India is a significant producer of turmeric and commonly used as a spice in Indian cuisine and curries, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Indian traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric for medicine. In India turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its color, and is also used for its supposed value in traditional medicine. In India, turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores, basically for its supposed antimicrobial property. In the Siddha system (since around 1900 BCE) turmeric was a medicine for a range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders. A fresh juice is commonly used in many skin conditions, including eczema, chicken pox, shingles,allergy, and scabies.
The active compound curcumin is believed to have a wide range of biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumour, antibacterial, and antiviral activities, which indicate potential in clinical medicine.