Turmeric, the yellow, woody, and fresh root is staple spice in Asian and Indian cooking. The active compounds, health-promoting vitamins, alkaloids and phenols present in it makes it one of the most powerful healing spice on the earth. Many times we interchange turmeric with curcumin, but the fact is that curcumin is only one of the active ingredient present in turmeric that makes it antiviral, antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-cancerous, nephroprotective and radioprotective. Also, it promotes digestion.
In this article we will discuss the benefits of turmeric essential oil which is extracted from the rhizomes or roots through steam distillation and is highly concentrated. Its aroma is woody, earthy like a fresh cut root with the touch of spice.
Phytochemical Profile Of Turmeric Oil
Turmeric oil is known to contain over 300 phenolic compounds. The major compounds are ar-turmerone, beta-turmerone, alpha-turmerone and curcumin. These compounds are sesquiterpene and promotes the oxygen supply to brain as they can pass the blood-brain barrier. Other phytochemicals in turmeric oil are zingiberene, beta-caryophyllene, eucalyptol, alpha-phellandrene and curcumin. Due to the presence of all these compounds turmeric oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It stimulates gland, soothes inflamed tissues, promotes the health of the liver and brings hormonal balance. Just like turmeric powder, turmeric oil is also anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Also, it is a strong balancer and natural muscle relaxer.
Let’s get into the details of the benefits of turmeric essential oil
Health Benefits Of Turmeric Oil
- Fights The Cancer Of Colon– According to a study conducted by the ‘Division of Food Science and Biotechnology, Graduate School Of Agriculture at Kyoto University, Japan in 2013 curcumin and aromatic turmerone present in turmeric essential oil help the patients struggling with colon cancer to fight the disease. It abolishes the formation of the tumour. Also, the combination offers protection against inflammation-associated colon cancer.
- Turmeric Essential Oil For Brain- Turmeric oil improves the cognitive and brain functions. The key-hormone that is responsible for the formation of new neuron connection is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. When the level of this hormone reduces, it is linked to debilitating brain disorders such as dementia and alzheimer’s. Studies show that curcumin boosts the level of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and delays or can reverse brain ailments. Curcumin improves the function of brain and fights the degeneration of brains cells.
Inhaling turmeric essential oil is effective in boosting cognitive functions. It improves concentration and boost memory. It has the potential to treat and prevents age-related neurodegenerative diseases. The bioactive ar-turmerone in turmeric oil is also found to support regeneration in neurological disease and hinder microglia. Microglia is a type of cell that is located thought out the human brain and spinal cord. Activation of these cells proves the presence of brain ailments.
- For Pain And Inflammation– Inflammation is the body’s natural way to fight infection but when it is chronic, it becomes a contributing factor responsible for various chronic diseases such as stroke, brain cancer, arthritis, heart disease and other ailments. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory. It fights inflammation at the molecular level. It blocks NF-kB which is a molecule responsible for activating the gene in the cells that is known to trigger inflammation. Turmeric oil contains about 60% alpha-curcumene and has the potential to fight inflammation. Thus, it prevents inflammation of the digestive tract, gout, joint pain and other chronic diseases.
- Treats Epilepsy– Studies have shown that ar-turmerone, alpha-turmerone and beta-turmerone have anticonvulsant properties.
- Boosts Immunity– Curcumin activates the production and release of bilirubin which is a very important anti-oxidant to boost the body immunity. Also, the combination of the active compounds in turmeric oil makes it a potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It wards off the harmful microbes, keeps inflammation in control and builds body immunity.
Also, the immune boosting ability of this oil helps in dealing with allergens.
- To heal wounds– As we have discussed above, turmeric essential oil is anti-microbial and antiseptic. It reduces inflammation, prevents secondary infection, accelerates healing and decreases the chances of scar formation. This is why it is recommended to dilute turmeric oil with emu oil or any other carrier oil and apply to minor burns and cuts to speed healing.
- To Reduce Joint Pain And Arthritis- Arthritis is inflammation of joints. It affects millions of people all over the world. Turmeric oil is anti-inflammatory. The active compounds present in it blocks the chemical, inflammatory enzymes and cytokines that trigger joint swelling. Antioxidants present in it fight free radical damage and protects cartilage. The pain relieving property of curcumin is equivalent to ibuprofen and improves joint movement. Mix 4-5 drops of turmeric oil to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil and apply to the affected part two times a day to relieve pain.
- Improve The Health of Liver– Liver is the detoxifying organ of our body. The compounds present in turmeric oil is liver protective and cleanses the liver. It is also found useful in protecting the liver from MTX induced toxicity. MTX is antimetabolite that is used in the treatment of auto-immune diseases and cancer treatment.
- For common cold– Curcumin is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It suppresses virus that causes HPV, herpes, chikungunya, hepatitis, influenza, herpes and common cold. Add a few drops of turmeric oil to a bowl of steaming water. Place your face over it and cover your face and head with a towel. Inhale deeply to alleviate stuffy nose and chest congestion and to kill the cold-causing germs.
You may also add a few drops of this oil to your diffuser before going to bed so that you can breathe the medicinal vapours whole night.
- For Depression– You can trust turmeric oil as a natural antidepressant that is free from any side effect. The curcumin present in it shows the same improvements as Prozac drug which is used to treat depression. Also, as we have discussed above that curcumin increases the level of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor that again alleviates the symptoms of depression. Curcumin is also known to stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine hormone that elevates mood and promotes positive thinking.
To enhance mood inhale turmeric oil directly from the bottle. You may also rub a few drops of oil on your palms and breathe profoundly cupping your hands over the face.
- Reduces Leukaemia Cells- Research shows that aromatic turmerone causes selective induction of the programmed cell death in human leukaemia. Aromatic turmerone is shown to kill the leukaemia cell lines.
- Combats Breast Cancer– The compounds present in turmeric oil inhibits the abilities of TPA’s which are a potent promoter of tumours and thus the oil can combat breast cancer.
- For Herpes– There is no cure for genital or oral herpes that is caused by the HSV virus. However, application or turmeric oil to the blisters can reduce the severity and duration of the infection, speed up healing and soothe inflammation. Also, it boosts body immunity and prevents the flare-up in future. In the case of genital or oral herpes mix 3-4 drops of turmeric oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil and apply to the affected part with the help of an ear bud.
Caution While Using Turmeric Oil
Just like other essential oils turmeric essential oil is potent and should not be applied to mucous membranes or eyes. Do not take it internally unless recommended by a qualified doctor. Also, conduct a small patch test before applying it to the skin.
If you are a nursing mother, pregnant women or taking some medications, consult your doctor before using it. Just like other essential oils keep turmeric oil away from children reach.
Also, turmeric essential oil can make your skin sensitive to ultraviolet rays, so after its application take necessary precautions before stepping out in the sun such as application of highly effective sunscreen, covering face with scarf or wearing a hat.