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Bring out that jar of turmeric

Turmeric is that yellow spice you may use only once or twice a year. According to the culinary world and many western herbalists, this spice should today be front and center on a regular basis. It’s having a moment.

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma, a perennial plant that is part of the ginger family. It is native to India and best known for the bold yellow-orange color that it gives to curry. It has been used in Asia for thousands of years. By 800 A.D. the cultivation and trading of turmeric had spread over much of Asia, including China, and Africa. By the 18th century, as turmeric became increasingly popular, it spread to Jamaica and was cultivated in other tropical locations. India remains the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric.

Before turmeric was commonly used as spice for food, it was used as a natural dye for skin and clothing, in religious rituals, making paper and as a medicine. The saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with tur...

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