However you prefer to pronounce it, the benefits of turmeric (Curcuma longa) remain the same. Used for centuries in India, this Ayurvedic medicinal plant is famous for it’s potent amount of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory ingredient found in the root and it’s antiseptic properties.
A relative of the ginger plant and widely grown in Southeast Asia, it looks much like a pudgy ginger root from the outside, but once you cut into it, the shock of vibrant orange differentiates it from your average store bought ginger (Zingiber officinale). If you haven’t heard about turmeric, most likely you have unknowingly tasted it. Used as one of the main ingredients in Indian curries, and as a coloring agent in mustard, turmeric probably crossed your lips or at least stained that new white shirt you wore to that picnic. 😉
Found in body washes, shampoos, soaps, and makeup, turmeric has become increasingly popular in the body care industry. Used in beauty rituals for Indian, and Bengali weddings, brides are covered in turmeric paste to create a glow like no other. Also applied to cuts, skin infections, acne, and scars turmeric has been known as a useful beauty rescue aid.
So, where can you purchase this miraculous root? Try an Asian grocery store. Luckily, I live near quite a few; Pomona Supermarket on Holt, Market World and Ranch 99 in Rancho Cucamonga. For my organic Turmeric soap, I purchase certified organic turmeric powder through Mountain Rose Herbs.
Here is a great Turmeric beauty recipe:
Indian Bridal Glow Mask
1 cup of chickpea flour
3 tablespoons of powdered turmeric
Almond oil (enough to form a paste)
Directions: Mix ingredients into a paste. Apply to the face and body, and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the mask by rubbing off mixture with your hands. This motion will exfoliate your skin. Cleanse off the rest of the mask. Can be applied once a week.
(provided by Shalina Vadhera, a celebrity makeup artist and writer of Passport to Beauty).
My note: Definitely try out Shalina’s recipe, but if you don’t have almond oil, you can also use a more common oil you have on hand — organic olive, sunflower, coconut, or even sesame seed. Always perform a 24 hr. skin patch test to make sure you don’t have allergies or skin sensitivities. I also have tried substituting chickpea flour with baking soda, pearl powder, grounded oatmeal, or finely grounded jasmine rice. Chickpea flour helps with inflammation, redness, and makes a great skin exfoliator. It may be drying for some skin types. If you have really light skin, you may want to tone down the amount of turmeric powder because it does give you a slight orange glow — not a bad — I stayed in the tanning salon too long – glow, just a tinge.
Remember: What works for one’s skin may not work for another AND I am not a medical physician. I merely enjoy the wonders of ingredients used in beauty regimens across the world. It’s a journey I continue to seek and love to share with rest of you. Enjoy!