Turmeric is a perennial herb and member of the Zingiberacea (ginger) family, cultivated extensively in some tropical Asian countries.
The rhizome, the portion of the plant processed into a yellow powder, is used as a flavour in many cuisines. It also is widely used for its medicinal benefits to treat many ailments – particularly as an anti-inflammatory, and for treatment of flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, hematuria, hemorrhage, and colic. It can also be applied as an ointment to treat a variety of skin disorders.
Water- and fat-soluble extracts of turmeric and its curcumin component exhibit strong antioxidant activity, comparable to vitamins C and E. The curcumin may also be applied topically to counteract inflammation and irritation associated with inflammatory skin condition and allergies.