Turmeric (/ -/,) is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa, of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, the rhizomes of which are used in cooking. The plant is a perennial, rhizomatous, herbaceous plant native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia that requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered each year for their rhizomes, some for propagation in the following season and some for consumption.
|Inflorescence of Curcuma longa|
|Turmeric rhizome and powder|
Curcuma domestica Valeton
The rhizomes are used fresh or boiled in water and dried, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a coloring and flavoring agent in many Asian cuisines, especially for curries, as well as for dyeing, characteristics imparted by the principal turmeric constituent, curcumin.
Curcumin, a bright yellow chemical produced by the turmeric plant, is approved as a food additive by the World Health Organization, European Parliament, and United States Food and Drug Administration.