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Description | Overview | History | Cultivation pattern | Turmeric producing countries | Indian turmeric market | Major trading centers

Turmeric is a 5000 years old herb, that belongs to, Zingiberaceae,the family of Ginger. Its rootstalk, in powdered form, is used as a spice (also a dye) throughout the world. This tropical herb plant is usually 3 to 5 feet in height having flowers of dull yellow color and is largely cultivated in the parts of Southeast Asia. Turmeric as spice is deep yellow in color having a pungent flavor. To convert it into a powdered form, the rootstalk is boiled, dried, cleaned and polished and then powdered.


Turmeric is one of the oldest spices and had been used in India since ages. That is why it is said that this spice belongs to India and also called ‘Indian saffron’. It is used in many Hindu rituals even now and Indians tend to be attached to it emotionally. It is also used as a medicine for stomachaches and disorders. This is because of this bonding only that India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of this spice. The world production of turmeric stands at around 800000 tons in which India hold a share of approximately 75-80%. Also India consumes around 80% of its own production. The major turmeric exporting countries constitutes: -
  • India
  • Thailand
  • Other Southeast Asian countries
  • Central and Latin American countries
  • Taiwan

The major importing countries of turmeric are: -

  • Japan

  • Sri Lanka

  • Iran

  • United Arab Emirates

  • United States

  • United Kingdom

  • Ethiopia



The exact origin of turmeric is unidentified but it is said that it originated in the parts of western India. It has been used in India for 5000 years now. Initially it was cultivated as a dye as its bright yellow color works as a coloring agent. Then with time people came to know about its developed uses and they started using it for cosmetic purposes and then as a medicine. Turmeric reached China by 700AD, East Africa by 800AD and West Africa by 1200AD and started becoming popular through out the world.

  The Arab traders took turmeric to Europe in 13th century. Marco Polo was so impressed by turmeric that he mentioned it as a vegetable that has properties of saffron, but it is not really saffron. Ancient Indian medical literature, Ayurveda also mentions about turmeric being an extremely effective herb for stomach disorders and food poisonin