Turmeric is a panacea. It has several health and beauty benefits. A native of South Asia, this root is not usually used raw but dried and powdered. Indian cooking is never complete without turmeric (haldi), but other than its flavor infusing effect and bright coloring agent in food, bound to have magic within it. This is an ancient Ayurvedic component, which is now seen in the mainstream medications for curing ailments. Anumita enlists the many health and beauty benefits of this medicinal spice, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Turmeric (Curcumin) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family. It requires a temperature of 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and sufficient rainfall to thrive and grow. A native of South Asia, this root is not usually used raw but dried and powdered.
Indian cooking is never complete without turmeric (haldi), but other than its flavor infusing effect and bright coloring agent in food, turmeric has other uses. With more than 300 antioxidant agents in this yellow coloured root, it is bound to have magic within it. This is an ancient Ayurvedic component, which is now seen in the mainstream medications for curing ailments.
Just like Indian foods, Indian wedding do have a special ceremony, which includes applying of turmeric paste on the bride before her bath. It is said to enhance the glow and sheen of her skin and complexion.
Although the medical benefits and the beauty effects of turmeric are intertwined, we will try to put them into two separate parts.
Medical Benefits of Turmeric
1. Antibacterial Agent: Turmeric works wonders as an antibacterial agent. It is often used on minor cuts, burns, and scratches to keep our infections.
2. Boost Immunity: Turmeric has an abundance of Lipopolysaccharides, which reduces the chances of viral infections as cold, cough and flu. A teaspoon in warm milk is a required dosage.
3. Anti-inflammatory: With its antibacterial property, the anti-inflammatory helps the liver to be detoxified and reduce the toxins from the blood stream.
4. Fights Insomnia: It is said if you drink a teaspoon of cumin with water before bed, it helps you to sleep fast and sound.
5. Reduces Joint Pains: Consumption of turmeric in meal or as a supplement helps to reduce aches and pains like that of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory component of turmeric helps to keep joints supple.
6. Treats Alzheimer’s: Building up protein tangles in the brain often results in loss of memory. A chemical component called the Curcumin in turmeric unclogs these buildups and helps more oxygen to flow into the brain.
7. Controls Diabetes: Turmeric is very useful in controlling insulin resistance and so reduces glucose in the blood. This might help to prevent Type-2 Diabetes. Be careful not to use it with other medications as this might cause hypoglycemia.
8. Reduces Cholesterol: Turmeric has a unique way of reducing cholesterol. Studies show that people who consume more turmeric in as spice in their food do tend to show a reduction in their cholesterol level.
Other than the above-mentioned cures turmeric is said to have healing effects on stomach ulcer, depression, tuberculosis, cancer, hemorrhoids, headaches, jaundice, pink eye, and eczema.
Beauty Benefits of Turmeric
1. Complexion: Everyone wants a beautiful complexion, be it any skin tone. Turmeric is one of those miracle natural remedies which make that possible. It not only evens skin tones, it also helps to lighten stretch marks.
A paste of gram flour, turmeric, and yogurt or milk can be applied to the face and the affected areas and keep it on till the paste dries on the skin. Slowly scrub with the finger tips till all the dry paste is rubbed off. Then wash with warm water.
2. Skin Elasticity: Application of homemade face mask with turmeric in it helps cell growth and so improves the elasticity of the skin. No wonder most of the Asian women swear by this miracle root.
3. Controls Oily Skin: If you live in a humid area, then the oily skin can cause a lot of discomfort and issues. Turmeric packs could be a solution to this problem. A paste of turmeric, sandalwood and orange juice would help to reduce oil secretion on the skin and give a glow to the skin.
4. Cures Acne: Oily skin, teenagers and over active hormones often cause our skin to breakout in acne. Turmeric mixed with sandalwood with a dab of rose water or lemon juice can be of immense help to reduce acne and prevent a breakout. Rose water has a soothing effect, so it would be best for those who have sensitive skin. Lemon juice is a mild acid; it helps to lighten the discoloration of the skin due to frequent breakouts.
5. Heals Cracked Heals: When we are all dressed and slip into our dainty sandals, a cracked heel would spoil the whole effect. Turmeric mixed with coconut oil applied to the cracked heel can heal the cracks and smooth the skin.
6. Reduces Dry Skin issues: Dry skin is a bother for all times, as it itches and flakes and often shows wrinkles very soon. A paste of egg white, 2 drops of olive oil, lemon juice, rose water and turmeric would help to make dry skin suppler. You could use coconut oil instead of olive oil.
7. Diminishes Dark Circles: Less sleep and anxiety causes dark circles under our eyes. Dab a cotton ball in a mixture of buttermilk and turmeric and apply it below the eyes. Leave it for some time and then wash it off with warm water.
8. Reduces Wrinkles: Every one of us wants to look younger and for that, we would like a wrinkle-less skin. Mix turmeric with rice powder, milk, and tomato juice. Apply it on the face, neck, and arms. Let it stay for five minutes and wash it with warm water.
9. Body Scrub: Dead cells, dust, and oil accumulates on our skin and causes it to lose luster. This aggravates aging of the skin. Daily scrub of turmeric and gram powder mixed with water helps to wash off all these unwanted deposits on the skin.
10. Healthy Hair: Other than skin, turmeric helps in growth of healthy hair. Applying turmeric into the scalp helps to get rid of dandruff and itchy scalp. Turmeric paste on hair is a natural coloring agent and helps in maintaining the luster of the hair. Hair loss is also prevented by turmeric usage.
Turmeric could be incorporated into a regular beauty regime. Weekly application of turmeric, sandalwood, and gram powder as the pack or regular scrub during shower time, helps to exfoliate and enhance the complexion of the skin.
Use of turmeric as a supplement for both health and beauty is very beneficial for both men and women. Make sure to add the extra pinch of turmeric next time you decide to whip up some delicacy.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Photos from the internet.
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Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two sons.