Where does turmeric traditionally come from?

Turmeric, the golden spice, can be found in grocery stores and health food shops the world over. If you’re anything like us, you will have stood there as you’re throwing a pouch into your trolley, and thought ‘where does that actually come from?’ In the course of this article, we’re going to take you through where turmeric comes from, how it’s produced, and where it’s grown!

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae

Where does the turmeric plant come from?

The turmeric plant is a member of the ginger family and produces some of the most beautiful flowers we’ve ever seen. The plant itself is known as Curcuma longa, and the roots are where the precious turmeric powder starts life.

The plant is a perennial rhizomatous, herbaceous plant that is native to the Indian subcontinent, as well as southeast Asia. For it to grow properly, it really needs temperatures of between twenty and thirty celsius, though it can happily grow in warmer conditions than that. The plant also needs a considerable amount of rain to truly thrive, so the semi-regular monsoons which occur in regions to which turmeric is native are, in some ways, ideal.

The plant itself is fairly hardy, so although it’s mainly native to India, it has spread across the world as time has gone on. It is now commonly grown in China and Africa as well and is a common component of food in those regions.

A worthwhile thing to consider about these more widespread turmeric plants is that they may not, truly, be authentic turmeric. There are a large number of plants that are grown, harvested, and sold as turmeric in several parts of Asia which, while they are from a similar species, are not true, authentic turmeric as can be found in India. We’re proud to say that the turmeric we sell is one hundred percent authentic Indian turmeric.

Madparadiso Turmeric root powder

Where and how is turmeric manufactured?

The turmeric plant produces a number of thick roots in the earth, similar to how a potato plant grows the tubers it produces. These roots are known as rhizomes and are the source of the turmeric powder that you can buy in the supermarket.

For the Indian method, In order to extract the powder, the rhizomes are typically boiled in a solution of sodium bicarbonate for forty to forty-five minutes. They are then removed from the solution, skinned, and thoroughly dried until they reach roughly five to ten percent hydration. Finally, the processed rhizomes are ground until extremely fine and then packaged, ready for selling.

The vast majority of the world’s turmeric production happens in India, along with 80% of the world’s consumption. Turmeric is also produced in other countries, where the method may vary slightly.

Turmeric is a wonderful, almost mystical, plant that has a whole host of health benefits. By demystifying it bit by bit, we can start to appreciate the underlying science behind both growing turmeric and manufacturing it. From that, we can understand how, exactly, it can help us and our various health needs. We hope that you’ve been able to learn something from this little article, please consider taking a look at our authentic Indian turmeric powder!