Turmeric is a plant that grows in tropical areas of the world, such as India. Its roots are usually ground into a powder that is used as a spice in cooking. Some people believe that turmeric has medicinal properties as well. Organic turmeric is grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals or genetic modification.
A person can usually find organic turmeric in powdered form in the spice aisle of natural foods stores or at an online grocery store. It may be sold prepackaged in jars or in bulk, where a customer measures out the exact amount he wants and purchases the spice by weight. Depending on where a person lives, he may be able to find fresh organic turmeric, which resembles ginger. Organic turmeric also comes in capsule, paste, or liquid form for people who want to use it as a medicinal herb.
When used in cooking as a spice, organic turmeric gives foods a slightly peppery taste. Turmeric is usually mixed with other spices into curry powder, though it can also be used on its own. While its taste is subtle, the bright yellow color it gives food is not. It is often added to egg salad to brighten it and may be used in place of the more expensive saffron in some dishes. Turmeric is sometimes known as Indian Saffron because of its ability to dye foods.
Outside the kitchen, organic turmeric can provide health benefits as it may have anti-inflammatory properties. It might also be able to stop the growth of certain cancers, including prostate and breast cancer. Studies done on animals showed that curcumin, a pigment that gives organic turmeric its vibrant color, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric may also help people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. Curcumin may help to produce bilirubin, which can help to protect the brain from oxidization that can lead to Alzheimer's. It may also help break down amyloid proteins that build up in the brain. Amyloid proteins that are not broken down harden into plaques and prevent the brain from operating properly.
Although organic turmeric is safe to use as a spice and as a supplement under most circumstances, it can present risks to certain people. If a person has gallbladder problems, he should avoid using turmeric as a dietary supplement. Additionally, taking too much turmeric can cause a person to experience digestion problems.