Turmeric is not new. The cupboard spice is a mainstay in traditional Asian cooking. In India, it is known as “the Golden Goddess” and has been used for more than 4000 years in medicine to protect the body and increase vitality. And the science suggests they were onto something all those years ago.
In a recent study conducted by the University College London, the spice was found to positively affect overall health and even change DNA. Taking a sample of 100 people, one group was given a placebo and another a turmeric supplement, while the final group was given turmeric powder to add to their food. But scientists found that only the group that experienced any benefit was the group that added turmeric powder to their food.
Dr. Martin Widschwendter, a professor at UCL, said that they found one gene that showed the biggest difference in those that had taken turmeric powder daily: “What’s interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in four specific diseases: depression, asthma, eczema, and cancer. This is a really striking finding.”
While the results need further studies to complement the findings, it is clear that turmeric is a wonder product we could all benefit from using day-to-day. And it’s not just your health that will improve; there are other areas too. Keep scrolling to see how this spice’s skin benefits can help perfect your complexion…
Inflammaging is a real phenomenon, when there is chronic inflammation in our bodies it can trigger the ageing process (which is something we can’t see until it’s too late). Modern factors—stress, diet and pollution—all exacerbate inflammation, which also plays a part in skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. Turmeric has been found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.” He recommends drinking turmeric tea and supplementing with 400 to 600 milligrams three times daily, or as directed. Try Pukka Herbs Organic Wholistic Turmeric (£16 for 30 days supply).
Free radical damage is also a massive factor in ageing. UV rays and pollution attack our bodies while our own cells create free radicals as a byproduct of producing energy (calling all gym bunnies). Turmeric contains curcumin, which scientists have discovered is a potent antioxidant. In fact, it has also been found to prevent moisture loss in the skin and protect against the formation of wrinkles.
Turmeric has also been found to be an effective anti-ageing ingredient when applied topically. Cheri Swanson, PhD, presented her findings at the American Academy of Dermatology 68th annual meeting—she gave 89 white women and 105 Asian women a cream containing niacinamide and another containing niacinamide and turmeric. They applied one cream to each side of their face daily for eight weeks. The combination cream performed better at both reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
In traditional medicine, turmeric is known as a “blood purifier,” and this is backed up by modern-day science. Turmeric has been found to boost enzymes that are responsible for clearing toxins from the blood. Free-flowing toxins can cause dull-looking or sallow skin, and we come into contact with more toxins than you think, thanks to everything from touching that shop receipt to breathing in the city air.
One study found that a supplement of 1000 milligrams of turmeric extract twice daily prevented the formation of melanin (pigmentation) and wrinkles caused by UVB exposure. So supplement with turmeric while slathering on your SPF for added skin protection. You can also add turmeric powder to your food, of course.
When our circulation is working optimally, it helps rid the body of toxins and send nutrients to our cells. Since we know toxins can cause our skin to look dull and lacklustre, it’s important to keep our circulation boosted.
Curcuminoids in turmeric have been shown to have “anti-platelet” activity, which means they help to keep our blood flowing easily. One clinical trial found a curcumin supplement was able to boost micro-circulation, which is the circulation of the blood vessels in the skin.
Curcumin is a potent wound healing agent, thanks to its ability to increase collagen deposits in the skin. Since collagen is one of the building blocks of plump, youthful-looking skin, that’s not a bad thing.
Opening Image: Camp Collection