Discover the health benefits of Turmeric essential oil

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), also known as Indian Saffron and Indian Yellow Root, is a perennial tropical herb belonging to the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and widely cultivated in India and China. The plant grows up to 1m high and has a thick rhizome root, which is a deep orange-colour inside, narrow, lance-shaped leaves and dull yellow flowers.

Traditional uses of Turmeric

Turmeric has a long history as a medicine, spice and colouring agent. Its use can be traced back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India where it was used for cooking, religious purposes and as a medicinal herb. It is thought to have reached China by 700 A.D.

Turmeric is a key ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, imparting a golden-yellow colour and distinctive, pungent, mustardy-earthy flavour. It has also long been used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating a myriad of ailments including colds, congestion, bruises, sprains, joint inflammation, wounds, ulcers, haemorrhoids, indigestion, menstrual irregularities, chickenpox, shingles, ringworm, jaundice, malaria, scorpion stings and snake bites.

Health benefits of Turmeric

Today, Turmeric is considered one of the world’s most powerful healing herbs. The golden spice, whose name literally means ‘sacred earth’ in Latin, is packed full of powerful health-promoting phytochemicals. The main active ingredient being curcumin, which is known for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Scientists believe that inflammation plays a major role in many chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer. It is therefore thought that Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory action, coupled with its ability to protect against oxidative damage, could potentially be helpful in preventing and treating a variety of chronic diseases and degenerative conditions.

Turmeric essential oil

Turmeric essential oil is steam-distilled from the ‘cured’ rhizomes (roots). It is a yellow-coloured oil with a fresh spicy, herbaceous yet woody aroma that is popular in Asian fragrances. The oil is a lot more concentrated than the powdered spice and is thought to have the following properties: analgesic, anti-arthritic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypotensive, insecticidal, laxative, rubefacient, stimulant.

Turmeric for skincare

Turmeric’s anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful for treating a variety of skin conditions and infections including minor cuts, wounds, acne, athlete’s foot, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and ringworm [1] [2]. Its antioxidant properties can help fight signs of ageing and it is thought to be helpful for lessening the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation marks (dark spots / sun spots / age spots). Scientific research also shows that it can protect against sun damage [3] and help in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis/gum disease [4].

Turmeric for hair and scalp

Turmeric has traditionally been used to prevent hair loss and promote healthy growth. It can also be helpful for soothing a dry or inflamed scalp.

Turmeric for the mind

The curcumin content is Turmeric is thought to have a relaxing and balancing effect on the mood. A 2014 study showed that curcumin, had similar effects to Prozac (Fluoxetine) in patients with major depressive disorder, but without the side-effects [5].

Turmeric is also thought to help to boost the memory, aid concentration and improve cognitive function.

Turmeric for the joints and muscles

The powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of Turmeric essential oil can be helpful for relieving aches, pains, stiffness and inflammation in the muscles and joints. Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine for relieving arthritis and modern days studies have shown that Curcuma longa is as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs in treating rheumatoid and osteoarthritis [6] [7]. It is also thought to be helpful for gout – a form of arthritis caused by excess levels of uric acid. As well as relieving pain and inflammation, the curcumin in Turmeric, is thought to help reduce uric acid levels in the body.

Turmeric for stimulating the immune system and fighting infection

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are believed to support the healthy functioning of the immune system and the body’s response to allergens. Studies have also shown that ‘curcumin’ can help inhibit viruses such as influenza (flu), hepatitis C, herpes, HIV and zika [8].

From an aromatherapy perspective the oil is thought to be helpful in diffusers or steam inhalations to support immunity and fight-off infection. These methods may also help to relieve the actual symptoms of respiratory problems such as bronchitis, coughs, colds and flu.

Turmeric for the digestive system

In keeping with other oils from the Zingiberaceae plant family, Turmeric can help stimulate the digestive system and can relieve digestive problems such as bloating, cramps and constipation. It is also thought to support a healthy liver.

Aromatherapy blends using Turmeric essential oil

To fight off colds / flu

To boost your immunity during cold and flu season try vaporising a few drops of Turmeric oil in a candle burner or diffuser to strengthen immunity and fight off infection.

If already suffering with a cough or cold try a steam inhalation with 3-4 drops of Turmeric to relieve congestion and combat infection. Inhale the therapeutic vapors for 5-10 minutes.

To aid concentration, focus and memory

Diffuse 3 drops Tumeric essential oil, 2 drops Rosemary and 1 drop May Chang (Litsea cubeba) in an aromatherapy candle burner or diffuser. Alternatively pop the same blend into an Aromatherapy Inhaler and sniff as and when required.

For muscle and joint paint with inflammation

Mix 30ml of carrier oil or moisturising cream or lotion with 3 drops Turmeric oil, 2 drops Plai and 2 drops Frankincense and massage into affected areas up to 3 times per day.

For dandruff / itchy scalp

Mix 30ml of Neem carrier oil with 5 drops of Turmeric. Massage into the scalp and leave on for as long as possible – ideally overnight. Shampoo out the next morning with our mild SLS free Shampoo. Once the chronic condition has abated you can add 3-5 drops of Turmeric oil to your regular shampoo to help keep the condition in check.

For dry, cracked heels or hands

Blend 30ml of our Moisturising Cream or Lotion, or your chosen carrier oil with 4 drops Turmeric oil and 2 drops Myrrh. Apply generously up to 2 times per day to the hands or feet (ideally after bathing when the skin is softened) to moisturise the skin and promote healing. It will help to regularly file off any hard / dead skin before applying this treatment.

For a healthier complexion

For a more youthful, clearer complexion blend 5ml of a suitable carrier oil (try Argan, Jojoba or Rosehip for), moisturising cream or lotion with 3 drops of Turmeric oil. This can be helpful for fighting acne and blemishes and reducing the appearance of fine line, wrinkles or scars. Note: Do not apply to broken skin.

To soothe sunburn

Add 30 drops of Turmeric oil to a 250ml jar of Aloe Vera Gel and mix thoroughly. Alternatively, gently melt a 55g tin of our Aloe Vera Butter (pure aloe vera juice infused with coconut oil) and mix in 6-8 drops of Turmeric oil. Pop in the fridge to set. Apply liberally as and when required to re-hydrate and soothe the skin.

Safety note

Turmeric oil can be moderately toxic and irritant when used in high doses. It should be used in moderation for short periods of time only.

Disclaimer & Safety Advice


  1. Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK, “Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence.” Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5640. Epub 2016 May 23.
  2. Bahraini P, Rajabi M, Mansouri P, Sarafian G, Chalangari R, Azizian Z, “Turmeric tonic as a treatment in scalp psoriasis: A randomized placebo-control clinical trial.” J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Jun;17(3):461-466. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12513. Epub 2018 Apr 1.
  3. Kaur CD, Saraf S. “Topical vesicular formulations of Curcuma longa extract on recuperating the ultraviolet radiation-damaged skin.” J Cosmet Dermatol. 2011 Dec;10(4):260-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00586.x.
  4. Stoyell KA, Mappus JL, Gandhi MA, “Clinical efficacy of turmeric use in gingivitis: A comprehensive review.” Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Nov;25:13-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 2.
  5. Sanmukhani J, Satodia V, Trivedi J, Patel T, Tiwari D, Panchal B, Goel A, Tripathi CB, “Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial.” Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):579-85. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5025. Epub 2013 Jul 6.
  6. Chandran B, Goel A, “A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.” Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9.
  7. Reji Kizhakkedath, “Clinical evaluation of a formulation containing Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata extracts in the management of knee osteoarthritis.” Mol Med Rep. 2013 Nov ;8(5):1542-8. Epub 2013 Aug 29.
  8. Adams C, “Curcumin from Turmeric Inhibits Zika, HIV, Herpes and Other Viruses.”

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