Turmeric (Curcuma longa), is native to southern Asia and a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It is a tall perennial tropical herb with large, oblong leaves, yellow to white flowers, and a cluster of thick orange rhizome roots The name Curcuma is derived from the Arabic word for saffron kurkum.
The part of the plant used is the rhizomes. Once they have been collected, they are cleaned, boiled and sun-dried for a week. Then they are polished and are ready for further processing. They are ground for use in a medicine, as a culinary spice, or as a dye. The essential oil is steam distilled from the rhizomes and has a fresh, warm, spicy, earthy, rooty aroma. Turmeric essential oil is used by the Perfume Industry in the creation of Oriental type fragrances. Some studies have shown it to have excellent insect repellent, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
The major chemical components of Turmeric essential oil are the Ketones, Tumerone, ar-Tumerone at up to 60% and the Sesquiterpene, Zingiberene at around 25%.
On a physiological level, Turmeric has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, digestive, restorative properties and can be helpful for arthritis, muscle aches and pains, rheumatism pains, digestive problems, bruises and some skin disorders.
Psychologically, Turmeric is considered to be helpful for confusion and anxiety.
On a subtle level, it has excellent grounding properties and helps one feel present and in charge.
Cautions: Because of the high ketone content avoid prolonged use and with babies, children, and during pregnancy. According to Tisserand and Young, due to the cardiovascular effects, there is a possibility of a drug interaction with antidiabetic medication and digestive problems.