Turmeric: Double Duty, Health and Beauty

Turmeric, the golden spice responsible for the yellow hue of mustard and curry, is as good for you on the outside as it is for you on the inside.

You can reap the benefits of turmeric by eating or drinking it in tea, condiments, meals, and smoothies. You can also put it directly on your skin. A turmeric mask can be a fun and effective addition to your Self Care Sunday (or any day) routine.

Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric and curcumin, one of the substances that makes turmeric so healthful, have been the focus of many scientific studies and the findings have been amazing. Because it would take all day to list all of the benefits of turmeric and curcumin, only three are listed below, but believe me, these three are more than enough reason to find ways to add turmeric to your diet.

Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Curcumin has been shown to prevent the development and spread of some types of cancers. The details of dosing have not been pinned down yet, but adding it to foods and beverages looks like it sure couldn't hurt.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

A proven anti-inflammatory, curcumin might help to relieve pain without the adverse effects associated with prescription and over the counter pain relievers. And because inflammation sets the stage for the development of many chronic diseases, putting a damper on inflammation might help to stave off a host of diseases from heart disease to Alzheimer's.

Weight loss

Ok, this one was so shocking to me I considered not including it. Even when reading the two articles (the abstracts are here and here) I was skeptical. When it comes to weight loss treatments, it takes a lot to convince me. From what I could find the only studies done in this area have been in mice.

For mice at least, curcumin seems to increase metabolism, reduce the amount of new fat storage, and increase fat being burned for energy. Once again, it can't hurt to include it if weight loss is something you are interested in.

Turmeric Beauty Benefits

As if the benefits of eating and drinking turmeric weren't enough, applying turmeric also does wonders for our skin.

Brides and grooms in both Bengali and Indian cultures take part in an important ceremony (Gaye Holud or Haldi Ceremony) that includes having turmeric applied to their skin in preparation for their big day.  While not the main purpose of this ritual, the turmeric paste gives their skin a beautiful glow.

Curcumin benefits our skin through its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties which means it might help with a host of skin ailments such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and psoriasis. It also seems to help with wound healing. Which is why I have started adding turmeric masks to my skin care routine to fight off acne.

Turmeric Face Mask Recipe:

Because I have sensitive skin I keep my mask simple. If you are looking for something a bit more involved check out this link for 20 turmeric face mask recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil

I simply rub the two ingredients together in the palm of my hand and apply it to my face. I leave it on anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day. I then wash my face as usual. Somedays I will use aloe vera juice, olive oil, or just plain water instead of flaxseed oil.

Be warned, this will stain anything it comes in contact with. To avoid yellow nails and fingertips wash your hands immediately after applying it or wear gloves when you are putting it on your face. If you decide to leave the mask on overnight, a towel over your pillow and an old shirt you don't mind ruining will be your two best friends.