10 Turmeric Oil Benefits That Prove It Is A Golden Spice
Turmeric is a great source of magnesium, vitamin C, B6, manganese, iron, and potassium. And not many know that the compound – curcuminoids – in turmeric can reduce the chances of heart attacks and prevent knee pain too. (1) Turmeric oil benefits are abundant and noteworthy. That’s why we thought of making you aware of it through this article.
Let’s understand turmeric in detail.
What is Turmeric Oil?
Turmeric essential oil is obtained from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant Curcuma longa through the process of steam distillation.
Turmeric belongs to Zingiberaceae or the ginger family. There are about 50 genera and 1600 species herbs in the ginger family. Turmeric is a tall perennial herb with wide and very long leaves. It has yellow flowers with bright-orange rhizomes growing in clusters.
Turmeric has a long history as a medicine and spice. The rhizomes are dried and then powdered. This practice is something followed in India since ancient times and is widely used in Indian cooking even today. (2, 3)
Scientific Name of Turmeric Oil
The botanical name of turmeric is Curcuma longa.
History of Turmeric Oil
The word “turmeric” comes from the Latin word terra merita, which refers to the color of turmeric in its powdered form. The genus name comes from the fact that the plant has a significant chemical called curcumin.
Turmeric is also called Indian saffron. The herb originated from southern India nearly 4000 years ago. It was revered for its spiritual significance and is still considered a "sacred" plant.
Turmeric has been reported to have been used in Vedic culture (from 1750 to 500 BCE). The popularity of turmeric grew, and it reached China in 700 AD, Eastern Africa in 800 AD, and Western Africa in 1200 AD. Later, it spread throughout the world.
Traders from the Arab countries carried turmeric to Europe in the 13th century. Besides India, even the people of China, Africa, and Jamaica also used turmeric as a medicine.
Marco Polo brought turmeric to the west. He found turmeric similar to the qualities of Saffron and started to trade it. The west embraced the spice and therapeutic significance of this “golden spice.”
The traditional medical systems of India, Ayurveda, and Siddha valued turmeric immensely. From insect bites to coughs and food poisoning, turmeric is the first medicine that any Indian parent would suggest.
India is the largest producer of turmeric and is the largest consumer too. You will not find a single Indian home without using turmeric.
There are about 133 species of turmeric throughout the world and they are known differently by local names (4).
Color, Consistency, and Smell of Turmeric Oil
- The color of turmeric oil is yellow to dark orange.
- The consistency of turmeric oil is medium.
- The smell of turmeric oil is fresh, earthy, warm, rooty, and slightly spicy.
Properties of Turmeric Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of turmeric essential oil include:
- Analgesic – Lessens the sensation of pain
- Anti-infectious – Prevents infections
- Anti-inflammatory - Reduces inflammation
- Antimicrobial - Prevents the growth of microorganisms
- Antioxidant – Inhibits the process of oxidation
- Antiphlogistic – Effective against inflammation & fever
- Antibacterial - Stops bacterial growth
- Antirheumatic - Relieves the symptoms of rheumatic conditions
- Antisclerotic – Stops hardening of tissues & cells
- Antiseptic – Kills the microbes and further, prevents their development
- Antifungal - Stops fungal growth
- Antispasmodic - Relieves convulsions, contractions, and spasms
- Antitoxic – Neutralizes the toxins
- Antitussive - Treats coughs
- Antivenomous - Effective against the effects of venom
- Antiviral – Effective against virus
- Carminative – Gets rid of flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain
- Balsamic - Soothes coughs, sore throats, etc.
- Cholagogue - Enhances the evacuation of bile from gall bladder & ducts
- Cicatrizing – Forms scar tissues to speed the healing process
- Circulatory - Promotes proper blood flow
- Decongestant - Reduces congestion
- Digestive – Promotes healthy digestion
- Depurative – Effective detoxifier & cleanser
- Disinfectant – Fights against germs and stops them from spreading
- Diuretic - Removes excess water from the body
- Emmenagogue – Regularizes or induces menstruation
- Expectorant – Removes excess mucus build-up from the body
- Emollient – Softens and soothes the skin
- Febrifuge - An antifebrile (or anti-fever) agent
- Immunostimulant - Stimulates the action of the immune system
- Hemostatic - Arrests the blood flow
- Mucolytic - Breaks the mucus
- Pectoral - Beneficial for conditions in the chest & respiratory system
- Nervine - Treats nervous disorders
- Restorative - Revives and strengthens the body
- Regenerative - Tends to regenerate
- Spasmolytic - Eases muscle spasms
- Stimulant – Enhances the overall body functions
- Stomachic – Maintains a healthy stomach; digestive aid & gastric tonic
- Vulnerary - Heals the wounds & sores when applied topically
- Tonic – Rejuvenates your bodily functions
Chemical Compounds in Turmeric Oil
The chemical compounds found in turmeric essential oil are: (5)
Turmerone (8.0–28.4%), ar-Turmerone (15.5–27.5%), Zingiberene (11.6–16.8%), a-Phellandrene (0.7–12.8%), b-Sesquiphellandrene (8.8–9.5%), ar-Curcumene (2.8–.3%), 1,8-Cineole (0–6.9%), b-Curcumene (0–5.6%), Carlone (0–4.9%), a-Caryophyllene (0–3.9%), Terpinolene (0–3.9%), b-Bisabolene (1.8–2.2%), b-Caryophyllene (0.2–2.0%), and p-Cymene (0.3–1.4%).
The chemical composition of turmeric oil extracted from rhizomes differs a lot from the oil extracted from turmeric leaves. Do not confuse turmeric rhizome oil and turmeric leaf oil.
Health Benefits of Turmeric Oil
From treating wounds, toning your skin to curing coughs and indigestion, the health benefits of turmeric essential oil are excellent. However, it can do much more than these. Here are a few noteworthy benefits of turmeric, each backed by science:
- Boosts liver health
- Increases blood flow
- Effective against Parkinson’s disease
- Aids in healthy digestion
- Heals cracked heels
- Treats nasal congestion
- Gives a glowing skin
- Helps your skin to glow
- Relieves body & muscle pain
- Cures rheumatic arthritis
- Recovers muscle soreness
1. Boosts liver health
Scientists claim that the liver carries out around 500 functions in the body. It is the largest internal organ and it deals with chemicals. Your liver is the most complicated chemical factory. A healthy liver means a healthy life. It is involved in metabolism, bone and muscle growth, blood production, and even keeps the blood flowing.
Hence, detoxifying your liver is important. This is mainly achieved by eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk and oily foods.
Turmeric is a natural detoxifier and a cleansing agent. It is a great way to detoxify your liver.
2. Increases blood flow
Poor blood circulation is a serious problem and this is often taken for granted. Poor circulation is initially visible in the feet & legs and can occur at any age. Therefore, it is crucial to take care of the legs, as we grow older.
The symptoms of decreased blood include cold feet, varicose veins, swelling ankles, and discoloured skin. Healthy eating habits, regular exercises, lymphatic drainage massage, and calm mind helps in restoring the body condition.
Turmeric has natural circulatory properties. Hence, the application of diluted turmeric essential oil keeps the skin & blood vessels warm. The compounds found in the oil stimulate blood circulation. (8)
3. Effective against Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder. It occurs when a part of your midbrain stops secreting a hormone called dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and when it is stopped, it interrupts the transmission of messages to nerves and muscles.
This may cause tremors, rigidity, instability, stammering, and decreased mobility. The people with Parkinson’s undergo both physical and emotional troubles.
Essential oils are an immense help for treating PD, as it addresses both physical and mental problems.
Turmeric has nervine properties. A gentle massage using turmeric oil helps to stimulate blood circulation, prevents muscle stiffness, and eases mobility. Its uplifting fragrance alleviates depression and anxiety (9).
All you have to do is find a blend that works for you. Visiting a qualified aromatherapist once a month would bring a lot of difference.
4. Aids in healthy digestion
We are what we eat. All that we are now is the food that we ate. Digestion is a process where your body assimilates all the energy and nutrients required for it from the food.
It is one of the most important processes. If the body is not in its full potential, it cannot digest completely. It leads to several problems like constipation and malnourishment.
A better solution to treat indigestion is to chew your food slowly. Don’t just gulp them down or eat too fast.
Also, massage your abdomen with diluted turmeric essential oil in a clockwise circular motion. This helps you overcome the problem of indigestion & stomach ache, and further, strengthens your abdominal muscles. (10).
5. Heals cracked heels
Turmeric essential oil is an excellent healing agent. Standing for long hours, walking around barefoot, and dry skin may cause the skin to thicken around the rim of the heel.
As you walk further, the fat pad under the heels expands causing the thickened skin to crack. But turmeric oil can help in treating this problem. Thanks to its cicatrizing property. It helps to heal the cracked skin and restores the condition.
Dilute 2 to 3 drops of turmeric oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or castor oil. Massage your feet using the diluted oil before going to bed. In a matter of weeks, you would find your heels becoming soft and supple. The oil massage helps to moisturize the skin (11).
6. Treats nasal congestion
Both turmeric and its essential oil are one of the ancient remedies for treating cold, cough, and other respiratory ailments. It is an excellent decongestant. Thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you suffer from the common cold, nasal congestion is a big problem to face. It is difficult to breathe, eat or sleep with nasal congestion. You can either diffuse turmeric essential oil using a diffuser in your room before going to sleep or prepare your chest rub (12, 13).
7. Helps your skin to glow
The anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cicatrizing properties of turmeric oil makes it great for improving the skin condition.
If you suffer from acne, allergic conditions, inflammation or any kind of skin infection, you can always opt for turmeric essential oil.
A massage with diluted turmeric oil facilitates healing and further, improves cell turn over. It is an excellent anti-ageing medicine.
Dilute 1 -2 drops of turmeric essential oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply it on the skin after a shower to moisturize the skin and prevent infections. (14)
8. Relieves body & muscle pain
Muscle aches and body pain are very common and can occur at any age. This could be due to water retention, flu, infection, and stress. At some cases, headaches, weakness, fatigue, and shivering can also accompany with muscle pain. You may feel tired.
Take proper rest at this time. With this, massage your body with diluted turmeric oil.
Just apply diluted turmeric oil on the painful regions and let the analgesic property of the oil do its work. You can also diffuse the turmeric oil in the room. Turmeric oil relaxes the muscles and distresses you so that you feel fresh and energetic. (15)
9. Cures rheumatic arthritis
Rheumatic arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that causes pain in the joints. It is often painful and as people grow old, it is accompanied with decreased mobility. Even small activities like climbing stairs, walking for a long time or sitting would become difficult.
But turmeric oil can come to rescue. It’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can do a big deed in treating this condition.
10. Recovers muscle soreness
Muscle soreness can occur due to various reasons. Both over-exercising and sedentary lifestyle lead to muscle soreness.
Soreness causes intolerable discomfort and pain. Massaging with diluted turmeric oil increases warmth in the skin, stimulated blood circulation, strengthens muscles and restores mobility.
However, turmeric helps in alleviating pain & soreness, and further, preventing muscle damage. However, a change in diet and lifestyle is also crucial.
If you want to lead a sedentary lifestyle, then begin with mild exercises followed by massages. Massage acts as an aid. If you are someone who exercises a lot, remember you have to give your body time to heal itself. (18)
What Blends with Turmeric Oil?
Turmeric oil blends the best with:
- Basil oil
- Black pepper oil
- Cajeput oil
- Caraway seed oil
- Cardamom oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Chamomile German oil
- Cinnamon leaf oil
- Clove Bud oil
- Copaiba oil
- Coriander seed oil
- Davana oil
- Geranium oil
- Ginger oil
- Greenland moss oil
- Lemon oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Mandarin oil
- Nutmeg oil
- Orange (sweet) oil
- Rose absolute oil
- Saro oil
- Sandalwood oil
- Tangerine oil
- Ylang ylang oil
How To Use Turmeric Oil?
The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has given turmeric essential oil the status of GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). This means that the oil is safe to use in food as long as it is free from solvents.
- Topical Application: Undiluted turmeric oil is harmful and causes allergic reactions. Always make sure you use the oil in higher dilution with a suitable carrier oil. Perform a patch test before applying the oil to larger sections in the body.
- Aromatherapy: Diffuse the oil using a diffuser or vaporizer for aromatherapy benefits.
- Ingestion: Turmeric essential oil is considered safe for oral intake. However, consider a doctor before ingesting the oil.
Side Effects of Turmeric oil
- Avoid prolonged use of turmeric essential oil.
- Avoid using the oil if you are under any medication. It may cause drug interaction.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using turmeric essential oil.