What remedies do you reach for when your skin is flagging? Perhaps a tech-heavy moisturiser, a bottle of water or some flattering foundation? All are tried-and-tested ways to make your skin beam, but an equally effective solution could be sitting on a shelf in your local health food shop.
A daily dose of turmeric has proven to be an effective elixir for troubling skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and to prevent premature ageing. The beauty-boosting merits of this bright yellow spice make it far from the latest ‘superfad’; it has been used in Ayurvedic practice on the Indian subcontinent for over 4,000 years.
Now turmeric, or ‘Indian solid gold’ as it is otherwise known, is fast becoming the health-boosting botanical hero ingredient of 2016. You will find hipster cafés whipping up antioxidant turmeric lattes and skincare brands harnessing its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to enrich reparative lotions and potions, however, you don’t need to live in a trendy part of town or use up most of your monthly earnings on a face cream to get some golden goodness into your routine. Wellbeing-focused brands such as Pukka Herbs are making high quality, easily absorbed turmeric capsules, turmeric tea and turmeric infused muscle oil accessible to us all.
Pukka’s Master Herbalist and co-founder Sebastian Pole explains that the brand use specialist scientific extraction methods to make turmeric more ‘bioavailable’ than ever. The process ensures that all of the active compounds within the turmeric root are retained and the range is considered one of the most highly potent formulas on the market today, as Sebastian highlights:
"Our whole herb organic extract uses WholisticTM extraction. It’s a three stage method that not only delivers curcumin and amazing essential oils, but also provides the full spectrum of turmeric’s active compounds. It is free from the non-organic toxic residues often found in alternative products. Finally it’s totally environmentally friendly, meaning that it’s a supplement that’s good for you and for the planet. Combining the extracted essential oils with the pure powdered herb, water and alcohol extracts captures the widest possible range of active compounds. Each capsule has 10x the power of turmeric root powder and 1.5x the essential oil content. It’s a key part of what makes Pukka’s turmeric supplements unique.”
If beautiful skin and avoiding disease are high on your priority list, dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, author of Future Proof Your Skin! , agrees that turmeric is a beneficial element to add to your diet:
"Curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow colour, has anti-inflammatory properties.”
"In a study done in human skin fibroblasts, curcumin was confirmed to stimulate cellular antioxidant defenses. Fibroblasts are one of the most important cell types in our skin as they produce our collagen and elastin.”
Naturopathic doctor and holistic health expert Dr Nigma Talib seconds Dr Stefanie’s turmeric endorsement in Reverse The Sign of Ageing :
“It’s my favourite beauty-boosting spice, turmeric's anti-inflammatory powers are second to none, turning back time on the skin.”
“Just as if you cut out a food to which you’re intolerant, you could be amazed at what happens when you start to fight inflammation; problems such as acne and rosacea can reduce, skin tone will improve and problems such as aches and pains and stubborn weight gain that you thought were part and parcel of the ageing process can all start to reverse.”
“Many spices have anti-inflammatory effects in the body - ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper and chilli, for example, can all help fight inflamm-ageing and you should start adding these liberally to your foods.”
“However, absolutely the most potent spice you can add to your diet is turmeric. My family has been using this spice since I was born for flavouring and it goes in so many dishes- I use it in everything from scrambled eggs to stews and curries. Its curcumin content acts against inflammation in a multitude of ways."
The British Journal of Sports Medicine has also documented turmeric’s pain-quashing capacity. It 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.