Origin: India. Turmeric is the dried underground stem, or rhizome, of a herbaceous tropical plant in the ginger family. In the Western world, the main use of turmeric is to provide the bulk in prepared mustard & curry powder. The phenolic compound curcumin is responsible for turmeric's color. This compound is an excellent antioxidant & is valued in the textile dye industry & in the food industry for its colouring ability.