Turmeric, (Curcuma longa), perennial herbaceous plant of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), the tuberous rhizomes, or underground stems, of which have been used from antiquity as a condiment, a textile dye, and medically as an aromatic stimulant. In biblical times it was used as a perfume as well as a spice. In the Middle Ages it was called Indian saffron because of its orange-yellow colour. The rhizome has a pepperlike aroma and a somewhat bitter, warm taste. It is the ingredient that colours and flavours prepared mustard and is used in curry powder, relishes, pickles, spiced butters for vegetables, in fish and egg dishes, and with poultry, rice, and pork. In parts of Asia turmeric water is applied as a cosmetic to lend a golden glow to the complexion.