12 Amazing Turmeric Essential Oil Benefits & Uses
Turmeric essential oil has a huge range of health benefits and uses, including its ability to reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, prevent cancer, optimize digestion, prevent hair loss, stimulate circulation, improve the health of the skin, strengthen the immune system, protect the heart, add flavor to food and boost cognition, among others.
Turmeric essential oil is derived from the root of the turmeric plant, which bears the scientific name Curcuma longa, and has been an important part of traditional medicine practice for thousands of years. This perennial plant is native to Asia, which is why turmeric (as a spice) is often found in so many Eastern dishes. However, the rhizome (root) of the plant is packed with unique nutrients and active compounds, providing a huge amount of health benefits to those who regularly consume it.
Turmeric essential oil is acquired through a process of hydro-distillation or steam distillation of the root, and has extreme concentrations of sesquiterpenes, zingeriberene, curcumin, cineol, borneol and valeric acid, among hundreds of other molecules. As a spice, turmeric is widely praised for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and the essential oil boasts even more potential for human health.
This essential oil can be topically applied, consumed along with food, or even inhaled, meaning that there are dozens of different ways that this oil can be used in your daily life. The oil is easily absorbed into the skin and typically does not require a carrier oil to be effective. Turmeric essential oil can be prepared at home, but it is relatively inexpensive and widely available, so most experts recommend purchasing the oil after it has been processed.
Turmeric Essential Oil Benefits and Uses
Turmeric essential oil has many health benefits and uses. Some of them include:
Inflammation: The alpah-curcumene found in turmeric essential oil comes in very high concentrations, and is the main anti-inflammatory substance in this oil. This chemical is derived from curcumin, which is the active ingredient in the turmeric spice that provides so many of its health benefits. This allows turmeric oil to soothe inflammation associated with arthritis, gout, headaches, muscle pain, joint disorders and various chronic diseases throughout the body, including gastrointestinal inflammation.
Cancer Prevention: Significant research has been conducted on both turmeric and turmeric oil, and the anti-mutagenic properties of this oil are well known. It can not only prevent the multiplication and reproduction of cancer cells within the body, but also impair the energy-generating structures in cancer cells, causing apoptosis and functioning as a secondary treatment for a variety of cancer types.
Circulation: Turmeric oil is known as a stimulant substance, as it not only boosts the metabolism, but also promotes heart health by reducing platelet aggregation in the arteries and blood vessels. This can allow for better circulation of blood in the body, and thus more oxygenation and nutrient delivery to the areas of the body that need it most.
Detoxify the Body: One of the active ingredients in turmeric essential oil is Ar-turmerone, which is directly linked to liver health and detoxification. It can also stimulate urination, as a diuretic substance, which further speeds the release of excess toxins, fats and salts from the body.
Immune System: Few essential oils are as trusted when it comes to immune health, and it is actually widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, due to its antiseptic, anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic qualities. When ingested, even in small amounts, the powerful active ingredients can offer serious support to your body’s natural defenses.
Digestion: Zingeriberene makes up more than 30% of turmeric essential oil’s components, and is known to have a strong effect on the gastrointestinal system. It can not only promote flatulence and reduce bloating/cramping, but also optimize nutrient uptake and the digestive process.
Hair Loss: Turmeric essential oil has long been used as a natural remedy against hair loss and male pattern baldness. It is believed to be the result of the many antioxidants present in this oil, which can stimulate the regrowth of healthy cells and ensure the functioning of hair follicles, while also eliminating infections and inflammation on the scalp.
Skin Health: Topically applying turmeric essential oil to the skin, in moderate amounts, along with a carrier oil, can help to make skin look and feel younger, thanks to the concentrated antioxidants in this oil, such as curcumene, zingeriberene and other sesquiterpenes. This can improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and protect the skin from infection and irritation.
Improve Allergic Response: The immune-boosting properties of turmeric essential oil can improve the body’s ability to respond accurately to allergens. More specifically, this essential oil can reduce the severity of allergic reactions by regulating the immune response.
Cognition: Many of the antioxidants found in high concentrations in turmeric oil can prevent plaque deposition in neural pathways, helping to avoid neurodegenerative diseases and dementia, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Inhaling this oil is particularly effective for a boost to memory, focus and concentration.
Food Flavoring: Turmeric oil is not solely used for medicinal purposes; it also has a rich, aromatic flavor that can complement many different dishes. Turmeric is often used as a spice, but concentrated doses of turmeric essential oil might also be desired in your kitchen!
Heart Health: By reducing platelet aggregation, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and stimulating the growth of new red blood cells, turmeric essential oil can protect against atherosclerosis, fatigue, weakness, anemia, weakened blood vessels, heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Turmeric Essential Oil Side Effects
As with most essential oils, there are some side effects to turmeric oil, due to its potency and concentration of organic compounds. These side effects include skin irritation, stomach upset, nausea, hypotension and inflammation, particularly on membranes, such as the eyes or mouth. While the ingestion of turmeric essential oil is safe, it should only be consumed in very small quantities – no more than 5-10 drops at a time – and is best when combined with a carrier oil.
- Stomach Upset – Some people have reported gastrointestinal distress after consuming turmeric essential oil, but this is mainly when too much of this oil is consumed. In the proper amounts, turmeric essential oil can improve digestion and eliminate stomach distress, but a small amount of this oil can go a long way!
- Skin Irritation – When topically applied to the skin, turmeric essential oil can often eliminate infections, stimulate clean and healthy skin, and act as an astringent to close pores and lower your risk of acne. However, to determine whether you have any allergic susceptibility, you should first apply a small amount of the oil to a single patch of skin and wait a few hours to see if there is any reaction. Furthermore, carrier oils are often recommended for those with more sensitive skin, as these will help deliver the turmeric essential oil below the skin more effectively.
- Eyes, Nose, Mouth – No matter how healthy an essential oil may be, it can cause serious inflammation and irritation in mucus membranes, such as the eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid touching the oil and rubbing your eyes, or accidentally ingesting the oil, as it can cause negative reactions.
- Blood Pressure – One of the potential benefits of turmeric essential oil is to lower blood pressure and protect heart health, but if you are already on a blood pressure-lowering medication, this could cause dangerously low blood pressure, which can result in fainting, weakness, cognitive confusion and irregular heart beat.
- Pregnancy – As with any essential oil, extreme caution should be taken when pregnant, and turmeric essential oil should never be consumed without speaking to your doctor first about your specific condition.