The Kingdom of Thailand is funding a project to extract and isolate chemical compounds from turmeric for use as skin-lightening, anti-inflammatory, and antioxident agents in cosmetic formulations. Turmeric is currently used in a popular skin cream manufactured by Vicco Labs of India, which claims that turmeric prevents the penetration of ultra violet rays of the sun into the skin (I rely only on FDA-approved sunscreens).
This article dovetails nicely with two articles "A passion for cardamon" and "A passion for sandalwood" from the March 2004 archive of this blog. Turmeric (called haldi in Hindi) is a main ingredient in Indian cuisine; in fact, it's what gives curry its yellowish color. However, tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC), the chemical compounds to be extracted through the Thai project are colorless.
Turmeric is related to ginger and in its raw form, looks very much like ginger root.
I found out about this article through Marlene Eskin's CosmeticIndustry.com monthly newsletter sent by Email. Marlene has been a supporter of The Style Page over the years and I encourage everyone to subscribe to her newsletter.