Turmeric is used most often for its brilliant golden-orange color. It contains the compound curcumin, which is a strong anti-inflammatory. Though it can be substituted for saffron for color, there is no comparison in flavor.
Turmeric is the main ingredient in most curry powders. For thousands of years, turmeric's main use was as a dye. In the Western world, turmeric often serves as a coloring agent for cheese, soups, sauces, butter, margarine, syrups and mustards.