Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes of Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30-40 cm and width 8-12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10-15 cm length. 1-4 flowers are born in axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Seeds are produced in capsules and there will be one to numerous sunken capsules in an inflorescence.
Origin and Distribution
It is a native of India. Apart from India, it is cultivated in Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, East & West Africa, South Pacific Islands, Malagasy, Caribbean Islands and Central America. In India, it is cultivated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
Turmeric is a tropical crop cultivated from sea level to 1200 meter MSL. It grows in light black, black clayey loams and red soils in irrigated and rainfed conditions. The crop cannot stand water logging or alkalinity.
Turmeric is used to flavour and to colour foodstuffs. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric oleoresin is used in brine pickles and to some extent in mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatins, butter and cheese etc. The colour curcumin extracted from turmeric is used as a colourant.
Turmeric is also used as a dye in textile industry. It is used in the preparation of medicinal oils, ointments and poultice. It is stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic. It is used in cosmetics. The aqueous extracts hasbiopesticidal properties.