Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial herbal plant that is native to South and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the ginger family, growing up to about three feet tall.
Although the entire plant is edible, turmeric has traditionally been sought after for its roots, which are boiled, dried and ground up into a powder. However, the leaves are often used to make a wrap for steamed fish and even the flowers are edible.
Uses of Turmeric
Turmeric grows wild in the forest lands of South and Southeast Asia but also has a long, rich history of cultivation throughout the region. For nearly 4,000 years, turmeric has been used as both a spice and for its medicinal properties.
Some cultures also use it in religious ceremonies or due to its bright yellow color, as a fabric dye. Today, India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop, consuming approximately 80% of what it produces. The remainder is exported.