Why You Should Try Turmeric Essential Oil

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Imagine a food so nutritious, it can help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. That’s the glory of turmeric! Just gazing at its bright golden hue, you can sense its healing potential. In this post, I share 10 amazing merits of turmeric essential oil. I also provide DIY recipes. Here’s a comprehensive guide for reaping turmeric’s benefits.

King of spices

Dubbed the “King of Spices,” turmeric is a powerful healer! Its rich nutritional profile includes iron, manganese, potassium, copper, and Vitamin B6. Perhaps turmeric sounds new to you, but actually, you’re already familiar with it. Turmeric is the spice that gives mustard and curry their yellow color.

Botanically named Curcuma longa and domestica, the flesh of the root has a deep orange hue. Another common name for turmeric is Indian saffron, referring to its country of origin.

Turmeric essential oil versus turmeric powder

The essential oil is extracted from turmeric roots through steam distillation. Its scent is earthy, with hints of orange and ginger. The starring compound responsible for turmeric’s healing effects is curcumin.

Turmeric powder isn’t well-absorbed since most of its medicinal components are oil-soluble. The essential oil is more potent than the powder, so you can take less. This is advantageous since large quantities of turmeric cause nausea, diarrhea, and sweating. You’ll also save money with small but effective amounts.

Healing properties of turmeric

1. Antioxidant

Turmeric neutralizes free radicals. These are molecules rendered unstable by electron loss. Among the causes are alcohol, air pollution, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and fried foods.

Free radicals are thieving molecules. Roaming about with unpaired electrons, they search for cellular DNA, proteins, and membranes. Then, to re-establish balance, they rob these structures of their electrons. Thus injured, donor cells malfunction and die. In this way, free radicals lead to disease. Antioxidants such as turmeric heal damaged cells by restoring their stolen electrons.

2. Antimicrobial

Turmeric kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Among the viruses it guards against are influenza and hepatitis C (source).

3. Anti-Inflammatory

Curcumin cools the inflammation underlying chronic diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Its effectiveness is equal to that of some anti-inflammatory medications.

Additionally, turmeric revs digestion, circulation, cellular growth, immune responses, toxin elimination, and healing mechanisms.

10 health benefits of turmeric essential oil

You have three options for taking turmeric essential oil – oral ingestion, inhalation, or skin application. Here’s the comfort, healing, and protection rendered by turmeric.

1. Ward off cold and flu.

Several studies prove curcumin’s ability to squelch cold and flu viruses (source). At Taiwan’s Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, scientists found that curcumin blocks influenza from binding to red blood cells. Additionally, it impairs viral replication and shields other cells from infection.

A study cited in the Italian Journal of Biochemistry showed that curcumin prompts the release of bilirubin, an antioxidant that strengthens immunity. Potassium and manganese in turmeric also support the body’s defense mechanisms. Turmeric essential oil relieves the symptoms of cough, phlegm, stuffy nose, and bronchial congestion.

How to use turmeric essential oil to treat cold and flu? Add 3 drops of turmeric essential oil to a bowl of hot water, and inhale the vapor. As a preventive measure, take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil + 1 teaspoon of honey.

2. Soothe muscle and joint discomfort.

Curcumin calms inflammatory symptoms of arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. Turmeric essential oil’s compounds block the chemical messengers that trigger joint swelling and stiffness. Its antioxidants nullify the free radicals that destroy cartilage. By normalizing immune responses, curcumin slows the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric essential oil reduces pain by suppressing the inflammatory enzymes COX and LOX.

In the case of knee osteoarthritis, curcumin is comparable to ibuprofen for pain relief and functional improvement (source). This was the finding of a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

How to use turmeric essential oil to relieve musculoskeletal pain, swelling, and stiffness? Mix 3 drops of turmeric essential oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, and massage into joints and muscles.

3. Ease depression.

Curcumin reduces the brain inflammation underlying depression (source). A 2015 study cited by JAMA Psychiatry found that subjects with clinical depression had a 30 percent increase in brain inflammation than those not depressed (source).

In fact, curcumin can be as effective as Prozac in boosting mood (source). A 2014 study reported in Phytotherapy Research compared the effectiveness of the two agents in helping 60 patients with major depressive disorder. After six weeks, the patients taking curcumin showed the same benefit as those on Prozac. Turmeric essential oil resolves depression-related inflammation caused by COX and LOX enzymes.

Another precursor of melancholy is low antioxidant defenses. Additionally, depression saps a vital protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. Also deficient are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that promote a positive mental outlook.

Summing up, turmeric essential oil helps resolve depression by reducing brain inflammation and offsetting shortages of antioxidants, BDNF protein, and brain neurotransmitters.

How to use turmeric essential oil for depression? Take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 cup of water.

NOTE: If you’re currently taking anti-depressant medication, speak with your prescribing doctor before discontinuing it. Antidepressants must be cautiously tapered, and it can take four to six weeks before curcumin yields a positive change in mental state.

4. Improve digestion.

Turmeric essential oil contains zingiberene and 6-gingerol, compounds that facilitate digestion and prevent flatulence. Turmeric helps resolve irritable bowel syndrome by raising serotonin and BDNF. It stimulates the flow of gastric juice. The spice also protects against ulcers.

How to use turmeric essential oil to calm digestive discomfort? Take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 teaspoon of honey.

5. Relieve anxiety.

An imbalance of neurotransmitters is associated with panicky feelings. Low DHA is also linked to nervousness. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s crucial for brain function. Curcumin restores mental equilibrium by boosting both neurotransmitters and DHA. A 2015 study by the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center revealed that curcumin enhances DHA synthesis in the brain (source).

DHA is present in fatty fish, wild game, and sources of grass-fed meat. However, if you avoid these foods and have a plant-based diet, turmeric’s ability to raise DHA has particular benefit. This is because your body uses the ALA in plants to make DHA. Adding curcumin to ALA elevates DHA levels.

How to use turmeric essential oil to dissolve anxiety? Take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 cup of decaffeinated green tea. You can also inhale turmeric essential oil from a diffuser or directly from its container.

6. Promote cardiovascular health.

Curcumin protects against high cholesterol in three ways. First, it inhibits the liver from generating cholesterol. Secondly, it increases the amount of unhealthy cholesterol or LDL the liver eliminates. Lastly, it prevents the intestines from absorbing LDL.

Free radicals injure blood vessels. They also cause plaque to accumulate along vessel walls. Both arterial damage and plaque lead to vessel hardening, termed atherosclerosis. When arteries are narrowed and rigid, blood flow is severely impeded, resulting in heart attack and stroke.

How to use turmeric essential oil to protect your heart and blood vessels? Ingest 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 cup of green tea.

7. Tame herpes outbreaks.

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) triggers both oral and genital herpes. Oral herpes manifests as mouth blisters while genital herpes produces blisters on genitalia. Concurrent symptoms are fever and body aches.

If you have HSV infection, you know it isn’t curable. However, with the help of curcumin, you can reduce symptom frequency and duration.

Curcumin inhibits viral replication and prompts the release of anti-inflammatory compounds. It also reduces the muscle aches associated with outbreaks. It accelerates skin healing by supporting the production of collagen, a skin protein. Curcumin strengthens immunity, thereby preventing further flare-ups.

How to use turmeric essential oil for genital blisters? Combine 3 drops of turmeric essential oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, and apply to the sores. To ease other symptoms of both oral and genital herpes, ingest 1 drop of turmeric essential oil + 1 teaspoon of honey.

CAUTION: Do a patch test before broad skin application, to assess for an allergic reaction. After using on a small area, wait three hours and check your skin’s appearance. If no irritation occurs, proceed to use over a wider skin area. Avoid getting turmeric essential oil on clothing since it leaves a yellow stain.

8. Reduce cancer risk.

Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties diminish the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, cervical, prostate, stomach, colon, liver, and lung. By thwarting COX-2, turmeric inhibits inflammation. By activating a tumor-suppressing gene, it quells abnormal cell growth.

Where cancer is present, turmeric halts metastasis by destroying the blood vessels that feed malignant cells. Starved of oxygen and blood, abnormal cells die. Turmeric also prevents cancer stem cells from developing.

What’s especially beneficial is curcumin’s ability to distinguish between cancer and healthy cells (source). This was the finding of a 2011 study by University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For example, turmeric targets lymphoma cells while leaving benign cells intact.

Curcumin penetrates the colon lining, where it guards against pathology. It protects the cervix and uterine lining by blocking activation of the human papillomavirus. By hindering sex hormone receptors in the prostate, it shields the gland from cancer. In breast tissue, the compound turmerone quashes the inflammatory enzymes COX-2, MMP-9, and TPA. Turmerone also induces apoptosis, the natural process by which our bodies eliminate cells that are unhealthy, unnecessary, and old.

For cancer protection, add 1 drop of turmeric essential oil to 1 cup of cooled green tea.

9. Prevent dementia.

Dementia is a brain disorder characterized by memory loss, confusion, forgetfulness, and impaired reasoning, thinking, and problem-solving. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia. The pathology is progressive and can culminate in death.

Alzheimer dementia is caused by brain plaques, clumps of sticky proteins called beta-amyloid that accumulate between nerve cells. These clusters block nerve communication. They also spur inflammation and destroy brain cells. Plaques first develop in brain regions needed for memory and learning. Then, by degrees, they invade other areas.

However, curcumin prevents beta-amyloid from developing. It also removes existing plaque and improves oxygen flow. Moreover, it stimulates brain cell regeneration.

How to use turmeric essential oil to reduce dementia risk? take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 cup of green tea. To sharpen focus and memory, inhale turmeric essential oil directly from its container or add to a diffuser.

10. Lose weight.

A 2013 study published in Biofactors reports that curcumin aids weight management by inhibiting inflammation in fatty tissue (source). It also prevents fat accumulation by hampering blood vessel formation in such tissue. Other curcumin-induced mechanisms that promote healthy weight are regulating blood sugar and improving digestion.

Curcumin increases thermogenesis, the process by which our bodies burn fat. It also speeds metabolism, expediting fat burn. By aiding liver detoxification, curcumin helps the organ break down fat more efficiently.

To aid in maintaining a healthy weight, take 1 drop of turmeric essential oil with 1 cup of green tea.

CAUTION: Limit turmeric essential oil intake to 5 drops per day. Also, avoid ingesting it on an empty stomach, which can cause acid reflux.

DIY recipes with turmeric

The recipes below include black pepper, to increase curcumin’s bioavailability. Without the piperine in black pepper, curcumin is poorly absorbed. By adding piperine, curcumin assimilation soars by 20 times or 2000 percent (source)! Ingesting curcumin and piperine with healthy fat also boosts absorption.

Although these recipes aren’t as potent as steam-distilled turmeric essential oil, it’s empowering and fun to craft your own remedies. As a shortcut, I suggest buying the ground spice rather than grating the roots.

Large Batch

  • 3 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • pinch black pepper, 1/20th of a teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

At low heat, warm the olive oil in a stainless steel saucepan on your stove. Then, add the ground turmeric and black pepper, stirring well to eliminate lumps. After five minutes, remove the mixture from the heat. Pour into a dark glass container, and close tightly. Store in a dark, cool location. Before using, shake well.

Small Batch

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon warmed olive oil

Combine all three ingredients, and use immediately.


Among turmeric’s healing constituents, curcumin plays a starring role. The essential oil is more potent than the powder, concentrating its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Use turmeric essential oil to ward off colds and flu, soothe muscle and joint discomfort, and ease depression. It also relieves anxiety and improves digestion. Take turmeric essential oil for prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. If you have herpes infection, it can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. In addition, turmeric essential oil can help if you’d like to lose weight.

Also, it’s important that you choose high-quality turmeric essential oil: 100% pure, free of additives, adulterants and dilutions. Here are two reliable sources I recommend: Plant Therapy or Miracle Botanicals.


There are certain conditions for which turmeric is contraindicated or mandate caution. If you’re on diabetes medication, consult with your doctor before taking turmeric essential oil, as it can lower your blood sugar. Since turmeric has anti-clotting properties, it’s contraindicated with blood-thinning drugs. For the same reason, discontinue turmeric two weeks before surgery. You should not consume turmeric at all if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have gallbladder disease.

If you take blood pressure medication, obtain your doctor’s consent before starting turmeric. Also, get your doctor’s approval first if you’re prone to kidney stones. If your prescribing doctor gives the green light, allow four hours between taking any drug and turmeric essential oil. Otherwise, turmeric can interfere with drug activity.

Have you tried turmeric essential oil? Please share your results in the comment section here below!

Effects of Turmeric on Skin Inflammation

J. Beck, Holistic Nutritionist, CNC & Natural Health Writer

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