The origin of the name ‘Turmeric’ has an interesting background. It possibly derived from Middle English or Early Modern English as turmeryte or tarmaret. It may be of Latin origin, terra merita (“meritorious earth”). The name of the genus, Curcuma, is derived from the Sanskrit kuṅkuma, referring to turmeric, used in India since ancient times.
Marco Polo described this spice in his travelogue, The Million (1280). In the middle age, people used to call turmeric as the ‘Indian Saffron’ as it was a less expensive alternative to saffron. The twist with names doesn’t end here. Of all spices found in India, it is known as the golden spice of the nation because of its brilliant yellow color. The city of Erode in Tamil Nadu is the world’s largest producer of turmeric. The city is often referred to as “Yellow City” or “Turmeric City.”
There is some good news with turmeric. A study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition. In another study, Kansas State University researchers discovered that adding turmeric to meat can reduce the levels of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) by up to 40 percent. HCAs form on chicken and meat when cooked over high heat, like in grilling. Consumption of HCAs is linked to higher rates of cancer.