Turmeric… does the name excite you? Obviously, no. It is such a humble spice being used in India for hundreds of years and has remained an ordinary household name.
But to me turmeric is special because of its multi-faceted qualities, making it the reason why Indians use turmeric for various health issues.
The most common use is as a spice in Indian culinary dishes. Ayurveda identified turmeric as antiseptic and anti-bacterial and made its use common in food to strengthen the stomach, promote its action as a tonic and a blood purifier eliminating maximum bacteria from the system.
When somebody gets injured we normally take the paste of turmeric and apply it to the affected area so that it does not get infected and heals faster. Or when somebody is suffering from a sinusitis attack the addition of turmeric powder in hot milk brings relief to a great extent, once again helping the body to fight the viruses in the system. It is also widely used in gargling with warm water and salt to clear mucous from the throat.
Being anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-viral, Turmeric has many medicinal values. Also it can cleanse the skin without affecting or disturbing the skin’s natural oils. This means it can kill the bacteria on the skin, help heal the skin of minor infections and blemishes, detoxify it and keep it healthy without reducing its natural sebum.
In a cultural context, it has been a savior for brides and groom over the years as the most potent cleanser nature has ever made. I am of course talking about the famous haldi ritual we celebrate before weddings in India. Do you know why we have this ritual? Has anyone ever bothered to ask? Do we really need it in today’s age with all the best of salons and spas around us offering new innovative skin cleansing treatments like scrub, masks, wraps etc.?
The haldi ritual was started when there were no other methods of thoroughly cleansing a person, especially before such an important day of his life… Marriage.
Hence, in marriages there is singing, dancing and music being played with all the family members scrubbing the bride and groom with turmeric to allow its medicinal value to completely cleanse and rid the skin of minor issues, resulting in clear and glowing skin.
Till date many Indian women especially in South India apply homemade turmeric paste on their bodies daily. This helps to remove body tan due to sun and pollution exposure.
Aromatherapy has made the use of turmeric simple and very effective. One can easily buy the steam-distilled turmeric oil and add to the many different products we use daily; face wash, cleanser, body wash or any kind of homemade paste one makes for cleansing the face or body. Turmeric essential oil is only for external use, but the benefits are the same as using whole turmeric — glowing skin without blemishes and discoloration, reduction of acne and rapid healing of infections.