Asian cultures have long known the unique benefits of turmeric and have used it in medicine for centuries. In modern times, turmeric has been proven to help prevent and fight various diseases such as cancer. This superfood has been used in many forms, from powder to essential oil and straight from the root itself. While turmeric powder is largely used for cooking, turmeric oil can be used in topical treatments, beauty regimens, and even aromatherapy.
Turmeric oil provides benefits for the skin and face that are beyond belief. With its range of incredible uses, it is no wonder why turmeric in Latin literally means “sacred earth”. It can help minimize angry acne symptoms, reduce skin blemishes, and even help smooth aging lines and wrinkles. Filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, it’s a great ingredient to add to your DIY skin care products.
So, now you know that turmeric is not only used to give your curry a great flavor, let’s have a look at what turmeric oil is, the different ways you can use it, and how to start reaping the benefits.
What Exactly is Turmeric Oil?
Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant of the ginger family. It is nicknamed “the golden spice” due to the bright orange color of its roots. The plant is packed with phytochemicals which are natural plant-based components that help support overall health.
Turmeric has been found to be surprisingly effective in fighting cancer. Research has shown that the molecules in turmeric contain cancer preventatives. Moreover, turmeric also contains other healthful components such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and even antibiotics.
The benefits of turmeric are seemingly endless. Turmeric root has a long history of being used for a variety of wellness and health purposes. From cooking, to medicine, to religious ceremonies, turmeric is believed to strengthen the whole body. And those ancient practices weren’t wrong – from preventing neurological diseases to boosting the immune system to reducing heart problems, turmeric root benefits extend throughout the whole body. Likewise, turmeric oil shares many of the same benefits as its root.
Turmeric oil comes from the turmeric plant’s tuberous underground roots. The oil is extracted from the roots and has a spicy or woody scent. Breathing in vaporized turmeric oil produces a calming effect throughout the body. Turmeric oil can also be used to treat certain conditions such as acne and sunburn. It also has anti-aging benefits when used on skin.
Exploring the Top Turmeric Root Benefits
The extraordinary benefits of turmeric for the body and mind are especially impressive. To think that a single natural plant can host both cancer-fighting agents as well as relief from depression — among many other things — is incredible.
When talking on this subject, you will often hear not only the name “turmeric” but also “curcumin”. You’ve possibly heard them being used together, or maybe even interchangeably. Curcumin is actually one of the many active components found in the turmeric plant. Curcumin has many different benefits on its own, but it is an integral part of the turmeric plant and is present in many turmeric products.
Here are some of the top turmeric root benefits:
1. Anti-cancer effects
One of the most exciting turmeric root benefits is its cancer-fighting abilities. A number of lab studies show that curcumin has anti-cancer effects. According to the studies, cancer cells seem to stop growing – and even die – when curcumin is introduced. Turmeric seems to have the most significant effect on stomach cancer, bowel cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer.
2. Boosts immune system
Turmeric is a powerful natural immune system booster due to its incredible antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. For this purpose, turmeric is best ingested in a tea or latte. However, you can also use turmeric oil daily in a diffuser to fend off cold and flu viruses.
Indeed, turmeric’s effects on the immune system may partly explain its ability to combat allergies, heart disease, asthma, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Using turmeric oil often may even be an effective therapy for immune disorders.
3. Prevents heart problems
Turmeric helps protect your heart in several ways. Its antioxidant effects prevent heart problems and heart failure. The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric cut inflammation around your heart and arteries. This helps reduce the stress on your vascular walls and lower your risk of heart disease.
Moreover, curcumin has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels. This not only prevents heart disease (and helps reverse it), it also lowers your risk of having a heart attack.
4. Minimizes inflammation
Long-term inflammation is the cause of some of the most common diseases. Chronic inflammation can result in heart disease, diabetes, lung problems, and other nasty issues. Turmeric reduces inflammation throughout the entire body and helps ward off these diseases. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it an incredibly effective treatment for many health conditions such as arthritis and joint pain. Using turmeric oil as a rub for joints can help soothe those aches and pains.
5. Prevents and treats symptoms of neurological diseases
On top of promoting physical health, turmeric root benefits extend to the mind as well. Turmeric has shown to be effective in preventing and treating symptoms of various neurological diseases. The neuroprotective benefits you get from taking turmeric can help to treat and prevent epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and many other similar disorders. Scientists don’t expressly know why turmeric protects the brain, but they believe that it’s due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
6. Eases symptoms of depression
Notably, the anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric has also shown to cut the symptoms of major depressive disorders and acute anxiety. Turmeric seems to raise serotonin levels and reduce stress hormones. It also enhances the effects of many common antidepressants such as Prozac and Norpramin. One study suggests that curcumin is just as effective as Prozac. Inhaling some turmeric oil could help alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression.
What Are the Benefits of Turmeric for Skin and Face?
By all means, you can call turmeric an all-in-one source for beautiful skin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have made it useful as a skin care ingredient for centuries.
There are many ways to use turmeric to benefit your skin. Try putting some of its powder in a homemade facial mask to promote natural healing and a natural glow. One form of turmeric that is growing in popularity is turmeric oil. It can be used in many different ways for the skin and face. Let’s take a look at some ways turmeric oil can benefit your skin and face.
1. Calms acne
When the skin produces excess oil and sebum, a range of problems occur. One of those problems is acne. One study in 2012 found that four weeks of using turmeric on the skin significantly decreased oils in the skin. The same study further found that after three months, turmeric reduced facial oils by nearly 25%. Using turmeric oil directly on your skin may be a step to alleviating your acne symptoms.
Additionally, turmeric oil acts as a powerful antimicrobial which makes it an excellent acne fighter. Unlike other skin care products on the market, turmeric oil is natural and will fight to prevent breakouts without unnecessary chemicals.
2. Reduces blemishes
Turmeric oil can help reduce blemishes, prevent new ones, and heal scars on the skin and face. Applying 1-2 drops of turmeric oil mixed in with another natural oil (like coconut or Argan) can help fade blemishes and scars. You can also mix turmeric oil with lemon juice to naturally lighten your skin, minimize acne marks, and even out skin tone.
3. Prevents the after-effects of sunburn
The sun can cause a wide range of damaging effects on the skin. These effects range from sunburn to wrinkles to melanoma. While the use of sunscreen is vital, turmeric oil can be another incredibly useful tool.
Turmeric has been shown to prevent damage that occurs when exposing skin to ultraviolet B radiation. One 2011 study concluded that the “photoprotective properties” in turmeric could help prevent sun damage caused by the sun´s damaging UVB rays and help soothe already sunburned skin.
4. Counteracts the effects of aging
Obviously, turmeric is brimming with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These benefits can help counteract the adverse effects of aging and age-related disease. Turmeric oil can also help reduce fine lines and keep your skin soft and smooth. A little turmeric essential oil in your daily skin care routine can give your skin that healthy natural glow and keep you looking radiant and blemish-free.
5. Relieves issues related to chronic skin conditions
Although underlying issues related to chronic skin conditions vary, one thing they share is inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are what is makes it so remarkable and provides healing to any number of different skin conditions.
In a nutshell, turmeric works miracles in that it prevents and aids so many different chronic skin diseases. In fact, it even heals some skin diseases. Some of the chronic skin diseases turmeric oil can help fight are eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, as well as the side effects of these skin diseases.
What Are the Side Effects of Turmeric?
Turmeric and turmeric oil have one potentially annoying “side effect” – stains. Whether you are using the spice or the oil, the ochre color of turmeric can leave permanent stains on clothes and temporary stains on the skin. Fortunately, coconut oil or lemon juice removes these stains quickly.
In addition, as with any herb that you use for a health or beauty remedy, it is recommended that you do a patch test and apply a small amount to the inside of your wrist to be sure you won´t suffer any skin irritation as you incorporate it into your household and beauty regimen.
Some of the rarer side effects of turmeric include:
- Could slow blood clotting
- May decrease blood sugar in those with diabetes
- Might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse, such as uterine fibroids, breast cancer, and endometriosis
- Could cause iron deficiency
- Might cause adverse effects for those with gluten sensitivities
- Could be toxic to the nervous system
- Could cause cancer or neurological damage when taken in large amounts
Be aware of the side effects and seek professional medical advice if you are unsure of anything. Make sure you buy the best quality of turmeric oil available.
How to Buy Turmeric Essential Oil
When buying turmeric essential oil, quality matters. It is important that the bottle says 100% turmeric oil. If the bottle says “fragrance”, it most likely has other additives that you do not need or want, and it may actually further aggravate your skin if it´s applied.
The best essential oil to buy is “therapeutic grade”. This means that it will be free of toxins and it will be pure. Also, you can also avoid unnecessary chemicals and additives by choosing an organic or non-GMO essential oil.
Please remember that turmeric oil is highly concentrated, so you should use caution and dilute the essential oil before using it on your skin. Once you find the right balance of turmeric essential oil and coconut or Argan oil, you will notice the true benefits that it can impart. Once you have the best quality oil, you can try all kinds of fun recipes!
How to Use Turmeric Oil for Health
With all the health benefits that turmeric oil has to offer, it´s no wonder that it’s becoming an oft-used home remedy. There are various ways to use turmeric oil. It can be diluted as an essential oil and used in a diffuser, mixed with other oils (such as Argan or coconut) and applied directly to your skin, or simply inhaled as an aromatherapy essential oil. Here are a few simple ways you can start to use turmeric oil and powder for better health.
Turmeric Face Mask DIY
Looking for natural skin care ideas? This DIY turmeric face mask is packed with the good stuff. Reduced redness, fewer blemishes, and tighter pores are just some of the turmeric benefits for face and skin. Turmeric and honey are antibacterial agents, while the lactose from the milk or yogurt will soothe your skin. The fermentation from yogurt provides anti-aging benefits as well.
Tools: small mixing bowl
- Turmeric powder
- Milk or plain yogurt
- Mix together equal proportions of turmeric powder, honey, and milk in a bowl. Try 1 tsp of each to start.
- Spread the mixture onto freshly washed skin.
- Leave your homemade mask on for about 30 minutes.
- Rise and enjoy your glowing skin!
Turmeric Ginger Tea Recipe
Feeling a little under the weather? This turmeric and ginger tea will help clear up your sinuses and give your immune system a boost. Its soothing spicy flavor is perfect for warming up on a cold evening or to drink over ice on a hot summer’s day.
Tools: small saucepan
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon wedge
- Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Add turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain tea into a large glass. Then, add honey and lemon wedge.
Soothing Turmeric Oil Rub for Joint Pain
Turmeric´s proven soothing, anti-inflammatory properties have been used to heal and prevent joint pain for centuries. Instead of reaching for an over-the-counter or prescription medication, try using a turmeric rub. It’s easy to make and can be used anytime those pain and aches come on.
- 3-5 drops of turmeric essential oil
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Mix the turmeric oil with coconut oil
- Massage into painful joints or muscles twice daily.
Turmeric Oil Aromatherapy for Depression and Anxiety
Turmeric has been shown to raise serotonin levels and reduce stress hormones. Incorporating turmeric oil into a daily meditation can further promote its capacity to calm and relax the mind, and to help you find peace.
- A bottle of turmeric essential oil
- When feeling depressed or anxious place a small amount of turmeric essential oil on your palms.
- Cup your hands over your face and breathe deeply and slowly.
Alternative: Inhale the turmeric essential oil directly from the bottle, or diffuse a few drops and breathe deeply.
Turmeric Oil Steam Bowl for Cold and Flu
If a flu bug has got you down and you’re having trouble breathing, try using turmeric oil in your steam bowl to clear those sinuses and help you relax. It can reduce inflammation and redness associated with the sniffles and sinus drainage.
Tools: kettle, bowl, towel
- 5-6 drops of turmeric essential oil
- Bowl of hot water
- Boil water in a kettle. Pour boiled water into a large bowl.
- Add turmeric essential oil to the bowl of hot water.
- Place a towel over your head and inhale the vapor for about 5-10 minutes.
Alternative: Add 5 drops of turmeric essential oil to your diffuser and breathe in the vapor as you sleep.
Tips for Using Turmeric Oil
- Dilute it. To clarify, always dilute turmeric essential oil before using. Do not use it in the eyes or nose. If you are using turmeric essential oil on your skin, dilute the essential oil in another carrier oil. This way you’ll get maximum benefits and avoid negative side effects.
- Use it on the outside, not the inside. You should never ingest turmeric oil unless your doctor suggests it.
- Seek professional medical advice. As with all herbal remedies, if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or being treated for a health condition, you should talk to your doctor before using turmeric oil.
If you have been searching for natural solutions to avoid chemicals or additives, turmeric oil might be your best alternative. And what a great alternative it is! Turmeric oil is a trusted cure-all for the body and mind, offering everything from anti-cancer benefits to great skin care. Packed with plenty of phytochemicals and antioxidants, turmeric oil can benefit everyone in a myriad of ways. Science proves that turmeric oil has effects on everything from serious diseases, down to the common cold. There are many benefits to reap from this incredible natural resource.
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Chandi Gilbert is a blogger and professional introvert. She has been a freelance writer since 2016, and her work has been featured on Contena, Wag, and Harness Magazine, among others. She is a member of the Freelancer’s Union and a Columbia College Alumni. She lives in Ohio with her husband and dogs who pull double duty as creative directors and heads of security. She writes blogs that help others feel better about themselves, and mentors beginner freelancers in their journeys.