Herb Profile: Turmeric Plant | Curcuma Longa

Call the turmeric plant, also known as Curcuma longa, a jack-of-all-trades—it’s one of the most versatile of all herbal healers.


| April/May 2011



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Turmeric has been in use for thousands of years, from purifying the earth to charming away jaundice. Today, the turmeric plant is still considered one of the most versatile medicinal herbs; it treats various skin conditions, relieves pain, soothes the stomach, and may even have anti-cancer effects.


Photo By iStockphoto/MsLightBo

Genus: Curcuma longa
• Also known as the golden spice or Indian saffron
• Zones 7 to 10

Many Indian brides anoint their skin with a sacred golden spice known as turmeric (Curcuma longa) the night before their wedding to capture a natural glow. This treasured spice is the herbaceous turmeric plant, well-known for its vibrant color and abundant healing powers.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger root, or Zingiberaceae, family, thrives in hot, moist climates such as China, South Africa and India, and grows 3 to 5 feet high. It’s a perennial plant with orange-red blossoms resembling lilies.

Although its flowers are stunning, its rhizome, or underground stem, is what attracts the most attention. When dried and ground, its rhizome yields a sharp yellow powder known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent properties. It is also used in an array of Indian dishes, curry being the most popular. It is not as pungent as ginger but emits a sweet aromatic note.

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curcuma longa
12/15/2015 7:00:21 PM

Thanks for the information great article :) i have to start using turmeric more in my food. but my family doesn't like the taste! i wonder if there is a way to hide it






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