Curcuma longa

PLANT NAME: Curcuma longa L.

COMMON NAMES: ‘Ölena (“yellow”) [Hawai’i]; turmeric [English]; yu jin (“constrained gold” – tuber), jiang huang (“ginger yellow” – rhizome) [China]; açafrão-da-índia [Portuguese]; achirilla [Colombia]; ago, ango [Samoan, Tongan]; azafrán de la india [Spanish]; avea [Fiji]; cu nghe (fresh), bot nghe (dried) [Vietnam]; dilaw [Tagalog]; ‘ena [Marquesas]; geelwortel [Holland]; gelbwurz [Germany]; gurkemeie [Norway]; gurkemeje [Denmark]; gurkmeja [Sweeden]; haldi [Hindi]; halodhi [Assami]; halud [Bengali]; haridra, gauri [India]; hsanwen [Burma]; kanghwang [Korea]; keltajuuri [Finland]; kha min [Thailand]; klacze kurkumy [Poland]; kunyit [Malaysia]; kurcum [Arabia]; manjal [Tamil]; manjano [Swahili]; re’a [Tahiti]; renga [Cook Islands]; romiet [Khmer]; safran des indes [French]; tœrmerik [Iceland]; ukon [Japan]; yuquilla [Costa Rica]; zholty imbir [Russia].FAMILY: Zingiberaceae.
USE AS FOOD: A major component of curry powder, providing its color. Sometimes used as an adulterant of mustard.

RANGE: Hawai’i, India, China, Philippines, Java, Malaya, Nepal, and Brazil. Native to India.TOXICITY: Curcumin antioxidants are safe and powerful anti-inflammatory agents. [Miquel 2002, Chainani-Wu 2003] Tumeric is known to be safe in low and moderate doses. The constituent curcumin is not toxic to humans at doses ranging from 8-10 g / day [Cheng 2001, Aggarwal 2003].
In mice, 100 mg / kg / day for 90 days dose of C. longa ethanol extracts had no acute or chronic toxicity [Qureshi 1992].CAUTIONS AND


  • Not in pregnancy.

  • Not with acute jaundice, hepatitis, bile duct obstruction, or gall stones. (Note: in China, the tuber yu jin is considered cooling and is used for damp heat jaundice… your call….)

  • High doses may aggravate the GI system. Not with gastric ulcers or hyperacidity.

  • In China the tuber is not used with Eugenia caryophyllata (ding xiang).

ENERGETIC CAUTIONS: Not in excess pitta. Not with Liver or Gall Bladder Heat. See Cautions above.


‘Ölena is listed in an Assyrian herbal written around 600 BC.
Marco Polo compared the similarities of turmeric to saffron in 1280.
In India, tumeric is stored in 20’ deep pits and can last as long as 3 to 4 years.