What is Kandhamal Turmeric? All About This Golden Spice

04/15/2024 | Written by Kate Tant
Organic Kandhamal turmeric supplement with fresh turmeric on dark table.

Deep in the heart of a remote area in eastern India lies a forested territory famous for its unique variety of turmeric—Kandhamal Turmeric. What is Kandhamal turmeric? Among the various varieties grown worldwide, this type of turmeric stands out for its distinctive flavor profile, exceptional quality, and incredible health benefits. 

But that’s not the only thing that makes this variety special. Kandhamal turmeric possesses a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, ensuring its farmers get fair prices for their turmeric. At ORGANIC INDIA, we source indigenous organic Kandhamal Haldi, a variety of turmeric grown by local farmers in Odisha’s highly remote Kandhamal district. 

Let’s take a closer look at this heritage spice and its benefits.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is a staple in holistic health practices and an integral part of Ayurveda. Turmeric was used as a culinary spice and therapeutic herb in the Vedic culture of India, dating back thousands of years. It’s a perennial plant that belongs to the ginger family and is native to India and Southeast Asia.

Turmeric thrives in a tropical climate with warm temperatures and lots of rainfall. The plant grows about three feet tall with large leaves and produces a thickly branched aromatic rhizome root, like ginger. The growing season for turmeric is about eight months long, with the harvest taking place from December to February. 

Turmeric is mildly fragrant with hints of orange and ginger. Its warm, bitter taste and pepper-like flavor are used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Its distinctive bright yellow-orange color is often used as a dye to add color to curry, cheese, and mustard. Beyond its culinary uses, turmeric is widely used in Chinese and Ayurvedic therapeutic practices to ease digestive issues and support a healthy inflammatory response. 

Kandhamal haldi turmeric powder in ceramic vessel nearby fresh cut turmeric root.

What makes Kandhamal turmeric special?

With over 50 cultivated varieties of turmeric available, what makes Kandhamal turmeric unique? Aside from its incredible flavor and restorative properties is its highly revered history. 

Its name comes from the Kandhamal district of Odisha, where this specific herb is grown as the main cash crop. The farmers in this highly remote region of India have been growing turmeric organically for generations in the forests and hills. Today, the local people who grow kandhamal turmeric still use traditional cultivation methods

In April 2019, Kandhamal turmeric was issued a geographical indication (GI) tag to protect it further, acknowledging the spice’s history and the farmers who grow it. It has earned the GI tag partly because of its richness in curcumin and higher oleoresin and volatile oil content than other varieties. 

Turmeric oleoresin is an extract of turmeric, like an essential oil, used for flavoring and coloring. Volatile oils in spices are found in all parts of the plant, including the leaf, seed, stem, and root. These volatile oils contain chemical compounds that give the spice its natural characteristic flavor and aroma. Because of its high oleoresin and volatile oil content, Kandhamal turmeric is beloved for its potency, quality, and fragrant aroma. 

What Is a Geographical Indication (GI) Tag?

A geographical indication tag is a label or sign used on products to show their specific geographical origin and that there is a clear link between the product and its original location of production. It is generally used for agricultural products, textiles, and wine. It helps producers to differentiate their products from competing products on the market. 

A GI tag affirms the reputation and authority of the crop and enables the farmers to receive a premium market price. This, in turn, provides the farmers with a better income and livelihood and helps consumers recognize an authentic product. The GI Tag official slogan is, “Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India.”

In India, the Geographical Indication Registry under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, issues GI tags per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999. A lengthy application and registration must be completed before a GI tag is issued.  

Benefits of Kandhamal Turmeric

Turmeric has been a cornerstone of Ayurveda for over 4,000 years, addressing various concerns, from digestive discomforts to supporting cognition and enhancing moods. Researchers have shown that turmeric’s main active compound, curcumin, is the key element to its powerful benefits. Kandhamal turmeric has a higher level of curcumin than other varieties. 

Kandhamal turmeric is rich in antioxidants, making it a robust spice for boosting immune function. Here are a few of Kandhamal turmeric’s benefits: 

  • helps support a healthy inflammatory response and protects joint health
  • boosts the production of antioxidative enzymes to support healthy immune function
  • may increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and assist in memory and cognitive function
  • may have cardio-protective effects as it enhances the flow of blood through the vessels
  • supports digestion by soothing the digestive tract

One challenge of turmeric is that the body does not easily absorb curcumin. To increase turmeric’s potency and maximum absorption, pair turmeric with black pepper. When combined with curcumin, a substance called piperine in black pepper can improve bioavailability. 

It’s always better to get nutrients from whole food sources whenever possible, but supplemental formulas like ORGANIC INDIA’S Turmeric Formula can help support your overall health. 

Turmeric root adds a depth of flavor and pleasing color to Thai and Asian cuisine. It can also be added to soups and stews. Another favorite way to add turmeric—and a dash of rejuvenation—to your daily regimen is with a Golden Chai Latte or Turmeric Tea

Golden latte made with kandhamal haldi high quality turmeric root.

The Ethical and Sustainable Farming Practices of Kandhamal Turmeric

A commitment to ethical and sustainable farming practices is at the center of Kandhamal turmeric’s story. Kandhamal turmeric is entirely organic. The farmers in Odisha have been stewards of the land for generations, employing organic farming practices that enrich and sustain the land and protect its environment. 

Today, as many as 40,000 households in the district are involved in growing and processing Kandhamal turmeric, still using traditional organic farming practices. By partnering with these farmers, ORGANIC INDIA extends a commitment to preserving traditional farming practices and supporting the local economy. 

How ORGANIC INDIA Supports Kandhamal Turmeric Farmers

ORGANIC INDIA is pleased to partner with turmeric farmers in the Kandhamal district in the state of Odisha, India, to help bring their legacy product to the world. Due to the remote area and physical distance from distributing channels, it has been extremely difficult for these farmers to access global markets. 

Even though Kandhamal turmeric received its favorable GI tag in 2019, factors such as the global pandemic and lockdown restrictions prohibited the farmers from marketing and selling their crops. And those who could sell did so at a meager market price. 

Our support of these turmeric farmers is a commitment to uplifting the communities and bringing age-old traditions to the forefront of holistic health practices. By overcoming the challenge of distance and global market access, we ensure that these resilient farmers are able to share their legacy turmeric with people worldwide. 

By choosing ORGANIC INDIA turmeric products, you’re partnering with us to help preserve the remarkable resilience of Kandhamal turmeric farmers and conserve the traditional farming practices of generations of organic farmers. Together, we’ll continue to bring this legacy spice to the world. 

About the Author: Kate Tant

Kate Tant is a professional health and wellness writer with a strong passion for holistic wellness. Her writing covers topics from Ayurvedic herbs and practices to nontoxic living and intermittent fasting. She is dedicated to helping and encouraging individuals seeking natural solutions to their health. Learn more about Kate at