Turmeric, a plant in the ginger family, is native to Southeast Asia and is grown commercially in that region, primarily in India. Its rhizome (underground stem) is used as a culinary spice and traditional medicine.
Historically, turmeric was used in Ayurveda and other traditional Indian medical systems, as well as Eastern Asian medical systems such as traditional Chinese medicine. In India, it was traditionally used for disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive system.
Today, turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease, depression, and many others.
Turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder. Curcumin is a major component of turmeric, and the activities of turmeric are commonly attributed to curcuminoids (curcumin and closely related substances). Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow color.
Turmeric dietary supplements are made from the dried rhizome and typically contain a mixture of curcuminoids. Turmeric is also made into a paste for skin conditions.