Turmeric - other uses

An unusual use for turmeric is in the chemistry laboratory. Turmeric goes brown in the presence of alkaline (basic) substances, such as baking powder. Strips of paper soaked in turmeric can therefore be used as an indicator.

Indicator paper

Photo of a chemist working with turmeric.
Turmeric can be used in the chemistry laboratory.

Turmeric is used in the laboratory alongside litmus papers, which turn blue in the presence of alkalis and red in the presence of acids. Turmeric paper was familiar to Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), inventor of the miner's safety lamp.