Turmeric is a popular Indian spice that has been getting a lot of press and praise in the last few years due to it’s long list of healing properties. The golden coloured spice has been used for centuries as a culinary spice in South Asian dishes, but recently scientist has begun to discover just how healing and valuable this spice really is. Here in North America, turmeric is popular as a main spice particularly in curry flavoured dishes. The flavour is generally savoury, but it is occasionally added to sweet dishes as well. Due to it’s potent colour it was and is still sometimes used as a fabric dye and is also used to add natural colour to foods. The spice is actually collected from the rhizomes of the plant, which grows in India. It is from the same family as ginger and even bears a similar look to that root shaped spice when it is bought fresh.
Although enjoyed in food, more and more studies have been done to look at the healing powers of the spice. And although scientific experiments are still in their preliminary stages, it would seem that turmeric or more specifically curcumin (the main component in turmeric) has some profound healing affects on the human body. To begin with it has a high amount of antioxidants which helps to fight free radicals that cause aging and sickness. The main way that turmeric ( or curcumin) heals the body is through it’s ability to reduce inflammation. This may not seem like such a big deal at first glance, but inflammation is often at the root cause of a number of health problems and diseases. Unfortunately, the health issues caused by inflammation are not often addressed until a real build up happens and pain begins to set in. Inflammation can cause aches, pains and joint discomfort. It can also cause a slowing down of cognitive activity in the brain.
Recent research shows that turmeric or more specifically curcumin has been able to heal or help with osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. It has also helped to heal eye inflammations, colorectal cancers, Crohn’s disease, gum disease and skin disorders. It has also been known to boost one’s mood, aide in weight loss and is thought to help detoxify the liver and improve one’s brain function. With most of these findings, more scientific tests are still required, but preliminary results have given an optimistic outlook for the healing powers of the golden Asian spice.
Skin inflammation can cause redness, swelling and discomfort. It is apparent in conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and Acne vulgaris. All of these can be reduced by using the spice of turmeric both internally and /or topically on the skin. Turmeric has had some medicinal uses in the past including using the spice on the skin to accelerate wound healing. In recent studies lotions containing turmeric have been shown to reduce the irritation and itchiness of the skin. Due to the high antioxidant levels, turmeric can also help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles in the skin, by fighting free radicals that cause oxidation and aging in the skin. Using it both topically and internally can help to keep out infections from cuts and burns on the skin. Also, using turmeric promotes healthy smooth and soft skin. Not only is turmeric(or curicumin) thought to be high in antioxidants to fight free radicals it is also thought to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and quite possibly anti-tumour forming.
Although turmeric has only recently become a house hold herb in North America, it is commonly used in many South Asian countries and is also a popular ingredient for some of their spa and skin care treatments. One common and popular skin care treatment is the Lulur spa scrub. This golden coloured body scrub is used in many South Asians spas and is a particularly popular spa treatment for young brides.
Turmeric is also a popular ingredient for facials that naturally lighten and brighten the skin. To read the article and find out more information about that recipe tap onto this link….. momblogmagazine.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-skin-brighteners-lighteners-and-whiteners/
Turmeric (or specifically curcumin) can be added to food as a spice, but recently it has become popular as a tea beverage. Turmeric tea is simple to make, and there is no exact recipe to be followed, as long as the main ingredient is turmeric and warm boiled water. As mentioned earlier turmeric has a savoury warm taste and it can be combined with several other warming spices to make a healing and delicious drink. The following is a sample of a simple tea one can make, using turmeric with winter warming spices. I have included peppercorns in this recipe for two reasons: First because they too have a warming, peppery sweet taste that mixes well with the other warming and sweet spices. The second reason is because there is also a lot of evidence showing that when peppercorns are combined with turmeric it prolongs the availability of turmeric in the body. Combined the two spices take longer to digest, increasing the availability to heal the body as it remains longer in the bloodstream. This allows a deeper and stronger affect of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory powers of the spice within the body.
Winter warming and healing turmeric tea:
2-3 cups boiled water
1 tsp. turmeric spice(freshly grated or powdered)
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. ginger root (preferably freshly sliced or powdered)
2-3 sticks of cinnamon
1 kettle or pot to boil water
1 paper tea bag or metal tea ball
Slowly heat and boil 2-3 cups of boiling water in a pot or kettle. Meanwhile slice or grate 1 inch of fresh ginger(removing peel first) and slice or grate one inch of fresh turmeric(if these are not available fresh, you can buy them powdered). Place these in a medium sized metal tea ball or tea bag. Add to this 1 tsp. of peppercorns, and 2-3 broken cinnamon sticks. Place the metal tea ball or paper tea bag in a tea pot, containing all ingredients. Slowly pour the 2-3 cups of water over the tea bag or mesh tea ball. Let them simmer in the tea pot for 5-10 minutes. Pour into a mug and add 1-2 tsp. honey and 1/4 cup almond milk. Serve and enjoy.
Anti-Aging and Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric facial
1 tbsp. Coconut oil
1 tsp. turmeric powder(or freshly grated root of turmeric)
1 tsp. honey
1 dash(less than 1/4 tsp.) of cinnamon
Combine the above ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Once thoroughly mixed apply to both the face and the neck with a brush or your fingers. It should spread onto the skin fairly easily like butter. Next, simply sit and relax while the mixture sinks into the skin for 10-15 minutes. Thoroughly wash off the skin and pat the skin dry. You might have to rinse your skin off twice, the second time with a cleanser as the turmeric has an intense colour that is initially hard to remove. Also, wearing an older shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty is also a good idea. After the facial mask has been completely removed it is a good idea to finish off by applying a light moisturizer to the face. Your skin should feel calmer, softer and smoother after your facial. For best results repeat a second time later in the week.