What is Turmeric?
When the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaiʻi, they brought their most important plants with them—plants for food, medicine, dyes, and others necessary for everyday needs. One of these was Turmeric, or ʻolena, which means ‘yellow’ in Hawaiian. The roots of ʻOlena were a source of yellow dye, as well as an important medicine for ear ache and lung trouble. A member of the ginger family, it is fragrant, with a warm, earthy flavor. Turmeric, “the poor man’s saffron”, is the dominant flavor and color in curries, and is found from India to Polynesia. It also appears to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties¹.