Mānoa Heritage Center



ʻŌlena (Turmeric)

Curcuma longa

Polynesian Introduction

This seasonal plant disappears from our garden (except for its tubers) during winter months. Turmeric is in the ginger family. In ancient Hawaiʻi, this plant was used in medicine, religion, and as a yellow ochre-colored dye for kapa. The underground rhizomes have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and were used to treat infections and swelling.