Whether it’s as a spice, colourant or natural medicine, turmeric has become an integral part of cultures around the world, providing benefits for people in all walks of life.
Its signature bright orange colour and warm, earthy aroma ensures it stands out from its counterparts.
Whilst many people associate it with curries and southeast Asian recipes, as ancient civilisations first discovered more than 4,000 years ago, turmeric has a lot more to offer.
Turmeric essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, with countless studies showing that it can have a hugely positive effect on the body and mind.
To gain a better understanding of the benefits of turmeric oil, we have highlighted 10 benefits and uses to help you get more from your next application.
What is turmeric oil?
Turmeric essential oil, also known as curcuma, is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
The plant is part of the ginger family Zingiberaceae and requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and exposure to high rainfall in order to grow successfully.
The oil is extracted via steam distillation and retains the bright yellow orange colour that is associated with the powder.
This is due to its active component, curcumin, which gives turmeric its colour and calming properties.
How does turmeric oil work?
The exact scientific process of how turmeric works remains unknown, with researchers continuing to learn more about the plant and its various chemical components.
Uses of turmeric oil vary, depending on which health benefit the user wants to experience. For example, due to its astringent properties, people apply diluted turmeric oil topically as it can help to improve the condition of the skin.
As a massage blend, turmeric oil’s antimicrobial properties can be used to address rashes, itchiness and minor wounds, as well as joint pain.
In aromatherapy applications, turmeric essential oil can provide relief from coughs and cold, along with a sense of calm and emotional balance in people who use it to manage stress and anxiety.
Benefits of turmeric oil
Some of the main benefits of turmeric essential oil include its ability to:
1. Soothe inflamed joints and muscles
Turmeric oils anti-inflammatory properties are well known, with many people using it to reduce inflammation.
It is believed that it can help to block inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, which reduces swelling and any associated pain.
It is also a long-held belief amongst practitioners of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine that turmeric could offer a natural cure for arthritis.
In 2010, researchers put this to the test and found that turmeric did have a positive effect on inflamed joints.
When applied topically, the oil was able to relieve arthritis symptoms which helped to improve the quality of life of those involved in the study.
2. Improve the condition of your skin
People who suffer with acne, eczema or psoriasis may find that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to calm some of the symptoms associated with these conditions.
Turmeric oil is also an antibacterial and antiseptic oil, which means it could possess the ability to cleanse the skin and resolve root causes of inflammation.
The reputed benefits of turmeric oil extend to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as hyperpigmentation and other signs of ageing.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that topical application could provide protection from UV rays.
The oil should always be used sparingly, as it is known to stain the skin and leave yellow markings behind if too much is applied.
3. Support good mental health
There is a mildly aromatic aroma to turmeric oil when it is being diffused, offering hints of ginger or orange.
This can help to create a positive atmosphere for people to relax and manage changes in mood, giving them an emotional boost when it is needed most.
Researchers investigated this further in a 2016 study, which looked at how using it as a supplemental treatment could help patients with major depressive disorder.
The results were positive, with the treatment reducing symptoms associated with low moods, whilst also providing clarity of mind.
4. Support liver health
It is important to protect your liver and ensure it is in good health, as an underperforming organ can have serious consequences for the rest of your body.
Researchers examined the effects of turmeric against damage caused by a strong chemical called methotrexate and found that turmeric oil played a big role in protecting the liver.
They learned that the turmeric oil benefits enabled it to protect the liver against methotrexate, suggesting that it could provide even more when it comes to dealing with everyday toxins.
You can put this to the test at home by diluting a small amount of turmeric essential oil and massaging it into the stomach area.
5. Boost hair health and growth
Turmeric has long been associated with hair growth and health in India, with women using the powder to remove unneeded hair.
The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce hair loss, as by reducing inflammation in the scalp, it can lessen the impact of pattern hair loss on hair follicles.
It could also prove useful in treating oily hair and scalps, with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties combining to prevent the growth of microorganisms, which are common in oily scalps.
6. Reduce some leukaemia cells
One study published back in 2002 investigated how aromatic turmerone isolated from turmeric was able to affect the DNA of human leukaemia cell lines.
Researchers found that a selective induction of programmed cell death in Molt 4B and HL-60 cells was induced by the turmerone.
However, these positive results did not extend to human stomach cells.
Studies examining turmeric’s anticancer properties are ongoing, with researchers continuing to search for conclusive evidence that could lead to it being used as a natural method of treatment.
7. Treat epilepsy
The oil’s sesquiterpenoids (ar-turmerone, α-, β-turmerone and α-atlantone) and anticonvulsant properties have been highlighted in mouse and zebrafish models of chemically induced seizures.
Turmeric oil’s key ingredient, curcumin, contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that could potentially be used for treating epilepsy disorders.
However, at this stage the exact mechanism responsible for producing its anti-seizure effects are not yet clear, as there are no randomised, double-blinded controlled clinical trial results that can validate its use at this stage.
8. Prevent neurological diseases
People experiencing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and spinal cord injuries may see the benefits of turmeric oil in the future, as researchers continue to learn more about its full potential.
Turmerone, the major bioactive compound of turmeric oil, has been shown to inhibit microglia activation.
These are cells that are located in the brain and spinal cord and can be examined to reveal the signs of brain disease.
Whilst more research is needed, the fact that researchers were able to discover that a major compound in turmeric could prevent harmful cell activation is hugely promising.
9. Improve lung function
A growing amount of data from animal and pharmacological studies appear to support the idea that curcumin plays a protective role in acute lung injury, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome and allergic asthma.
Researchers believe it has the ability to modulate or prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, with some suggesting that testing it on patients with lung diseases could be the next step.
One older study, conducted in 1992, tested 16 chronic smokers by giving them daily doses of 1.5g of turmeric for 30 days.
By the end of the study, they found that the urinary excretion of mutagens (chemicals that can mutate DNA lines) was significantly reduced.
10. Promote weight loss
Certain inflammatory markers that play a role in obesity could be suppressed through use of curcumin, according to some test-tube studies.
People with excess obesity or weight tend to have elevated varieties of these markers.
In another study, 44 people struggling to lose weight produced promising results after taking 800 mg and 8 mg of piperine twice a day.
It led to significant reductions in body mass index, body weight and waist and hip circumference.
Turmeric oil benefits were also linked to a review of 21 studies involving 1,600 people, which indicated curcumin intake could reduce body mass index, body weight and waist circumference.
How to use turmeric oil
Turmeric oil uses range from aromatherapy and massage to skincare and haircare. Two easy ways you can enjoy its benefits are:
As a skincare lotion
Once combined, apply sparingly to the skin to spot treat abrasions, whilst also helping to reduce and prevent the signs of ageing.
Remember to only use a small amount of turmeric essential oil to avoid skin staining.
As a hair mask
Applying turmeric essential oil to your hair and scalp can help with the management of dandruff and encourage a healthy scalp.
To make your own DIY hair mask, mix equal quantities of turmeric and olive oil and apply slowly to your hair.
Leave it in for 20 minutes before rinsing out with your favourite shampoo or conditioner.
History of turmeric oil
The history of turmeric oil goes back thousands of years to the original practitioners of Ayurvedic and Unani medicine.
It gained popularity across Africa and Asia, with its anti-inflammatory effects helping to treat a variety of ailments.
Turmeric eventually arrived in Europe after explorer Marco Polo came across it whilst travelling in China, and it quickly became cherished for its medicinal abilities.
Today, turmeric is commonly used in cooking and retains a special place in some religious ceremonies, whilst the oil has gained prominence in aromatherapy for its natural healing properties that can benefit the body and mind.
Turmeric oil FAQs
Does turmeric oil stain the skin?
Due to its main ingredient, curcumin, turmeric oil can leave behind yellow stains if too much is applied or if it is left on the skin or hair for too long.
Avoid leaving the oil on overnight and if you do notice any staining, wash your face with milk, which can help to remove it.
Is turmeric safe for people with heart conditions?
Although taking turmeric supplements is safe for most people, The British Heart Foundation advises against using them if you are on blood thinners.
This is because high doses of turmeric could produce its own blood-thinning effect, which could lead to bleeding if mixed with anticoagulants. Speak with your doctor to get advice based on your circumstances.
Is turmeric oil good for wound healing?
By decreasing inflammation and oxidation, the curcumin found in turmeric may be able to help wounds heal faster.
This can also be aided through its ability to lower the response of your body to cutaneous wounds. Studies have also suggested turmeric could also modulate collagen production, helping the skin to recover faster.
|100% Pure Turmeric Essential Oil|
|Botanical Name||Curcuma Longa|
|Benefits & Uses||Anti-Inflammatory, Mood Boosting, Skin|
|Suitable for Diffusers?||Yes, this turmeric essential oil is perfect for diffusers.|
|Suitable for Candles and Soaps?||Yes, this turmeric essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.|
|Extraction Method||Steam Distillation|
|Bottle Type||Tamper proof and UV resistant|