11 ways to use turmeric

Anna Hunter 25 November 2016
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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11 ways with turmeric

It may have been on the scene for centuries, used as a dye, in Ayurvedic medicine and of course, to add colour and flavour to food, but humble turmeric is enjoying something of a renaissance, thanks in part to influential wellness Instagrammers around the globe. The ‘sunshine spice’ may well be ‘like bait’ for the wellness clan, but thankfully its merits go further than mere social media idolisation, with a reputable number of clinical trials proving that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects are seriously potent, with the capacity to rival or even outdo the effects of pharmaceutical medication. Before you replace your first aid box (more research necessary), here are a few fun and frivolous ways in which to get more turmeric into your life. If nothing else, it’ll get your Instagram follower count looking healthy.

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Yes, we’re starting with shots. Us GTG lot are hardcore. Deputy Editor Victoria has just the tonic where turmeric is concerned…

“I make a batch of this very intense juice every couple of weeks, freeze it in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in a pot in the freezer. It's anti-inflammatory and helps keep my kids' hay fever symptoms under control. They know that resistance is futile and have learned to knock back their cube defrosted in a shot glass. I think they might even like it now. I put two cubes in my 600ml water bottle and sip throughout the morning. It makes my water tastier - and I find I drink more.”


Get a palmful of organic ginger, same amount of organic turmeric root, scrub clean (peel if you can't get organic). Six organic lemons, chopped up, skin on (use only the the juice if waxed). Put everything together through the juicer. If you like to add a bit of sweetness, you can add a quarter of a pineapple, an apple or a couple of carrots.

I buy all the ingredients from my local health food shop, or if you live in the London area  you can have it delivered.

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As a potent antioxidant, turmeric’s anti-ageing prowess is pretty up there. Dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer MD hails it for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, which can be of benefit to sufferers of acne, rosacea, eczema, sunburn...the list goes on. From fighting the free-radicals that provoke the premature breakdown of collagen and elastin to soothing skin when applied topically, this golden wonder has a lot going for it. Add it to your beauty routine via an organic oil such as RMS Beauty Oil , £74, or if you prefer a cream texture you’ll find turmeric pepping up the brightening effects of Clarins Daily Energizer Cream , £18.90. You can even wash your face with it thanks to Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Cleanser , £27.50.

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Muscle Relief

Those anti-inflammatory qualities come in handy when attempting to recover from a killer HIIT class. In the past Johnson & Johnson added turmeric to plasters to speed up wound healing, while the  British Journal of Sports Medicine  reports that local application of turmeric, along with ice massage, decreases swelling and pain post exercise (delayed onset muscle soreness) more efficiently than ice-massage alone. Short of putting your leg in the freezer, give muscles a good kneading with Tata Harper Soothing Muscle Gel , £34. A cocktail of arnica, turmeric, ginger and lemon peel revives and restores life to heavy, sore limbs.

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Another body and mind relaxer, a good brew is nationally revered for its problem solving potential. Stray from your regular Earl Grey by getting a turmeric blend on the boil. Nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson  sings turmeric’s praises in terms of ingestion:

“It improves liver detoxification and also supports the immune, digestive and nervous system.”

Higher Living Golden Turmeric Tea , £2.09, will spice up your life in a pleasantly mellow manner.

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If you’re more of a coffee fiend but looking to cut down on caffeine, so called ‘golden milk’ offers an exotic, aromatic alternative to a cup of joe. A comforting staple in India, adding ginger, liquorice, honey, cinnamon and even black pepper can enhance its warming, gently energizing effects. Make your own using  this recipe , or Londoners can pop into Planet Organic  for a golden latte on the go. Add latte art and it’ll be Instagram catnip.

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For an even more hearty turmeric hit, add a sprinkle to a bowl of morning oats. The vibrant yellow hue will wake you up before it’s even hit your tummy;  work off of this recipe  and tailor it you taste. If you ever find yourself in central London, head to 26 Grains  for a bowl of turmeric goodness that will blow your mind of a morning (I promise). Nordic Spice is the current frontrunner for showcasing the mighty golden root, but drinks incorporating turmeric with banana and chocolate, as well as serving it over ice, make this one of the capital’s hotspots for upping your quota of mellow yellow.

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If you’re not eating, drinking or wearing it, make sure you’re popping it in pill form. Pukka Wholistic Turmeric , £15.95, delivers a huge bioavailable (read, easily absorbed) dose of turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, along with turmeric essential oil, with none of the fillers that supplements can occasionally contain. If you can’t get it into your dinner, this is the way to go, or you can simply open the capsule and add the powder inside to a juice or smoothie.

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Your scalp loves antioxidants as much as the rest of your body does, so turmeric can help out when it comes to maintaining strong, healthy hair. The Aveda Invati™  system blends organic turmeric with a range of stimulating ayurvedic herbs, fortifying amino acids and effective exfoliators to alleviate dry, itchy scalps and in theory reduce hair loss and breakage. It’s not a miracle hair loss solution, but it’s a balm for troubled scalps, which is certainly something.

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When entire brands dedicated to turmeric spring up, you know that the spice has struck gold amongst consumers. One such company is Wunder Workshop , which has zoned in on the remarkable benefits of turmeric, from a health and sustainable business point of view. From turmeric granola to turmeric ‘mylk’, there’s an array of spice infused wares on offer, but the pungent  honey , £4.99, is certainly the most unusual turmeric incarnation. Strong, punchy and ever so slightly musty, it would work well on rye toast or drizzled into your turmeric latte for a ‘double shot’ effect. If you’re a honey fan looking to expand your horizon, dip in, but be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted.

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You know a superhood has hit the heights of ‘hip’ when it gets its own range of apparel (I’m looking at you kale). Turmeric has followed suit, and this mustard hued sweatshirt  , £45, will shout out your spicy devotion from the rooftops. Expect onlookers to assume that you work with turmeric’s PR team. Not a bad thing considering that Google searches for the spice have increased by 56% since last November; you’ll ooze success. Wear on the way to the gym to feel extra smug.

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The classic turmeric consumption option. Go virtuous with Natasha Corrett’s Turmeric Masala , or push the boat out and whip up (or order in) a turmeric rich laksa, dhal, pilaf, fish curry or earthy roasted turmeric vegetables. It’s technically health food, so dig in.