Turmeric has been used for thousands of years, but you still might have questions about what it is and why it’s beneficial. Read on to learn about the benefits of turmeric essential oil and how to add it to your routine.
by James Han
You’re probably familiar with turmeric from many Asian, and particularly Indian, foods. Its distinctive golden hue is traditionally believed to lend both a sunny color and a breadth of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to any dish or beverage that you add it to. Though Ayurvedic practitioners have extolled the benefits of turmeric and used it as a functional root for thousands of years, you still might have questions about what it is and why it’s beneficial.
Here, we’ll answer a few common questions about turmeric — such as the difference between turmeric essential oil and turmeric powder — as well as give you practical tips and takeaways on how to add turmeric oil to your daily routine.
What Is Turmeric Essential Oil?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant in the ginger family that is native to India and Indonesia. The herb has been cultivated and used medicinally for around 4,000 years, dating back to Vedic culture in India. Aboveground, the turmeric plant can grow more than three feet tall and bears small yellow-orange flowers. Beneath the soil, however, are the rhizomes, where turmeric’s true superfood properties reside.
These rhizomes are rich in the bioactive compound curcumin, which has research-backed anti-inflammatory properties and is responsible for turmeric’s distinctive orange color.
Though it’s less common to encounter turmeric in its raw state at the supermarket, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to find turmeric powder. Turmeric powder is made by grinding up peeled, boiled and dried rhizomes. While it may be easy to find and work with, turmeric powder can be quite low in curcumin (three percent by weight) and is notoriously difficult for the body to absorb into the bloodstream. This is why it’s often paired with black pepper, another common Ayurvedic plant, whose piperine content can enhance the absorption of turmeric by as much as 2,000 percent.
Turmeric essential oil, on the other hand, is produced by supercritical CO2 extraction or by steam-distilling turmeric rhizomes to separate the oil of the root from the water, leaving behind a concentrated and potent extract. In addition to curcumin, turmeric essential oil is saturated with other highly anti-inflammatory non-curcuminoid compounds such as turmerone, a-turmerone and curlone — all of which boast impressive health benefits that turmeric powder lacks. Turmerone has also been shown to improve the bioavailability of curcumin. A recent study demonstrated that turmeric oil has greater anti-inflammatory properties than turmeric powder.
What Are the Benefits of Turmeric Oil?
Turmeric oil has wide-ranging benefits from both a preventive and prescriptive point of view. In Ayurvedic philosophy, turmeric is considered to be a tridoshic herb, meaning that it can balance all three doshas and help you experience optimal well-being. Historically, it’s been commonly used to support natural healing from light wounds and skin conditions such as eczema as well as to maintain respiratory health.
Here are some of the key benefits of turmeric oil:
- Anti-inflammatory: Turmeric oil can help support your body’s ability to combat inflammation. Inflammation, which can be caused by a number of factors ranging from a poor diet to a lack of sleep to environmental toxins, can have serious long-term health consequences. Sometimes, however, inflammation can be caused by something as simple and every day as a grueling workout. Taking The Root of It All’s RECOVER blend after exercising or a sport can help soothe your tissues and support your body’s natural healing process.
- Anti-microbial: Turmeric essential oil has strong antibacterial properties, which can help support a healthy immune response and even work with your body to protect your skin from microbes that can aggravate acne or eczema.
How to Add Turmeric Oil to Your Daily Routine
Adding turmeric essential oil to your routine is easy; after all, it’s an incredibly versatile botanical that you can add to foods, homemade skin products, an aromatherapy diffuser and more. Since it’s so concentrated, a little goes a long way.
Before taking turmeric oil, start by building out a daily routine that can help you achieve a balanced life, whether that includes a daily ritual such as meditation or exercise. For guidance, you can turn to some of the time-tested traditions and routines that ancient Ayurvedic philosophy recommends — check out this blog on how to create a daily ritual that works for you.
Then, find a high-quality turmeric oil to integrate with your everyday routine. Your best option is probably to find turmeric oil that is amplified with other powerful herbal botanicals like black pepper oil (to improve bioavailability) and even CBD.
The Root of It All’s gluten-free and vegan RECOVER blend, an Ayurvedic tincture that contains turmeric oil and CBD, is perfect for athletes and other active individuals looking for relief from muscle soreness.
I even find that taking it after a long day of work (when my back aches or feels creaky because I’ve been sitting at a desk all day) can help soothe the discomfort.
Simply hold a dropperful or two under the tongue for at least two full minutes before swallowing. For a topical approach that can offer quick, localized applications and help support healthy skin from the outside in, check out the REWIND Muscle Rub, which combines natural skin-soothing ingredients such as shea butter and beeswax along with the essential oils of turmeric, clove and black pepper, as well as CBD.
For more wellness insights on Ayurveda, CBD, essential oils and more, visit our blog!
James Han is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in Los Angeles. When he’s not deep in a Google Doc, you can find him reading, rotoscoping, and taking long walks.