Turmeric is often praised for its natural anti-inflammatory properties and cancer-reducing benefits. Before traditional Indian weddings, turmeric paste is spread on the bride's face and arms to give her a golden tint a symbol of prosperity and fertility for the marriage to come.1 According to the University of Maryland, turmeric especially good for reducing inflammation from acne, for example, and some internal diseases. It's also been proven to reduce symptoms of indigestion.
If you're new to using the spice (which is quite delicious), here are three ways to get you started with the golden spice.
1. Golden Milk Tea
Before bed, I find like warm almond milk with cinnamon helps with my insomniac tendencies. When I started learning about the benefits of turmeric, I started adding it to my evening recipe. Here's what you'll need:
2 cups milk (Any kind works. I prefer almond milk.)
2 teaspoons turmeric
A pinch of cinnamon to taste
A pinch of black pepper (The black pepper allows the body to better absorb the properties of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric).
Bring the milk and spices to a boil and let the flavors simmer together for about 10 minutes. Filter the mixture and enjoy.
2. Face Mask
As an anti-inflammatory, turmeric has been said to reduce acne, eczema, and even out varying skin tones when applied topically. This all depends on your individual skin type, so it's best to experiment little by little and see what works for you. I've used a number of recipes, but the one that has worked best for me (reducing the effects of acne and scarring and softening my skin) is this recipe:
2 teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoon honey
A bit of water to make a paste. This you will have to play with. Only use just enough water to make the mixture spreadable. You can also add milk (also any kind) instead of water, to make the paste more like a cream. Mix the paste or cream and spread on the skin. Do be careful, though, as turmeric tends to stain skin, porcelain, and plastic.
Wear the mask for about 10 minutes (Not more than 20. If you leave it for too long, the yellow might stain for a couple washes). Wash off with water and a (dark) towel. Try the mask every other day or every two days for a week, or find a routine that works for you and your skin.
3. As a Cooking Spice….
In ayurveda, the type of "yoga" sister science that prescribes holistic medicinal remedies, turmeric is a spice used in meals to balance each body type energy. It's nice to add to just about any meal, though the flavor can be strong, especially if you're not used to it.
But it's my secret traveling partner. I always take a small bottle with me in my bag, so that when I'm staying at hostels and eating out at restaurants and can't cook myself, I add a pinch to my meals to stimulate digestion.