Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Turmeric, the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, a perenial herbaceous plant, belonging to the Ginger family, native to Southern Asia. The ovate tubers are the central portion of the first year's growth, and are known as "bulbs:" the long cylindrical "fingers" are lateral growths. Madras tumeric consists of large round pieces; that from Bengal is darker in colour; and that from Java duller. It is always hard and tough, breaks with a resinous fracture, and ranges in colour from orange to brown. It is cultivated in rich, well-watered soil, an acre yielding 2,000 lbs.; but the exports from India have declined from over 8,000 tons, of which England took half, to 1,400 tons, England taking 226. It has long been used as a condiment, and as a medicine in India, and is an ingredient in curry powder. It is used as an adulterant of mustard; but its employmet as a dye has come to an end. It has an aromatic taste due to an essential oil containing the alcohol turmerol, C19H28O, and its colour is produced by curcumin, C14H14O4. This substance, when pure, forms yellow acid crystals, and paper dyed yellow by a tincture of turmeric turns brown on being moistened with an alkali, drying violet. It is, therefore, a common laboratory test for an alkali.