Turmeric is a rhizome that grows under the ground like ginger. It has a rich, bright orange color and is used in many foods. Originally used in Southeast Asia, it’s a vital component for traditional curries. You can find dried powdered turmeric in the spice aisle of just about any grocery store. Sometimes they carry the fresh rhizome too (it looks like ginger root, but smaller).
Turmeric contains an amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound called “curcumin.” The amount of this bioactive compound is around 3-7% by weight of turmeric. Curcumin has been studied like crazy for its health benefits. Many of these studies test curcumin at up to 100x more than that of a traditional diet that includes turmeric.
Health Benefits of Curcumin
There are dozens of clinical studies using curcumin extract (which is way more concentrated than ground turmeric).
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound. It fights inflammation at the molecular level. Some studies even show it can work as well as certain anti-inflammatory medications (but without the side effects).
Curcumin is an antioxidant compound. It can neutralize free radicals before they wreak havoc on our biomolecules. Curcumin also boosts our natural antioxidant enzymes.
These two functions of reducing inflammation and oxidation have amazing health benefits. Chronic inflammation plays a major role in so many conditions. Including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, dementia, mood disorders, arthritis pain, etc.
Curcumin has other amazing functions too:
- Boosts our levels of “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (like a natural growth hormone for your brain) which is great for brain health.
- Improves “endothelial” function” (the inner lining of our blood vessels) which is great for heart health.
- Reduces growth of cancer cells by reducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (the spread of cancer), and even contributes to the death of cancer cells.
Do you think these make turmeric deserve the “miracle spice” title? I think so!
How to get the most out of your turmeric
Curcumin is not easily absorbed by your gut. For one thing, it’s fat soluble. So, as with fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamins A, D, E, and K), you can increase absorption by eating it with a fat-containing meal.
The second trick to get the most out of your turmeric is eating it with pepper. Interestingly, a compound in black pepper (piperine) enhances absorption of curcumin, by a whopping 2,000%!
If you want the health benefits of curcumin, you need to get a larger dose of than just eating some turmeric; this is where supplements come in.
Before you take a curcumin supplement, take caution if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are taking anti-platelet medications or blood thinners
- Have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction
- Have stomach ulcers or excess stomach acid
Always read the label before taking a new supplement.
Taking Turmeric to the next level: Turmeric Essential Oil!
I’m very excited to talk about doTERRA’s new launch this September of the Turmeric essential oil because all the studies are showing the most amazing results!
[Note that the information and uses for Turmeric essential oil are based on the doTERRA brand of Turmeric essential oil]
This oil is steam distilled from the turmeric root and has 2 unique chemical components: Turmerone and ar-Turmerone. Both components have been shown to help our bodies with the absorption of curcumin, a strong antioxidant and the main compound actually found in raw turmeric root and turmeric extract. So adding turmeric essential oil to your curcumin intake will greatly increase absorption! And because Turmerones are readily absorbable and can easily act on cellular membranes.
Some of the benefits include:
- Helps support healthy glucose and lipid metabolism
- May enhance cellular antioxidant enzymes (e.g. glutathione)
- Helps support healthy nervous and cellular function
- Has been shown to increase curcumin potency and absorption
- May promote healthy immune function and response
- When diffused, Turmeric provides an emotional lift and may help improve mood
- Supports clean and healthy-looking skin while reducing the appearance of blemishes
- Supports healthy glucose and lipid metabolism
In a recent study this year, turmeric extract (turmerones) was demonstrated for the first time for its anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects on colorectal cancer cells! How exciting! You can read the study here.
It’s also shown to support regeneration in neurologic disease. (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, strokes) You can read the study here.
How to use Turmeric Essential Oil
I will just warn you now, it doesn’t smell like you think it will! It’s very earthy with a hint of turmeric as we know it. However, not to worry, it tastes pretty good! And in food tastes even better!
Here are the best ways to use the oil:
- Take internally for daily antioxidant support and to improve immune response
- Use as spot treatment as needed on face, or in a face mask to help reduce the appearance of blemishes or for a healthy-looking overall glow
- Diffuse or put a drop in your hand and inhale to boost your mood
- Add 1 or 2 drops in glass of water to help support your nervous system
- Add a drop or two to eggs, rice, soups
Turmeric is a delicious spice, and it’s “active ingredient” curcumin is a great health-booster. And we now have access to the most amazing form of turmeric: it’s essential oil!
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are great to bust chronic inflammation. It also has other amazing health benefits, like brain- and heart-boosting properties, and even cancer-fighting properties.
I’ve personally been trying to find a way every day to add in a drop of Turmeric essential oil to get all the benefits.
If you’ve been curious about essential oils but aren’t sure where to start? Or if they’d be a good fit for your health and wellbeing goals? Sign up for my free 30 min essential oil consult (open to anyone!) and find out more about these powerful little tools that you can start using on a daily basis. Sign up below:
Golden Milk Recipe
2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp turmeric, ground
½ tsp cinnamon, ground
Pinch black pepper
1 tsp honey or maple syrup or 1 dropper full of Stevia
2 drops Turmeric essential oil (optional)
Add all ingredients (except essential oil) to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine.
Warm over medium heat, whisking frequently. Heat until hot, but not boiling.
Pour into your mug and then add in the turmeric essential oil. Enjoy!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.