Turmeric (Curcuma longa or even “poor man’s saffron”) is theherbaceous plant from tropical areas of Asia. The rhizome of this plant is what’sbeen used for centuries. It looks like the ginger root, but its orange in theinside and also smells and tastes different than ginger. It is said to havebitter and sharp taste and bright orange when it’s cut on half. It is used asfresh root or it can be dried and then powdered.
Turmeric posses the color thanks to the color pigmentcurcumin, found in it. Because of the intensity of the color, turmeric is usedin many Indian dishes and to make “mustard yellow” color. It is also usedinstead of saffron, to color the food, but it is much less expensive thansaffron (thus the name “poor man’s saffron”). In many products that should be banana orlemon yellow, the color is achieved by adding some turmeric. So, next time youdrink yellowish dairy drink, ice cream, dessert or some cereals, bakery orbeverages – remember what gave the color to the product.
Turmeric can be used as the spice, also. As such it can be foundin many products, as well, including dry mixes, relishes, sausages, fish,pickles, sauces etc.
Except the color and spice, turmeric is also very useful inmedicine. It is proven to be natural antiseptic, disinfectant and antibacterialagent. Because of that, turmeric powder can be used to treat some cuts or burns,to prevent infections and speed up the recovery of the damaged tissue.
Asthma patients might also use this herb, for it can decreasebronchi spasms present in this disease. Persistent cough and phlegm may also betreated with turmeric, because of the expectorant properties of this herb.
Stomach disorders and intestinal worms could also be curedusing turmeric, especially raw turmeric root juice.
Turmeric paste is said to be beneficial for the liver.
This herb can be (and it is) used in many beautypreparations, especially combined with milk and sandalwood. This combination isbelieved to rejuvenate the skin, leaving it glowing and looking younger.
Are There Some Turmeric Substitutes
Well, there is nothing that can be used instead of turmericthat will produce the exact same effects. Turmeric is proven to be veryspecific, with its many uses.
However, some turmeric effects might be reproduced (to someextent). If you want some flavor and color in your dishes, and you suddenly ranout of turmeric, you might want to try dry mustard powder instead. Another optionis to add some fenugreek with dry mustard powder. This combination may belittle bit more fragrant, but still won’t give exactly the same taste asturmeric.
If you don’t have some fresh turmeric there is alwaysturmeric oil or dried turmeric powder available on the market. Sometimes theseproducts may be good substitutes for the color and taste of the fresh turmeric.
Curry powder, especially home-made versions, might be exactlywhat you were looking for to use, instead of some fresh turmeric. However, rememberthat you will have to use 4 times more curry powder than you would normally useturmeric.