| Turmeric (Curcuma longa, also known as tumeric)
is a spice commonly used in curries and other South Asian
cooking. Its active ingredient is curcumin. It is a significant
ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric
is also used to give a yellow color 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.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.
In traditional 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 popular
served as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It is currently being
investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease,
cancer and liver disorders.
Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian state
of Maharashtra, is the largest and most important trading
centre for turmeric in Asia or perhaps in the entire
Turmeric is used in product systems that are packaged
to protect them from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for
oil-containing products. The curcumin/polysorbate solution
or curcumin powder dissolved in alcohol is used for water
containing products. Over-colouring, such as in pickles,
relishes and mustard, is sometimes used to compensate
Turmeric has found application in canned beverages,
baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yoghurts,
yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn-colour, sweets, cake
icings, cereals, sauces, gelatines, direct compression
tablets, etc. In combination with Annatto (E160b) it
has been used to colour cheeses, dry mixes, salad dressings,
winter butter and margarine.