Turmeric, The Golden Herb

I love the color of turmeric. It's a must have spice in everyone's kitchen. This herb is an important spice dating back thousands of years both in the Indian and Buddhism culture. It is not only used as a spice when cooking in the kitchen but also widely used in Hinduism religious ceremonies.

It represents purity, fertility and prosperity.

Turmeric is also known to be used in traditional ceremonies such as marriage and childbirth.

One cannot ignore the many benefits of turmeric when cooking in the kitchen. Adding turmeric when cooking yellow, orange and green leafy vegetables may minimize the loss of beta carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, to fortify our immune system, and for good eye health and vision.

Studies have shown that marinating meats with turmeric can reduce the potential cancer causing compounds when cooking meats at high temperatures like grilling, roasting, broiling or deep frying.

Turmeric both in powder or essential oil is one of the many herbs that I use in my home made organic and natural concoctions. The key ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which gives it’s bright orange color hence one has to be careful using it as it can easily stain one’s skin. I love turmeric due to its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory & anti-aging properties. Turmeric used well combined with other key ingredients and herbs provides amazing results.

For acne, sunburnt and even sensitive skin, turmeric mixed with yogurt or milk can provide anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and a soothing effect.A simple common traditional recipe is mixing chickpea flour, turmeric, honey and yogurt into a paste. Apply the paste on the face and leave it to dry. Once it hardens like a crusty mask on the face, wet finger tips and gently massage/scrub the face and rinse. Chickpeas and turmeric provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effect. Honey provides moisturization and antibacterial effect. Yoghurt contains lactic acid and powerful nutrients and adding a pinch of turmeric provides a great catalyst to this mixture. This paste can brighten the skin, reduce dark spots,minimize pores,hydrate and balance skin tone. Numerous other herbs can also be added pending on the condition and the needs of the skin.

Due to its amazing properties, there are turmeric and curcumin supplements which are now easily available. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, “Turmeric is a food considered safe". Turmeric and Curcumin supplements are considered safe when taken at recommended doses. The Key Point here is Recommended Dose. The National Institute of Health (NIH) classifies turmeric as “likely safe”. When taking or consuming any supplements it’s always best to check with your doctor

Side Effects Of Turmeric

Do proceed with caution should any of the following conditions apply to you. It would be best that you practice extreme caution and under the advice of your doctor

1. Diabetes: Avoid turmeric if you are taking diabetic medication as it may cause hypoglycemia (blood sugar to drop). On the other hand if you come from a family that is prone to diabetes, it may be a good idea to take curcumin supplements.

2. Blood Thinning Medication : If you are currently on anticoagulants or blood thinning medications, it is best that you are cautious when consuming turmeric in food or as supplements.

3. Pregnancy: Be cautious when taking turmeric during pregnancy. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), turmeric may stimulate the uterus or promote menstrual period. NIH also recommends not taking it during breast feeding

4. Gallbladder: The NIH recommends avoiding turmeric if you currently have problems with your gallbladder. If you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction, turmeric may cause your condition to worsen.

5. Stomach Complications: Turmeric may cause increased stomach acid if taken with antacid drugs such as Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, Nexium or Prevacid. Turmeric may be effective for some stomach conditions but in some cases may aggravate gastric reflux

Take Home Point: Turmeric is a great, wonderful and recognized ingredient, now used by many skincare manufacturing companies. However when it comes to consuming turmeric, remember moderation is the key and everything good may not necessarily be good for you .Hence it is always vital to check with your healthcare provider when consuming any herbal medication so that there is no reaction with your current medication and it's safe and meets with your current health care needs.

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© 2017 by Simran Gill for Simran Beyond Beauty