Tantalizing Turmeric

Features Issue 185 Apr, 2017

Not just a spice, turmeric has been found to be beneficial to humans in multiple ways.

In Ayurveda, turmeric is considered as a Varnya herb, which means it’s anherb for enhancing the complexion. It has excellent antioxidant properties,which helps reduce premature aging of the skin.Traditionally,turmeric has been used with other herbs as a body scrub and facial ubtan for brides and grooms before the wedding day; giving a bath with haldi-chandan (bukuwa) before the wedding is a tradition still practiced today. Ayurvedic oil preparations with turmeric help reduce stretch marks on pregnant women.

Internal Consumption
When taken internally, turmeric is an excellent blood purifier and antibacterial, and has excellent cleansing quality. Polluted blood is one of the major reasons for problems with skin; using turmeric in the diet helps purify blood, thereby ameliorating many of the skin mal-conditions, such as reducing pigmentation on the face and evening out the skin tone. Turmeric milk relieves internal bleeding and is an excellent therapeutic. Just boil your milk with a pinch of turmeric and one pod of cardamom for about two minutes and drink warm. Stick to this for a month, and you will see noticeable improvement in your skin. Add saffron for better result. But be careful to not put a lot, only a small pinch is more than enough, and believe me, it does not taste bad at all. Of course, always ensure that you get pure organic turmeric, and not the ones with added colors.

External Application
Turmeric can be added with homemade facial masks and scrubs. Its antibacterial, cleansing,and antioxidant properties help in achieving healthy looking skin.

Deep Cleansing Scrub
Mix a pinch of turmeric with half a spoon of sugar, honey, and milk, and mix well. Apply to the skin and massage for about two minutes and rinse with warm water. Honey and milk softens the skin, sugar is a good exfoliate, and turmeric helps to cleanse and even the skin tone.

Facial Mask
Mix yogurt with a pinch of turmeric and ¼ teaspoon of sandalwood. Apply to the skin and keep for about 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. This mask is very hydrating and cleansing, and is particularly good for summer.
Be careful, turmeric leaves yellow stain very easily, so be careful while using it. Keep a separate towel to wipe your face after facemask. Use the same towel every time you apply the mask or scrub to prevent all the towels from getting stained.  Use it once a week for about a month and see the difference in your skin. 
Every spice and herb we use for our traditional cooking has immense health benefits, if used properly. Well-spiced food, (I don’t mean hot and oily food, but food cooked with good amount of herbs and spices) helps in digestion, and that in turn,enhances the skin naturally. We have a tendency to follow all things Western,but there is a lot of old wisdom in our part of the world, even in beauty and skin care. Our knowledge and understanding may not give instant results,but if we are disciplined in our diet and lifestyle, we will have healthy and radiant skin.

Some Sanskrit Names That Glorify Turmeric:
Improves complexion of the body
Kanchni: Has color like that of kancnan(gold)
Nisha: As beautiful as full moon night
Varavarnini: Having bright complexion
Gauri: Because of its yellowish complexion
Yoshitapriya: The plant that is the favorite of ladies because of its use as complexion enhancer
Hattavilasini: That which increases the attraction of the bazaar because of its color 

Latin Name: Curcuma longa: Zingiberaceae