Tumeric is used in cooking to add a subtle earthy flavor to a variety of foods, often dishes that derive from Indian cuisine, according to EatingWell. Tumeric is usually found in spice blends containing curry and citrus because these spices enhance the musky flavor of turmeric.
Tumeric can be mixed with butter and rubbed under the skin of chicken to add flavor, and it can be added to cooking oil when sautéing garlic or onions, according to Cooking Light. Tumeric can also be combined with lentils or stirred into omelets or other egg dishes as is the custom in India and Nepal. The spice adds an aesthetically pleasing yellow color to foods. EatingWell notes that typical dishes containing turmeric include Indian curries, spiced couscous, legumes, yogurt dips and roasted cauliflower. Tumeric is often found in prepared mustard, chutney and relish, and Dr. Weil notes that it can be consumed as a tea.
Tumeric is in the same spice family as ginger, according to Dr. Weil. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties and may help arthritis and joint pain. The spice contains curcumin, which functions as an antioxidant, lowers cholesterol and stimulates the appetite. Tumeric is also used to alleviate common cold symptoms, depression and jaundice. Tumeric has been harvested for at least 5,000 years and is native to India and Indonesia.