As one of the most frequently used Indian spices, turmeric is a common sight in British kitchens, up and down the country. It might stain your fingers and turn your crockery yellow, but this vibrant ingredient is a true wonder substance. It not only adds a rich, beautiful hue to authentic Indian dishes, it also comes with an almost endless list of health benefits. It is filled with antioxidants, which means that it actively aids the protection and repair of cells.
In fact, scientists now believe that turmeric could even heal damaged brain cells. A recent report, outlined in the Stem Cell Research and Therapy journal, found a compound in the curry spice, which may hold the key to repairing the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases. In other words, if you are not already utilising this colourful spice, within your meals, you are missing out in a big way. It is extremely easy to use, and can be added to almost anything.
You should not make the mistake of thinking that turmeric is a spice designed exclusively for use in Indian dishes. It is commonly added to soups, mustard, chilli con carne, cakes and even tea. If you need an earthy, wholesome base for a warm soup or sauce, turmeric is a great choice. Plus, it has to be one of the most versatile Indian Spices on the planet – just check out all of these alternative uses. Who knew that you could use turmeric to soothe a poorly tummy, or ease the symptoms of arthritis?
1. Brightening Your Teeth Yes, that’s right – turmeric is great for keeping pearly whites sparkling. It might sound counter intuitive – after all, this spice is notorious for its ability to stain – but there are beauty experts all around the world who swear by it. The former Miss USA Susie Castillo makes her own homemade toothpaste, which contains a healthy dollop of turmeric. The key thing to remember is that the spice simply isn’t left in the mouth long enough for it to get anywhere close to leaving a stain.
2. Customising Your Foundation The British actress Thandie Newton has very famously confessed to mixing turmeric into her tinted moisturisers and foundations. If, like her, you have darker skin, it can be difficult to find makeup that perfectly matches its tone. A little helping of turmeric can colour foundation just enough, for it to give skin a warm and healthy glow. It is common for women in India to add turmeric to their cosmetics.
3. Giving Your Scalp Some TLC It seems like the health and beauty benefits of this spice know no bounds. Once again, beauty experts all around the world swear by a combination of olive and turmeric, designed to tackle dandruff and improve the overall condition of the hair and scalp. You can use coconut oil for this, as it smells beautiful and is very kind to the skin.
4. Embellishing Temporary Tattoos The spice can also be used to create golden Mehndi, which are temporary tattoos made with henna. It is completely safe to use on skin, and has been utilised in Hindu bridal ceremonies for centuries. To herald her arrival, a bride was daubed from head to toe in turmeric– this gave her an impressive glow.
5. Healing Painful Sprains There is a traditional homeopathic sprain remedy, which involves applying a paste made up of one part salt and two parts turmeric – with a little water, to make it easier to apply to the affected area. It is said to aid healing and greatly reduce swelling, but do be aware that it will leave a temporary stain. This treatment is best used on body parts that can’t be seen, unless you really don’t mind stepping out with a yellow neck or wrist. Plus, medical experts in the US recommend an oral dose of turmeric, if you want to reduce severe swelling.
6. Soothing An Upset Stomach This spice has long been a remedy for upset stomachs. In fact, the National Institutes of Health officially recommend 500mg of turmeric, taken four times a day, to heal and treat a poorly tummy. Plus, very early tests seem to be suggesting that turmeric may delay the symptoms of liver damage.
7. Easing The Symptoms Of Arthritis There is just no stopping this wonder ingredient. For osteoarthritis, medical experts recommend 500mg of turmeric, taken twice a day. They claim that it eases symptoms, particularly the severe pain associated with this kind of bone disorder.
8. Extending Your Lifespan The natives of Okinawa, the Japanese island nation, live longer than people anywhere else on the planet. It is interesting to note then, that they drink turmeric tea twice a day – they call it ‘longevity tea.’ To make your own longevity tea, boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, allow to simmer for ten minutes, strain, and add ginger or honey for a sweet finish. There you go – if you want to live a long and healthy life, get the turmeric out of the spice rack and start cooking.