Native to southern India and Indonesia, turmeric is widely cultivated on the mainland and in the islands of the Indian Ocean. In ancient times it was used as a perfume as well as a spice. It has a pepper like aroma and a somewhat bitter warm taste and has a strong staining orange-yellow color. It is the ingredient that colors and flavors prepared mustard and is used in curry powder, relishes, pickles, and spiced butters for vegetables, in fish and egg dishes, and with poultry, rice, and pork. In parts of Asia turmeric water is applied as a cosmetic to lend a golden glow to the complexion. Reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is sometimes consumed as a tea or in pill form for a variety of ailments, including arthritis and intestinal problems.