But we need more research. Summary. Turmeric is a spice grown in many Asian countries. Research on curcumin as a cancer treatment is ongoing. It may have side effects if taken in large amounts. What is turmeric? Turmeric is also known as Indian saffron, jiang huang, haridra and haldi. It is a spice grown in many Asian countries. It belongs to the ginger family and is a main ingredient of curry.