You might recognize turmeric from its strong presence in Indian cuisine. Turmeric–sometimes known as jiang huang, haridra, or Indian saffron–is the spice that gives both curry and mustard its signature yellow coloring. But did you know that there are so many more benefits to turmeric than just food? Turmeric has been used in countries such as India and China as part of herbal medicine for thousands and thousands of years–and for a good reason. Its main component, curcumin, is what gives the spice such amazing benefits. Curcumin (which isn’t related to cumin, by the way) is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making it not only beneficial for your health but for beauty purposes, as well. So, if you’re having trouble with your skin or you’re just not feeling too hot lately, maybe it’s time you gave turmeric a shot. Check out our top five health and beauty benefits that turmeric has to offer:
1. A cleansing and exfoliating mask
Turmeric is an excellent exfoliating agent and skin brightener. All you need to do is mix an equal amount of it with either rice or chickpea flour. Then add a teaspoon of the mixture to some plain, raw yogurt to make a paste. Apply this to your face, leave it for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse it off to reveal bright, smooth, and glowing skin. Warning: Turmeric will stain your skin a bit, so make sure you’re doing this at night.
2. Acne treatment
In addition to being an excellent exfoliator, turmeric is also known for its ability to help treat acne. Turmeric has been extremely effective for many people due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties and its ability to help control oil. In addition, since it is an anti-inflammatory, it also helps reduce redness and the swelling that comes with acne.
3. Dark spot treatment
Turmeric is a great, natural alternative for hyperpigmentation treatments. It has been proven to inhibit the production of melanin, which is the pigment that colors our skin and also produces those pesky dark spots. When used consistently, turmeric can even return tanned skin back to its natural color quicker than normal.
4. Immune system boost
Free radicals are damaged cells created by the body’s own natural process that can really mess up how your skin produces healthy cells. Specifically, free radicals tend to compromise the immune system. This is where turmeric comes in. The curcumin in turmeric is a a great antioxidant which fights off the free radicals in our bodies. Not only are you getting the many benefits of antioxidants, but your immune system is getting a boost too.
5. Prevent and possibly treat cancer
Although research is still in the very early stages, the link between turmeric and cancer prevention is very promising. Due to it being rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric has been able to slow down the growth of cancer cells, kill them in a controlled environment, and even inhibit the disease all together.