantone, and zingiberene are major constituents.