There is a good reason why turmeric is a popular spice in India, Asia and all around the world.
Turmeric has a wide range of benefits and uses to your skin, hair, and health, thanks to its high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory content.
If you haven’t included turmeric in your diet (and beauty routine), yet, you should start now!
Not sure why?
This post will answer the following questions for you:
- What is turmeric?
- What are the benefits of turmeric to your health, skin, and hair?
- How to use turmeric in your daily life? (Fun facemasks and yummy recipes to try!)
- Are there any side effects?
- Where do you buy turmeric?
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a Rhizoma from the ginger family. It has many names, depending on where you live, commonly known as Haldi in India, also named curcumin, turmeric roots, Indian saffron, and many others.
You might have used it in one of the curries when cooking an Indian dish. Still, this is only one of the many uses of turmeric, which I will come to later in this post.
Turmeric was first used in India and Southeast Asia, mostly for dyeing and cooking. Then people started using it in traditional medicine. In India, they have also used it in the haldi ceremony at Hindu weddings. As well as being used in China for curing many diseases.
Turmeric powder has a warm, bitter, pepper-like flavor and earthy, mustard-like aroma.
Are Turmeric and Curcumin the same?
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. Curcumin has compelling anti-inflammatory benefits and is a very strong anti-oxidant.
Curcumin only makes 3-5% of turmeric; still, by including turmeric in your diet, you could supply your body with a wide range of nutrients.
Turmeric Nutrition Facts
Before digging deep into the benefits that turmeric could bring to your life, let’s check the nutritive value of turmeric.
Since it is loaded with anti-oxidants and minerals, turmeric is considered as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer food.Notice that turmeric is rich in B6, B3, B2, C, and E, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Not to mention that it is rich in fibers, too.
Here is a list of its benefits to your skin, hair, and health.
Benefits of Turmeric for Your Health
Cure High Cholesterol
One of the proven uses of turmeric is to treat high cholesterol.
“Taking turmeric extract by mouth twice daily for three months reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides in overweight people with high cholesterol.“
On the other hand, there are health conditions that have no sufficient evidence . Still, taking turmeric on a regular basis could help improve your overall health condition, and might help with the following conditions:
- Liver Damage
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Joint pain
- Antidepressants (Prozac)
- Arthritis medications
- Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
Turmeric Benefits for Your Skin
Thanks to the many anti-oxidants present in turmeric, Turmeric has been used in beauty regimens for ages.
Here is what turmeric is good for, and how to use it for your skin.
Benefit #1 Cures Dermatitis
Since turmeric is rich in Niacin (B3 vitamin), it helps cure dermatitis (also known as eczema).
Dehydrated skin is prone to eczema, which causes the skin to become very dry, itchy, red, cracked, and may suffer from inflammation.
One helpful homemade recipe is by using a mixture of turmeric and coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer for the skin, while turmeric gives relief for itchiness.
- 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil.
- 1 Teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Melt coconut oil in a double boiler
- Mix coconut oil with turmeric to form a paste.
- Apply to the affected area; make sure it cools down before applying.
- Leave on for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- For better results, apply shea butter (shea butter reduces itchiness and moisturizes the dry skin).
Benefit #2 Healing Wounds
Since Turmeric is an antibacterial agent, it helps small wounds heal faster by keeping bacterial infections at bay.
Mix turmeric and water to form a paste, then apply to the clean wound area. You can also use it for small-burned skin areas.
Benefit#3 Anti-aging Effect
One of the most famous celebrations in India is the “Haldi” ceremony in which a mixture containing turmeric is applied to the bride and groom face and body.
On the other hand, a study found that Curcumin can counteract inflammation which is responsible for aging (according to that study).
You can use this mixture to fight premature aging, and to give your skin a boost of antioxidants, including vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes the formation of collagen in your skin; more collagen, fewer wrinkles!
- Besan flour (also known as Gram flour or chickpea flour).
- Raw milk.
- Turmeric powder.
- Mix equal parts of besan and raw milk, add turmeric (haldi) powder to form a paste.
- Apply this paste to your face and body preferably while you are in the shower to avoid making a mess.
- Wait until it dries.
- Scrub your skin gently in circular motion, then rinse off with water, and take a bath as usual.
This simple homemade remedy will exfoliate your skin, remove all dead skin, and supplies your skin with anti-oxidants.
Tip: Extreme exfoliating makes your skin very sensitive; make sure you do not overdo it. And always moisturize your skin afterward.
Benefit #4 Lighten Stretch Marks
Fact: applying butter to your tummy during pregnancy is vital for avoiding those ugly stretch marks.
What if you have not?
There are always natural remedies that could save your life and help you avoid complicated treatments and medications with side effects. Here is a homemade turmeric remedy for stretch marks.
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon of besan flour (also known as Gram flour or chickpea flour).
- 2-3 tablespoons of raw milk (rose water or yogurt).
- Mix the ingredients to form a paste.
- You may add more of milk, rose water, or yogurt if the mixture is very dry.
- Apply to your skin, let dry completely, and scrub gently.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water, and pat dry.
- Repeat daily until you get the desired result.
Benefit #5 Turmeric Lightens Pigmentation, Acne Scars, and Contributes to a Natural Skin Glow
Thanks to its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, turmeric helps to reduce scarring.
When using it regularly, it will even out your skin tone and provide a natural glow and luster to your skin.
To make turmeric facemask to lighten your skin (and remove skin tan) you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (yogurt is a natural exfoliator that will help remove all dead skin and reveal healthy glowing skin)
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- [Optional] 1 drop lemon essential oil or fresh lemon juice to brighten your skin.
- Mix ingredients.
- Apply to your skin, leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse.
- Use gentle circular motion to scrub off all dirt and dead skin cells.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
- Apply twice a week for best results.
Benefit #6 Heal Wounds
Thanks to turmeric’s astringent effect, it helps heal wounds faster. It also improves skin’s elasticity, i.e., younger-looking skin.
Another factor that helps wounds heal faster is that turmeric decreases inflammation.
A scientific paper states that curcumin has a significant impact on the healing process of wounds. It could help tissue formation, remodeling, and wound contraction.
Benefit #7 Turmeric Cures Acne
When excess oil and dead skin cells clog your skin pores, your skin becomes prone to acne. Other causes of acne include hormone imbalances, poor diet, stress, certain medications, and smoking.
While sebum helps the epidermis to retain moisture and keep your skin soft and supple, too much oil could be problematic.
A study suggests,
“A cream of turmeric extract can potentially be used to regulate sebum production in human skin. Persons with excessively oily skin or are suffering from acne will greatly benefit from it”.
The research continues to state that fatty acids in turmeric are responsible for regulating the excess production of sebum, in other words, making your skin less prone to acne.
Here is an easy face mask recipe for acne-prone skin.
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.
- 1 tablespoon of chickpea powder.
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- a touch of water
- Mix ingredients well.
- Apply to your skin and leave on until it dries.
- Rinse with water and pat dry
Another face pack, which will help keep acne away, uses sandalwood paste, which is famous in India, usually used to reduce inflammation from mild skin irritation such as wounds, pimples.
- Sandalwood paste (freshly prepared paste from pure sandalwood bar).
- A few drops of fresh orange juice.
- Mix ingredients well.
- Apply to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes.
- Wait until it dries, then rinse with warm water.
Benefit #8 Heal Cracked Heels
Not only could turmeric help heal your cracked heels faster, but also it makes your heels feel soft and smooth.
- 2 tablespoons castor oil (or coconut oil).
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder.
- Make a paste using turmeric and the oil of your choice.
- Apply this mixture to your cracked heels and areas where your skin has become excessively dry like your elbows and knees.
- Leave for 15 minutes, and then wash with warm water.
Turmeric Benefits for Hair
Benefit #9 Turmeric Controls Dandruff & Hair Loss
Scalp infections and dandruff could be responsible for hair loss. So to have healthy looking hair, it is important to remember that a healthy scalp means healthy hair, too.
Curcumin (the active component in turmeric) could help cure any infection, itching, or other scalp problems that cause hair loss.
Turmeric Hair Mask
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil.
- Turmeric powder.
- Warm olive oil and add a pinch of turmeric powder.
- Apply to your scalp, massage your scalp, and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
- Shampoo your hair as usual.
Benefit #10 Facial Hair Control
This is the most misunderstood benefit of turmeric.
Many have asked me about it in the comments section below, and it was one reason why I updated this post.
So we need to clear things first before digging deep into the recipes you could use:
- You should know that there is NO one solution that gets rid of the body and facial hair forever.
- Laser treatments are the most efficient way so far.
- Natural remedies and regular hair remover could help slow the process of hair growth. But there is no evidence that they could stop hair growth completely.
- Woman’s facial hair (and body hair) is usually fine, unlike men’s hair which is thick. So, applying turmeric to men’s skin will not stop their hair from growing. Men will not lose their beard hair or chest hair.
- When using turmeric remedies for facial and body hair, you will need to scrub your skin when the mask dries; that will help remove the hairs. When using this remedy for months, hair will start to grow slower, same as using waxing. The reason for that is pulling the hair from the skin while scrubbing will weaken the follicles, and it will not be able to grow hair as fast as it used to.
Now to the recipe, I prefer to use this recipe in the bathroom since turmeric could stain everything.
Turmeric Facemask to Slow Facial Hair Growth
- 1/4 tablespoon of haldi (turmeric powder)
- 1 tablespoon of gram flour.
- Water to make a paste.
- Mix turmeric powder with gram flour, and then gradually add water to form a paste.
- Apply the paste to your face and body, and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Remove using a circular motion. Scrubbing will pull off fine hairs on your face once the mask is dry, and that will help get rid of unwanted hair on your face.
Other Ways to Use Turmeric in your Daily Life
In addition to using turmeric on your skin and hair, there are several ways that you could benefit from it and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
#1 Turmeric supplements (or curcumin supplements)
Curcumin supplements give better results when combined with black pepper, so try to look for supplements that contain black pepper extract.
Turmeric roots and powder
Most recipes use turmeric in its powder form; still, in India, they also use fresh turmeric roots in some recipes.
Turmeric Recipes and Tips
There are lots of ways that you could include turmeric in your diet; there are smoothies, seasoning meat and chicken, turmeric tea, sprinkling some on hummus, and when making soup. Choices are endless.
I like to add it to most of my rice dishes, it has a mild flavor, so it will not alter the result that I am looking for, but it will add nutritional value to my dishes.
I also use turmeric for marinating chicken and meat along with other spices.
What is the secret ingredient that will improve turmeric absorption?
Curcumin is poorly absorbed by your body on its own. To enjoy the benefits of this yellow spice, you need to add black pepper or fat-soluble bases like milk or coconut oil. This will ensure that your body will absorb a much larger quantity, thus get the most of what you eat.
Recipe #1 Turmeric Milk (Golden Milk or Haldi Doodh)
- 1-inch raw turmeric root (or 1-teaspoon turmeric powder).
- 1 glass of milk
- Honey (or a sweetener of your choice).
- Put the turmeric piece in a saucepan.
- Add milk and let it boil for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the milk and pour into a glass.
- Add honey and enjoy the golden milk while it is warm.
Recipe #2 Turmeric Tea
The traditional Indian turmeric tea recipe consists of turmeric and water, flavored with honey, ginger, or lemon juice.
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk (almond milk or raw milk, to increase the absorption of turmeric).
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger peeled and grated.
- Pinch of black pepper.
- Pour water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add turmeric and ginger to the boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Warm coconut milk in another pan, add black pepper and honey and stir well.
- Add the coconut milk to the turmeric and ginger mixture.
- Turn off the heat and enjoy a cup of creamy turmeric tea.
Recipe #3 Turmeric Broth Recipe
When cooking chicken, I like to prepare a delicious broth that works great as a base for soups.
I like to add turmeric to my broth for an additional flavor, color, and benefits. You can also store the broth leftovers for future use.
Tip: Add turmeric just before you turn off the heat when making broth since curcumin loses its benefits when exposed to heat for a long time.
Tip: Add a sprinkle of turmeric to your breakfast egg, an omelet, or a scrambled egg.
Tip: Add a teaspoon of turmeric to your soup, dips, and sauce for extra flavor and color.
How to store turmeric?
Store in a cool, dark place, like an opaque, airtight container.
Turmeric Side Effects
Taking turmeric has no side effects if taken in moderation. If you add turmeric to your dishes or apply a teaspoon of turmeric paste to your skin for a short time, there is nothing to worry about.
Nevertheless, if you encounter any stomach upset or skin rashes, you should then stop using turmeric.
Special precautions and Warnings: [Source]
- Pregnant women should never take turmeric in medicinal amounts during pregnancy.
- Curcumin might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. So use in caution.
- Turmeric might cause stomach upset for people with suffering from reflux disease (GERD).
- Some people are allergic to turmeric, so before using it on your face, test turmeric on your forearm, apply a dime-sized amount and wait 24 to 48 hours to see if you react. If your skin becomes red, itchy, or uncomfortable, do not apply turmeric on your face.
- Turmeric may stain your skin. To get rid of the yellow tone, use a clean piece of cloth, dip in milk, and gently scrub your skin. Then wash off with water.
Where to Buy Turmeric?
You can find turmeric powder in Indian grocery stores and the Spices & Seasonings section at Whole Foods. You can also order turmeric online.
Do you cook with turmeric? What is your favorite recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
This is Chetana, an Amateur Makeup artist from India and Founder of StyleCraze.com – India’s largest beauty network. I am completely addicted to Makeup & beauty especially the Color play and the process involved.
This post was updated by Dima Al Mahsiri