Turmeric Materia Medica 

Curcuma longa

Turmeric needs little introduction.  A common kitchen spice, it is a staple in Indian cuisine.  A powerful herbal ally, it is a staple for many herbalists.  Turmeric is a tonic herb that can be taken everyday and since it is food-like, it is generally considered safe.  It has become most famous of late as a anti-inflammatory and the more we realize the role inflammation plays in many chronic diseases, the more we look to turmeric to help.  From diabetes to cardiovascular complaints to arthritis, turmeric is a powerful plant ally.

It loves hot growing conditions and so lucky us, living in HotLanta!


A perennial plant that is native to the Indian subcontinent.  Leaves: Tall, simple, oblong leaves. Flowers: gorgeous spike of yellow/ white flowers. Roots: technicallyl, the roots are small hairs that grow out of the more bulbous rhizome which is the part we actually use. 


Rhizomes (another word for underground stem).  We would commonly call this the root!


Plant an organic root from the grocery store! Likes sandy, well-drained soil and tropical climates, so can be grown in Georgia’s hot and humid growing season as an annual and harvested in fall. Can be grown as perennial if brought inside during winter.


Harvest roots in the Autumn after the first frost


bitter, resinous


anti-inflammatory, antioxidant; bitter, digestive; antimicrobial; hepatic, hypolipidemic


cardio-vascular, hepatic, musculo-skelatal, digestive, skin


  • Inflammation: General inflammation or chronic conditions with inflammatory ramifications, such as diabetes (see Suga’ Fix Powder ), cardiovascular disease, arthritis (see Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules)
  • Strains and Sprains: an extremely effective anti-inflammatory herb, great for muscular strains and sprains.  Most often taken as a capsule for this. Can be used alongside over the counter anti-inflammatories as well. (See Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules)
  • Skin: acne, infected wounds
  • Digestion: sluggish digestion (bitter), trouble digesting fats (see Aromatic Bitters)
  • Cardio-vascular: high cholesterol, artherosclerosis, cardio


  • Cook with it! Combining it with both a fat/oil and with spices such as Black Pepper or Fenugreek can improve our digestion and absorption of the curcuminoids. (See Winter Soup + Stock, Fire Cider)
  • Capsule: Again, combining with a pinch of black pepper or fenugreek (per Kerry Bone from Mediherb) will increase our absorption of the curcuminoids. (See Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules)
  • Tincture: in alcohol due to high resin content.  Turmeric doesn’t tincture as well in Glycerine.
  • Powder: easily included in powder blends. Suga’ Fix Powder


  • To increase absorption: always pair either with black pepper, long pepper (traditional in Ayurvedic Medicine), or fenugreek (per Kerry Bone of MediHerb).
  • Anti-inflammatory Support: with Ginger, Rosemary, Berberine containing plants, etc. (See Inflam Re-Leaf Capsules)
  • Digestion: with other bitters (gentian or motherwort) and aromatic carminatives (ginger, cardamom, orange peel, fennel, etc.)  (See Aromatic Bitters)


  • Acne + Wound Care: Turmeric can be used for its antiinflammatory and antisceptic properties externally.  However – the strong pigment will stain the skin (temporarily) and clothing (more permanently) so beware!  But you can simply make a paste from the powder or use the tincture or oil infusion mixed into other salves for an effective dressing.


  • With other wound care herbs such as Licorice, Yarrow and Calendula. 


  • Food like and general considered safe.  
  • Caution with biliary blockages and gallstones