The wild turmeric belongs to the Curcuma genus, which is widely used as a cosmetic in South Asia. This pretty ginger has stout rhizomes that are underground, which remain dormant in winter. With pinkish-white flowers and an orange lip, the inflorescence appears in spring, before the leaves spring out, with the stalk growing up to 10 inches tall and when they are fully grown, can reach to about 3 ft in height. The leaves are decorative, elliptic and broad. The flower has a vase life of about 10 days and the rhizomes are used in villages to flavour curries. This herbaceous plant is perennial and reproduces in clumps.
The rhizome is pungent and bitter and helps improve digestion. When ground into a powder, it is a potent substitute for turmeric.
It is a medicinal herb, having strong antibiotic properties and in Chinese medicine is known to prevent cancer. The species are predominantly used in cancer therapy because the herb has the ability to eliminate cell accumulations (like tumours). There are also several aromatic volatile oils that have the capacity to remove excessive lipids.
The Curcuma aromatica is found in the warm Western Ghat forests of India besides the eastern Himalayas.