The dried rhizome of a herbaceous plant, turmeric is closely related to ginger. The spice is also sometimes called 'Indian saffron' thanks to its brilliant yellow colour. Indian turmeric has been known to the world since ancient times. Several unique properties of Indian turmeric make it the ideal choice as a food flavour, an effective ingredient in medicines and cosmetics, and as a natural colourant. With its rich curcumin content, which imparts the distinctive yellow colour,
and other inherent qualities, Indian turmeric is considered the best in the world. India is today the largest exporter of turmeric to discerning countries like the Middle East, the UK, USA and Japan. Some of the well-accepted varieties are: 'Alleppey Finger' and 'Erode turmeric' (from Tamil Nadu), 'Rajapore' and 'Sangli turmeric' (from Maharashtra) and 'Nizamabad Bulb' (from Andhra Pradesh). India also exports turmeric in powder form and as oleoresin.