This fluorescent yellow powder and its pungent flavour may be all too familiar for some of you, but do you know that this kitchen spice also has powerful beauty benefits?
Turmeric is one of the most prized condiments in the Indian spice cabinet and, quite possibly, the most powerful herb on the planet, with regards to its potential health and skin benefits.
One (Ingredient) Too Many Benefits
The benefits of turmeric are largely contributed by its phytochemistry. The curcumin compound in turmeric is a bioactive element and is responsible for most, if not all, of the wonderful benefits turmeric can provide the entire human body. Curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, among others, which offer several key advantages for skin and beauty.
Check out these seven delightful benefits of turmeric for your health and skin alike!
1. Promotes Brain Health
Curcumin in turmeric can boost the regeneration of brain cells, while aromatic-turmerone, another bioactive compound in turmeric, can escalate neural stem cell growth in the brain by as much as 80 percent. Given the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric, this golden spice can also offer overall protection to the brain. It is reported that the curcumin in turmeric can aid in the treatment of depression, tardive dyskinesia (impairment of voluntary movement) and diabetic neuropathy.
2. Prevents Heart Diseases
The antioxidant properties of turmeric are known to offer cardiac protection, especially in the case of diabetes. Curcumin in turmeric also helps reduce the serum cholesterol levels, thereby promoting heart health. In addition, several studies have discovered that curcumin also prevents the clogging of arteries and has the potential of reducing cholesterol levels in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
3. Brightens Skin
If you want to get natural glowing skin, reach for turmeric. In the olden days, when cosmetic beauty treatments and parlours were not available, the Indians had their own natural beauty secrets to ensure that a couple looked radiant and wonderful on their wedding day. This ancient spice holds a special place of honour in Indian weddings, specifically in the Haldi (Hindi for turmeric) ceremony. The ceremony basically involves applying a turmeric paste on the bride and groom to achieve that perfect natural glow on their big day, all thanks to curcumin. Apart from its antioxidant properties, curcumin effectively resolves hyperpigmentation, as well as regulates melanin production. When outside factors cause an increase in melanin production, the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is secreted by the pituitary gland. What curcumin in turmeric does is it restricts the ACTH hormone, which then reduces hyperpigmentation and lightens the skin.
4. Sun Damage Protection
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation can bring about fine lines, wrinkles, freckling, pigmentation changes, dilation of small blood vessels beneath the skin and reduced skin elasticity. UVB radiation increases the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), an enzyme which degrades collagen between the outer layer and middle layer of the skin. Turmeric inhibits the increase of MMP-2, which then prevents damage to skin from the sun.
5. Anti-Aging Properties
Turmeric contains curcuminoid pigments, which help the body in synthesising antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the skin cells from free radical damage and can even slow down the signs of ageing, like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Two studies published in the March 2010 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reported that the use of moisturising creams containing turmeric twice daily for eight weeks drastically minimised the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dark spots and changes in skin pigment were also reduced by nearly 15 percent.
6. Treats Oily Skin
In order to prevent the skin from becoming too dry, natural oil and waxes are secreted by the sebaceous glands. This helps the epidermis retain moisture, while keeping the skin soft and supple. However, in some cases, the sebaceous glands get overactive and produce excessive oil, which often lead to acne, cysts and other woeful skin conditions. Turmeric also contains phytosterols and fatty acids, which reduce oil production in the skin. One particular study demonstrated a significant decrease in skin oil after just four weeks of turmeric treatment, which was applied topically twice a day.
7. Combats Acne
Turmeric is excellent in the fight against acne – its natural antiseptic properties destroy bacteria and prevent them from spreading, while its anti-inflammatory properties bring down the redness and swelling of the blemishes. This herb also speeds up healing, which can help with larger, open blemishes.
Turmeric is Love
The health and skin benefits of turmeric are almost endless. This powerhouse spice can be used to tackle skin trouble, treat uneven skin tone, heal cracked feet, prevent hair fall and even help you get rid of dandruff.
Turmeric is not only used for spicing up curries — it has long been utilised in the Indian subcontinent to beautify the skin. The ancient Chinese also valued turmeric for its medicinal properties, including antiseptic, anti-aging and blood purifying capabilities.
Now that you are aware of the magnificent qualities of turmeric, do not take a single pinch for granted, if you plan on applying it on your skin. Besides, turmeric has a tendency to temporarily dye the skin — you wouldn’t want to look like an exfoliated Oompa-Loompa now, would you?