During his time as a vagrant wandering along the Silk Road during the High Middle Ages, Marco Polo stumbled across turmeric and noted its similarity to saffron. Not too long thereafter, the vibrant spice found its way to Europe where it was used in medicine to treat ailments of the liver. However, the spice had been widely used across China and India for centuries before its fragrant aroma and bold coloring met the likes of Europeans. Turmeric was originally used as a natural dye, with Buddhist monks using it to dye their distinctly orange robes. While turmeric continues to be used as a spice across much of Asia, it is used in Europe to imitate saffron, hence the name “Indian saffron”, and as a food coloring under the code E 100.