Turmeric essential oil has a huge range of health benefits and uses, including its ability to reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, help 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.
What is Turmeric Essential Oil?
Turmeric essential oil is derived from the root of the turmeric plant, which bears the scientific name Curcuma longa. It 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 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, zingiberene, curcumin, cineol, borneol, and valeric acid, among hundreds of other molecules.
This essential oil can be topically applied, consumed along with food, or even inhaled, meaning that there are dozens of ways to use this oil 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:
The alpha-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.
Significant research has been conducted on both turmeric and turmeric oil, and the anti-mutagenic properties of this oil are well known. According to Dr. Vijayasteltar Belsamma Liju, Dr. Kottarapat Jeena et al’s report published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, turmeric oil 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.
Turmeric oil is known as a stimulant, 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.
Detoxifies 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.
Boosts Immune System
Few essential oils are as trusted when it comes to immune health and turmeric essential oil is 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.
Zingiberene 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.
Turmeric essential oil has long been used as a natural remedy for 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.
Topically applying turmeric essential oil to the skin, in moderate amounts, along with a carrier oil, can help make skin look and feel younger, thanks to the concentrated antioxidants in this oil such as curcumene, zingiberene, and other sesquiterpenes. This can improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and protect the skin from infection and irritation.
Improves 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.
Boosts Cognitive Function
Many of the antioxidants found in high concentrations in turmeric oil can help prevent plaque deposition in neural pathways, helping to avoid neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. Inhaling this oil is particularly effective for a boost to memory, focus, and concentration.
Improves 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 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!
Turmeric Essential Oil Side Effects
As with most essential oils, there are some side effects of 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. If an appropriate amount is taken, turmeric essential oil can improve digestion and eliminate stomach distress.
- Skin Irritation: When topically applied to the skin, turmeric essential oil can often eliminate infections, promote 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 mucous 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: Turmeric essential oil is known to lower blood pressure and protect the heart, but if you are already on a blood pressure-lowering medication, this could cause a dangerous fall in the blood pressure, which can result in fainting, weakness, cognitive confusion and irregular heartbeat.
- 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 about your specific condition.