Turmeric: Color of Gold, Queen of Spices and Cure for All

September 14, 2017

Turmeric: Color of Gold, Queen of Spices and Cure for All

Traveling through South India and Sri Lanka one of the greatest pleasures was smelling the fragrant beauty of preening rituals. White pearls of jasmine nestled tightly in between every braided fold of thick black hair and a golden smudge of turmeric paste scented with sandalwood oil was the simple way of elegance. It was also quite common to see women carrying about with a watery coating of turmeric on their face. Later I learned that this ritual had many health and beautifying benefits. 

Turmeric has been used for 4000 years, if not more, as a flavoring spice with immense medicinal properties. It is used extensively in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Curcumin is the main medicinal compound in turmeric that is responsible for caring for the proper function of several organs. We will visit a few just so you can gain a satisfying understanding of how amazing this rhizome is!

Taken internally, turmeric helps:
  • Boost your immune system: Turmeric also contains lipopolysaccharides which stimulate your body's immune system
  • Protects your cardiovascular system: This is the primary function of the curcumin molecule or compounds as it helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. It is precisely the oxidation of cholesterol (and high levels of bad cholesterol) that make it dangerous. It damages blood vessels and promotes plaque build up leading to strokes and heart attacks. 
  • Lowers cholesterol: Curcumin is also known as a messaging molecule that communicates with the liver. It induces the liver's production of LDL (bad cholesterol) receptors so that the liver can better process the LDL out of its system. (World's Healthiest Foods). 
  • Detoxify the liver: Curcumin induces the detoxification enzyme known as glutathione S-transferase (GST).
  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin is an NF-KB molecule inhibitor meaning that it blocks this molecule from traveling into the cell nuclei and turning on genes related to inflammation. As such, turmeric is excellent for treating and preventing inflammation and diseases related to chronic inflammation such as arthritis. 
  • Superior Antioxidant: Not only does turmeric boost the body's own antioxidant enzymes, it also fights free radicals and inhibits the free radical damage of fats (prevents the oxidation of cholesterol as mentioned above).

Taken externally, turmeric has been used for its:

  • Antiseptic, antimicrobial & antifungal properties: It is used on wounds and pimples to kill microbes. 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Topically it helps reduce swelling
  • Lightening properties: This is a tough one to write about because, in practice, it does lighten and brighten skin. I think it's because of the Vitamin K and C in turmeric. I also think it's because of the fine sandy texture that exfoliates dead skin cells, exposing the newer fresher epidermis. However, some research says that curcumin inhibits melanin. Well, if that was the case, then I don't think there would be many dark South Indians as no one eats and applies as much turmeric as they do---ok I'm partially kidding, but I am curious about how exactly it prevent melanin and at what stage; perhaps at the stage of new pigmentation --I need to do more research on this. I did notice, too, that recipes for skin lightening masks always call for lemons. 
  • Antioxidant properties: for the same reasons above, your skin can benefit from this topical absorption when mixed with yogurt, milk or an oil as turmeric is fat soluble.


Turmeric Paste for Pimples, Acne, and Cuts

Ingredients:

1/8-1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 Tsp raw honey
1 tsp yogurt (less for cuts /wounds)
pinch of fine pepper (this helps your blood absorb turmeric by 2000%
1 drop of jasmine (omit for cuts/wounds and use clary sage instead)

Directions: Apply onto your face and let sit for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up, wet your finger tips with warm water and remove by gently massaging your skin in circular motion. Repeat many times and then finally rinse off. For cuts/ wounds use less yogurt--only enough to form a thick paste.

Turmeric Paste to Treat Dull Complexion

You can mix a pinch of turmeric to the flaxseed mask

-or-

 use the following recipe (borrowed from Indian Beauty Spot):

2 tbsp yogurt (organic with live culture)
1/4 Tsp turmeric

Directions: Apply onto clean face for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water 


Turmeric Paste to Lighten Dark Spots

I found this recipe that people swear by for lightening dark spots. I have not tried it but if you are curious to test it out, you can. It's a common recipe and poses no risk. 

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons of Cucumber Juice
Less than half a teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Directions: Apply onto dark spots including dark armpits. Let sit for 15minutes. 

*Be good to yourself and be gentle on the planet by using organic & fairly traded ingredients:)*



Enjoy!!




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