Latin Name
Curcuma longa

General Description
The turmeric root, an ingredient of Indian curries for thousands of years, also has medicinal properties. Today in Ayurvedic (Hindu) medicine, turmeric is used for several purposes, including as a digestive aid. One of its active ingredients, curcumin, induces the flow of bile, which in turn breaks down fats. Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory agent and thus relieves the aches and pains associated with arthritis.

Turmeric also contains a volatile oil, which functions as an external antibiotic, preventing bacterial infection in wounds. In traditional Chinese medicine turmeric is categorized as acrid, bitter and warm. The turmeric plant is recognized by spongy, orange bulbs and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

Target Ailments

Taken internally for:

Applied externally for:


Taken internally for:

Applied externally for:

Over the counter:
Turmeric is available as powdered root, capsules and liquid extract.

At home:

Combinations: For shoulder pain, turmeric is mixed with cinnamon twig and astragalus. Menstrual cramps and pain after childbirth may be alleviated with a combination of turmeric and cinnamon bark; for menstrual irregularity the herb is combined with dong quai. Turmeric is mixed with sesame or salad oil and applied externally to swollen areas.

Decoction: 1 tsp. turmeric powder steeped in 1 cup milk for 15 to 20 minutes.

Special Information