An East Indian plant that is a member of the ginger family and is used as a spice and food color. It is a major ingredient found in curry powder. The underground stem of the turmeric plant has been used for many years in traditional Asian medicine to treat certain conditions. The substance in turmeric that gives it a yellow color is called curcumin, which may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Turmeric can be made into a capsule, tablet, extract, powder, or tea and taken by mouth as a dietary supplement. It can also be made into a paste to treat skin conditions. Turmeric is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa. Also called Indian saffron and jiang huang.