Turmeric has been known for thousands for years for its amazing health promoting properties. There are various ways one can use turmeric, using turmeric essential oil (obtained from turmeric root) is one of them. Extraction pulls out all oil friendly compounds from turmeric root. Turmeric essential oil then can be used in various ways to provide benefits against inflammation, muscle pains, etc.
Turmeric oil is very powerful and packed with rare compounds as it is extracted from such a powerful healer herb. When analyzed turmeric oil may show the presence of 400-500 different kinds of molecules. What is even more amazing is that many of these molecules have receptor sites in our neuroendocrine systems too.
Constituents of Turmeric essential oil
As already discussed turmeric essential oil contains hundreds of molecules, but its main constituents are:
- Sesquiterpene alcohol – 50%
- Zingeriberene and other Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons – 30%
- d-a-phellandrene – 4%
- Cineol – 3%
- d-sabinene – 2%
- d-borneol – 2.5%
- Valeric acid – 0.1%
The constitution varies based on turmeric used and also method.
Benefits and uses of turmeric oil
Turmeric oil can be taken orally or applied externally. Here are some uses of turmeric essential oil.
Anti-inflammatory: Some turmeric oils are 60-65% alpha-curcumene (a Sesquiterpene hydrocarbon). This is also the main constituent in turmeric root which gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric oil has been used with other essential oil such as Frankincense, Plai, etc. for preparing anti-inflammatory and pain relieving formulas.
Arthritis and joint problems: Turmeric oil has been found useful for arthritis and joint care. It also helps in muscle pain.
Industrial usage: Turmeric oil is used as spice in food industry. It is also used in pharma industry where it is used in making anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antiseptic (and more) drugs / ointments.
Digestion related: Zingeriberene and 6-gingerol are main compounds present in turmeric oil which help in bringing digestive system in order and also stops formation of gas in gastrointestinal tract.
Benefits to liver: Ar-turmerone, a compound present in turmeric oil is known to support liver and keep it healthy.
Anticancer : Turmeric and turmeric oil both are now known to have anti-cancer properties.
Skin and hair: turmeric oil is also known to help in preventing hair loss, especially male pattern baldness. This action is also attributed to its anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric oil is also used in many skin care formulas to make skin look younger.
Other health promoting properties of turmeric oil: As with turmeric, turmeric oil is also anti-allergic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, antiviral and antiworm. It is also considered to be good antivenom.
Precautions while taking Turmeric oil
As with all essential oils basic precautions should be taken with usage if turmeric oil too. This is a very highly concentrated form and thus excess can cause problems. Do not take more than 5 drops of turmeric oil orally. It is best taken with water / tea/ honey.
In case you plan to use turmeric oil on your skin, do a patch test first and see if there are any reactions. Turmeric oil makes your skin more sensitive to UV light, thus use in small concentrations (less than 1%) if you plan to go out in sun within 48 hrs of application.
Pregnant women should always use turmeric oil (or in fact any essential oil) after due consultation with their doctor.