Authored by: Emily Cuthbert

Latin Name: Curcuma longa

Standardized Common Name: Turmeric 

Sanskrit Name: Haridra, Haldi

Other Common Names: Indian saffron, curcuma, common turmeric, tumeric

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts Used: Rhizome

Botanical Description:

Curcuma longa is a perennial herb growing native to southern India. At maturity, a turmeric plant will grow about 3 feet tall with  large, knotty rhizomes growing just below the soil’s surface. The simple, medium sized, oblong, leaves are dark green and smooth to the touch. The leaves grow from an erect green stem coming directly from the bright orange rhizome’s underground. The white, pink or yellow flowers bloom in summer months and form in an elongated conical shape between bracts. The flowers are edible, and are also quite pungent and aromatic.


  • Taste (Rasa): Bitter, astringent
  • Potency/Action (Virya): Warm
  • Post-digestion effect (Vipaka): Pungent
  • Doshas: K- VP+


  • Volatile oils
    • Sesquiterpenes
      • Zingiberene
      • Tumerone
  • Polysaccharides
    • Starch
  • Resins
  • Flavonoids
    • Curcuminoids: giving turmeric the yellow/orange color
      • Curcumin- anti-inflammatory
      • Demethoxycurcumin
      • Bisdemethoxycurcumin
      • Hard to isolate, usually studied together

Actions: Curcuma longa has a warming, drying effect that stimulates circulation and brings movement into the body, specifically the digestive system. The actions combined promote metabolism, strengthen digestion, and increase bile production overall.

  • Anti-inflammatory (treats the underlying inflammation of wounds)
  • Carminative
  • Analgesic
  • Antioxidant
  • Astringent
  • Antibiotic
  • Aromatic
  • Stimulant
  • Cholagogue
  • Antispasmodic
  • Immunomodulant
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral
  • Hypolipidemic
  • Circulatory stimulant
  • Hepatoprotective

Indications: Rheumatism, dysmenorrhea, eczema, gas, increase bile secretion, increase digestion, diabetes, bruising, toothaches, wounds

Safety/Contraindications: Typically safe in small amounts.

  • Can impair iron absorption in high amounts
  • Thins the blood
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Large amounts may cause G.I irritation
  • Caution with gallstones
  • Not for use with highly acidic stomachs
  • Not for use in pregnancy
  • Uterine stimulant

Preparations and Doses:

Powder: 1 tablespoon up to 4x a day


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  • Skenderi G. Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc., Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution. Rutherford, NJ: Herbacy Press; 2004.
  • Tilgner S. Herbal Medicine: from the Heart of the Earth. Creswell, OR: Wise Acres; 2020.
  • Turmeric Flowers. Information, Recipes and Facts.,around%2012%20centimeters%20in%20length. Accessed May 10, 2021.