Know your turmeric

While turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores; it is unknown in Western medicine, its potential yet to be discovered.

Fresh turmeric juice is commonly used in treating skin conditions, including eczema, rosacea, chicken pox, shingles, allergy, and scabies. Due to turmeric’s antioxidant properties, it has been used for skin rejuvenation. It helps to soften lines and wrinkles, giving the face a more youthful appearance. It reduces inflammation and redness, and promotes skin healing. You can make a simple face mask by combining equal amounts of tumeric and honey and slightly less milk/yogurt, so that the paste is thick enough to stay on your face. Keep it on for about 15 minutes, and then gently wash off with cool water. Tumeric stains very easily, so use glass and older towels/clothes just in case.

In Si Phaendin, the Thai novel by Kukrit Pramoj, the main character Ploi undergoes the most thorough scrubbing of her life to prepare for the topknot cutting ceremony. After the bath, the final touch is when turmeric is applied on her skin. “Hold still, it’ll sting a little, but it will make you very pretty,” her aunt tells her.

Tumeric is known as khamin ขมิ้น in Thai, not be confused with cumin, which is know as yeera ยี่หร่า in Thai. Fresh turmeric is readily available in Thailand.

Tumeric has also been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, by reducing stiffness and swelling round the joint. Since I’ve been having knee problems, I’ve been making own turmeric tea. I take a small chunk of fresh turmeric (don’t bother peeling it), and bruising it with the bottom of a glass jar, and then boiling it with water for 10 minutes. You can also let it steep afterwards. It has a slight natural sweetness to it.


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