Turmer­ic — a superstar

Turmer­ic is a real super­star: it col­ors food yel­low and our teeth white, enhances our dish­es and alle­vi­ates numer­ous ail­ments and dis­eases. As a pow­der, turmer­ic has long been pop­u­lar. But late­ly, the tuber has been fight­ing its way back into the kitchen in its raw form as well. 

The ori­gin, prop­er­ties and his­to­ry of turmeric

Turmer­ic orig­i­nat­ed in India and has been used there for over 5,000 years as a food and med­i­c­i­nal prod­uct. The spice came to Europe quite late: Sci­en­tists assume that the Ital­ian nav­i­ga­tor Mar­co Polo dis­cov­ered the turmer­ic plant on his voy­age in the 14th cen­tu­ry and brought it back to Europe. Today, turmer­ic belongs in every good cur­ry mix­ture and is also used to dye paper, oint­ments and textiles. 

The turmer­ic plant belongs to the botan­i­cal fam­i­ly of gin­ger plants and can grow up to one meter high. Like gin­ger, the turmer­ic plant forms sec­ondary root­stocks, so-called rhi­zomes. How­ev­er, com­pared to gin­ger, these are much small­er and nar­row­er. In tech­ni­cal jar­gon, turmer­ic is also called Cur­cuma lon­ga. This name is derived from the Ara­bic word “al-krukum” (mean­ing saf­fron). The turmer­ic plant owes its botan­i­cal name to its inte­ri­or, because the extract of the rhi­zomes — the yel­low dye cur­cum­in — is very sim­i­lar in col­or to saf­fron. There­fore, turmer­ic is often referred to as Indi­an saffron. 

The ingre­di­ents of turmeric

Turmer­ic con­tains numer­ous vit­a­mins, min­er­als and trace ele­ments. These include: 

  • Vit­a­min B1 
  • Vit­a­min B2 
  • Vit­a­min B3 
  • Vit­a­min B6 
  • Vit­a­min C 
  • Mag­ne­sium 
  • Cal­ci­um 
  • Iron 
  • Zinc 
  • Potas­si­um 

The effect of turmer­ic on our body

Turmer­ic is a real super­star. The root not only has an anti-inflam­ma­to­ry and diges­tive effect, but also helps with var­i­ous com­plaints or dis­eases. Thus, turmer­ic can be used to relieve gas­troin­testi­nal prob­lem, such as heart­burn, flat­u­lence and abdom­i­nal cramps. The tuber also has an anti-can­cer effect and can pre­vent metas­ta­sis. It is often tak­en as an adjunct in the treat­ment of rheuma­tism or cys­tic fibro­sis. The con­sump­tion of turmer­ic can also pre­vent Alzheimer’s disease. 

How­ev­er, turmer­ic can reduce the effec­tive­ness of med­ica­tions. There­fore, a doc­tor should be con­sult­ed in case of increased consumption. 

Turmer­ic in the kitchen

Due to its slight­ly spicy to earthy-bit­ter taste, turmer­ic goes well with almost all dish­es. How­ev­er, the yel­low­ish root har­mo­nizes par­tic­u­lar­ly well with rice, pota­to and veg­etable dish­es. The Indi­an tuber also looks good in soups, with pan­cakes or in bread recipes. 

Buy­ing and stor­ing turmeric

Turmer­ic is avail­able as a ground spice almost every­where. In spice mar­kets, the pow­der is often offered loose. How­ev­er, the spice quick­ly los­es its typ­i­cal aro­ma in day­light. There­fore, when buy­ing should pay atten­tion to how the spice is offered. Prefer­ably, one should buy turmer­ic pow­der in a tight­ly sealed can. The spice should be stored as dry as pos­si­ble, because it spoils quick­ly due to moisture. 

Fresh turmer­ic roots should also be stored in a cool and dry place. The best place for this is the veg­etable com­part­ment of the refrig­er­a­tor. How­ev­er, the root should not be packed air­tight, oth­er­wise it will quick­ly go bad.


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