Turmeric, or Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae), is a rhizome that includes beneficial antioxidant compounds including curcumin, which also helps support a healthy inflammatory response.* While we appear to absorb very little curcumin from the standard turmeric powder used in food, this spice can provide antioxidants. It is also an excellent way to add flavor to foods without adding any heat.
In supplement form, turmeric has antioxidants and is traditionally used by Herbalists to:
- Aid digestion 
- Help relieve flatulent dyspepsia 
- Promote healthy liver function 
- Promote bile flow and gallbladder function  
- Help support healthy inflammatory responses 
A Versatile and Flavorful Spice
The most common way to use turmeric in the kitchen is as a curry spice, but in recent years some people have gotten a little more adventurous.
Chocolatiers are adding the spice to dark chocolate as a way to boost antioxidant content and flavor, while roasted chickpeas dressed in turmeric, salt, and lime are not an uncommon grocery store find.
Head to any juice bar these days and you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one juice that contains turmeric, with the spice often listed as optional. It’s also becoming increasingly common to find turmeric lattes on coffee shop menus!
A Natural Beauty Aid
Another traditional use for turmeric has recently caught the attention of proponents of natural beauty products. For years, brides in India have used the spice as part of a head-to-toe body scrub and face mask prior to their wedding day.
Since it’s made with some pretty common ingredients, making your own turmeric face mask is simple.
Home-Made Turmeric Face Mask
- 2 tablespoons of ground oats
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 3 tablespoons of unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as rice or almond
- 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed
- Mix the oats and turmeric, and then mix the flaxseed with the milk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to create a paste.
- Use a small spatula or a clean finger to apply the mask in a thin layer over your face.
- Let the mask dry for 20 minutes and then rinse away the mask, gently scrubbing as needed.
- Finally, apply your preferred moisturizer
Because turmeric is highly pigmented, some people worry that using it on fair skin can cause staining. This doesn’t usually occur, yet it’s best to use a thin layer of the mask and to not leave it on for longer than 20 minutes, just in case.
Use a small Mason jar to make this mask as this will allow you to store any excess in the refrigerator for two to three days. This face mask can also be a delightful (and customizable) gift!
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
 Williamson, E.M. (2003). Potter’s Herbal Cyclopaedia: The Authoritative Reference work on Plants with a Known Medical Use. Saffron Walden (GB): The C.W. Daniel Company Limited.
 Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2000). The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis (MO): Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
 Blumenthal, M., Goldberg, A., Brinkmann, J., editors. (2000). Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.