Turmeric is a plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine.
One of the most fetching culinary spices, turmeric has an intense golden hue. The major ingredient in Indian curries, turmeric is the component responsible for curry’s dizzying color; it’s also commonly used to imbue mustard with its radiant glow.
We’re commonly reminded to eat colorful plant foods because their pigments, which are associated with antioxidants — the wonder nutrients that experts believe protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals and that also have important anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s intense color makes it a front-runner in this group of foods; curcumin, a compound found only in turmeric, appears to be the magic ingredient.
Turmeric essential oil uses abound in traditional medicine and aromatherapy for the health and cosmetic benefits derived from this oil. Turmeric oil is extracted from the roots of turmeric plant which originated from Madagascar. It is through steam distillation of the rubbers or rhizomes which have a deep yellow color in the inside. The oil which is yellowish or reddish brown in color has a spicy fresh wood aroma. It is known to strengthen the nervous and endocrine systems.
Turmeric oil is very powerful and packed with rare compounds as it is extracted from such a powerful healer herb. When analyzed, turmeric oil may show the presence of 400-500 different kinds of molecules. What is even more amazing is that many of these molecules have receptor sites in our neuro-endocrine systems too.
Constituents of Turmeric essential oil
As already discussed turmeric essential oil contains hundreds of molecules, but its main constituents are:
- Sesquiterpene alcohol – 50%
- Zingeriberene and other Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons – 30%
- d-a-phellandrene – 4%
- Cineol – 3%
- d-sabinene – 2%
- d-borneol – 2.5%
- Valeric acid – 0.1%
The constitution varies based on turmeric used and also method.
Health benefits of Turmeric essential oil
The health benefits of Turmeric are known for thousands for years because of its incredible health-endorsing qualities. There are numerous methods you can utilize turmeric, utilizing turmeric essential oil (extracted from turmeric root) is one. Extraction pulls out all oil friendly compounds from turmeric root. Turmeric essential oil then may be used in a variety of methods to offer benefits against inflammation, muscle pains, etc.
Turmeric essential oils affect the body in two ways. When applied to the skin, they penetrate through the follicles and sweat glands and are then absorbed into the body’s fluids. Once inside the body, they have many beneficial effects including:
- Stimulating the immune system
- Accelerating toxin elimination
- Promoting new cell growth
- Stimulating digestion
- Stimulating blood circulation
- Supporting the body’s natural healing processes.
Essential oils also enter the body through inhalation. This makes them excellent for use in baths, vaporizers and even in candles.
Further details about the powerful benefits and uses of turmeric are as follows.
Several turmeric oils usually are 60-65% alpha-curcumene (a Sesquiterpene hydrocarbon). This is the key component in turmeric root which provides turmeric its anti-inflammatory qualities. Turmeric oil has been utilized along with other essential oil including Frankincense, Plai, etc. for preparing anti-inflammatory as well as pain relieving formulas.
- Arthritis and joint problems
Turmeric oil has been discovered helpful for arthritis and also joint care. It controls the extent of inflammation as well as providing pain relief through its analgesic effects. It may also help in muscle pain. A recent study out of Japan evaluated its relationship with interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process, and discovered that curcumin “significantly reduced” these inflammatory markers. This suggests that regular turmeric use could be a potent strategy to prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis from developing.
- Industrial usage
Turmeric oil is utilized as spice in food industry. It’s also utilized in pharma industry exactly where it is utilized in creating anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antiseptic drugs/ointments.
Zingeriberene and also 6-gingerol are main substances contained in turmeric oil that really help in bringing digestive system in order and in addition stops formation of gas in gastrointestinal tract. The safety prescribing authority of herbs in Germany known as the German Commission E has allegedly approved the use of Turmeric in treating digestive disorders. It stimulates the mucous element in the gastric juices and aids in curing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation and other chronic digestive disorders. Turmeric essential oil strengthens digestion and eliminates the toxins that are stored in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Benefits to liver
Ar-turmerone, a substance contained in turmeric oil is recognized to support liver and keep it healthy.
Both turmeric and turmeric oil are now recognized to have got anti-cancer qualities. An accepted research in 2011 has witnessed that Turmeric essential oil has the capacity to fight against the free radicals in the body and act as excellent antioxidant, anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents. Also in this research, it proved that Turmeric essential oil increases the level of Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and augment carcinogen detoxification in the human body and effectively function as a perfect cancer-preventing force.
- Skin and hair
Turmeric oil is known to assist in avoiding hair loss, particularly male pattern baldness. This action is additionally related to its anti-oxidation as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. Turmeric oil is additionally utilized in numerous skincare formulas for making skin appear younger. It protects the skin from harmful bodies and gives a flawless fair complexion. It is important to note that turmeric oil has plenty of antioxidant which counteracts the free radicals known to hasten ageing process. It helps in maintaining a young look. Its antimicrobial properties help to prevent and also treat acne and other skin infections. In the cosmetic industry, it is used in the anti-spot and anti-marks creams. Other skin issues that turmeric essential oil addresses include wounds, eczema, wrinkles, pigmentation of skin, pimples, acne, psoriasis, cuts, burns and other skin infections.
Turmeric is shown to lower blood glucose levels and reverse insulin resistance. For instance, an article published in Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications shared a study out of Auburn University that discovered curcumin suppresses glucose production in the liver. Fascinatingly, researchers proved that it’s actually 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). Turmeric acted as an anti-diabetic and antioxidant in diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, improved metabolic function and reduced the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries of type 2 diabetes patients.
- Other health promoting properties of turmeric oil
As with turmeric, turmeric oil is usually anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antiviral as well as anti-worm. Additionally it is regarded as good anti-venom.
There are number of advantages of turmeric oil which is listed below:
- It is mainly utilized for massage in aroma therapy centers. It offers the treatment to physical stress as well as resolves your all problems associated with your nervous system. This particular oil also enhances your digestive system as well as effectively cleans your blood. It is very useful in reducing any kinds of bacterial infection. It functions like a great medication to rest from stress, fatigue and anxiety. This particular oil is utilized for treating the diseases like jaundice, dropsy and much more.
- The natural oil of turmeric is traditionally used in cooking purposes for making your food more tasty and healthy.
- It is well-known in all over the world due to its exceptional germ-killing as well as healing qualities.
- Turmeric prevents and slows the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease simply by eliminating amyloyd plaque build-up in the brain. It’s always been utilized in Chinese medicine like a cure for depression. Combining Turmeric essential oil along with jojoba is a competent method to manage eczema and remove spots.
- For blood disorders, this particular oil is excellent since it helps you to purify, encourage and build more blood. It is strongly advised for usage after childbirth. Throughout the menstruation cycle in ladies, it will help to eliminate the stagnant blood.
- Turmeric oil also lowers the likelihood of heart attack by reduction of the platelets from sticking with one another. If this oil is taken together with warm water, it offers efficient solution against the asthma attacks.
Possible side effects of Turmeric
Before I go ahead and talk about side effects, let me tell that these are “possible side effects” and in most cases will not occur at all unless there is something very wrong with your turmeric dosage or you have a medical condition where turmeric can worsen situation (which is also very rare).
Till today, I do not recall any health trouble which my doctor attributed to turmeric, simply because we include turmeric in diet which controls its dosage. Therefore I recommend everyone to do so.
Stomach problems: Turmeric taken in large quantities, for a long period of time can cause nausea, upset stomach and sweating in some people.
Some people may also experience diarrhea when taking curcumin. The average daily dosage that can be safely tolerated by adults is 400-600 mg thrice daily. This is for powdered turmeric. If the product is a fluid extract then do not take more than 30-90 drops.
Bleeding: Studies conducted on animals have found that in some cases turmeric could result in excessive bleeding in those who are susceptible. Hence, hemophiliacs must be exercise caution and consult their doctor when taking turmeric.
Blood pressure: High dosage of turmeric can lower blood pressure in some instances. Hence, it could react with medication taken for high blood pressure. People on hypertension medication must consult their doctors when using turmeric.
Kidney stones: Recent studies have found that turmeric can change oxalate metabolism. Oxalate forms kidney stones. Hence, anyone who is susceptible to kidney stones must be careful when taking turmeric supplements.
Some people have also reported stomach ulcers, skin rash and other allergic reactions after long use high dose turmeric supplements. Those who are allergic to yellow food colorings or ginger could demonstrate allergy to turmeric.
While turmeric provides many benefits to cancer patients, some turmeric supplements can also affect the effectiveness of certain cancer drugs, radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Hence all cancer patients must inform their doctor about any turmeric supplements they take.
Precautions with turmeric usage
Skin irritation: Just in case you plan to utilize turmeric oil on the skin, do a patch test first and find out if there are any reactions. Turmeric oil makes the skin more sensitive to UV light, thus use in small concentrations (less than 1%) if you intend to go out in sun within 48 hrs of application.
Pregnant and Nursing mothers: Taking oral turmeric medications during pregnancy is considered a risk for it can stimulate the uterus and trigger a menstrual period.
This puts pregnancy at risk. Again, I would add here, in India during pregnancy we do not stop putting turmeric in our food. The normal turmeric usage continues throughout pregnancy. The problem as you can see can be in case when you take supplements.
There is no sufficient information on the side effects of turmeric on breastfeeding women. However, as a rule, since pregnant women are advised to avoid turmeric, the same holds good for those who are nursing too.
Gallbladder problems: those who have bile duct obstruction, gallstones or other gallbladder problems must avoid turmeric for it can worsen the condition.
Blood Thinner and medications: Excessive turmeric acts as a blood thinner. Hence, anyone scheduled for surgery is advised to avoid all forms of turmeric two weeks before this, for turmeric can slow the process of blood clotting. Excess bleeding can also occur during surgery.
Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs such as warfarin and aspirin etc. interact with turmeric. Since these medications slow blood clotting and turmeric does the same, taking these medications with turmeric can cause bleeding and bruising.
Interaction with medications
Some medications that slow blood clotting are:
Antacids, which may interact with turmeric, are:
Interaction with herbs
Herbs that slow blood clotting when taken with turmeric can increase risk of bleeding and bruising. Such herbs are clove, angelica, garlic, danshen, ginger, Panax ginseng, ginkgo, willow, garlic and red clover etc.
Here is a sample turmeric recipe. Enjoy.
Turmeric Tea Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon turmeric (powder or grated root)
- Pour coconut milk and water into the saucepan and warm for 2 minutes
- Add in butter, raw honey and turmeric powder for another 2 minutes
- Stir and pour into glasses.