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WTF is... Turmeric?!

Back when I was a kid, one of my favorite spices was "too-MER-ick". My mom hit on it early, before it was a common spice at the grocery store. I've been thrilled to watch its meteoric rise to stardom, especially in the world of herbalism. Because WOW-WEEEEEEEEE is turmeric an awesome little rhizome!

The beautiful Curcuma longa!

Turmeric is a cousin to ginger and galangal and is an ancient botanical with roots reaching back to the Assyrians. That's over 3000 years ago! (1) Although primarily associated with India, turmeric was originally found all across India, East Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Today, its reach is even larger, with the rhizome being cultivated anywhere in the world that it can get warm enough for the plant to flourish... even in sunny Pennsylvania! Unlike its rapid-growing, sprouts-under-any-condition cousin, the ginger, turmeric is painfully slow to germinate. But the ultimate result of that patience is a harvest of finger-like rhizomes rich in phytochemicals and vibrantly colored!

Turmeric can come in a wide range of shades and colors, from yellow ochre to vibrant saffron orange! Photo by Skitterphoto on

Turmeric has been widely used in Ayurvedic practices and western herbalism not only for inflammation and abrasions but also for digestive issues and general aches and pains. It is frequently paired with black pepper to increase the bioavailability of the star phytochemical - curcumin. The benefits of turmeric aren't just hearsay, either! A study in 2016 and another in 2021 concluded that turmeric has a similar level of pain-relieving ability for arthritis as NSAID pain relievers (4)(5); a study in 2020 supported its claims as an anti-inflammatory (6), and a study from 2015 supports the uses of turmeric as an antioxidant (7).

There's a lot of awesome hiding in that golden rhizome!!

Turmeric isn't just great to add to your diet- it's a wonderful addition to your skincare routine! In addition to the awesome anti-oxidant powers of curcumin, turmeric also boasts:

  • Folates - To help support healthy skin behavior.

  • Niacin - Helps skin stay glowing and youthful.

  • Pyridoxine - helps skin retain moisture.

  • Vitamins C - helps to rejuvenate damaged skin.

  • Vitamin E - Blocks free radicals that wrinkle the skin.

India's Bhandara Festival is all about turmeric and Lord Khandoba, a descendant of the sun!

You can find turmeric in all of the Hatshepsut products, paired with frankincense, ginger, black pepper, and clove. Warming and aromatic, these products are great for calming vexing, oily complexions during the summer! In case you missed it, we did a special little introduction to the Pharoah who inspired the products, and I have to say, Hatshepsut is pretty awesome!

We mentioned curcumin, but didn't dive into it today- never fear, though! We'll be giving the full deets on this phytochemical this weekend!

RESOURCES (Because facts add flavor!)

  1. Turmeric. (2022, July 7). In Wikipedia.

  2. Hall, A. (2018, January 25). Turmeric Health Benefits: The Golden Goddess. Herbal Academy. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from

  3. Benzie, I. F. F., & Wachtel-Galor, S. (2011). Herbal Medicine (Oxidative Stress and Disease) (2nd ed.). CRC Press.

  4. Daily, J. W., Yang, M., & Park, S. (2016). Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Medicinal Food, 19(8), 717–729.

  5. Paultre, K., Cade, W., Hernandez, D., Reynolds, J., Greif, D., & Best, T. M. (2021). Therapeutic effects of turmeric or curcumin extract on pain and function for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 7(1), e000935.

  6. Anjani Matta, S. (2020). Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory Effects and Evidence for Use in Osteoarthritis. Proceedings of UCLA Health, 24.

  7. Sahebkar, A., Serban, M. C., Ursoniu, S., & Banach, M. (2015). Effect of curcuminoids on oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Functional Foods, 18, 898–909.

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