Not just a useful spice to give your curry a lovely colour and earthy flavour (though it does it rather well!), turmeric is being hailed as a super-food - and no wonder when you see what it can do...
1. Reduces scars
Apply this mask three times a week: mix 2tbsp turmeric with 1tsp honey, a few drops of lemon and a little coconut or olive oil and mix until smooth. Apply and leave until dry – then wash off. It also works for acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and eczema.
2. Brighten your teeth
Some people swear sprinkling a little turmeric powder on your toothpaste before brushing your teeth helps make them whiter. Presumably, the turmeric isn’t on the enamel long enough to change the colour…but we say, proceed with caution!
3. Customise your foundation
If you have a darker skin tone, or when you get a tan in the summer, you can, like actor Thandie Newton, add a little turmeric to tinted moisturiser to add a glow and match your skin tone. Indian women have known about this for years, adding the spice to face creams and body scrubs to give their skin a colour boost.
4. Deter dandruff
Make up a mixture of turmeric and olive or coconut oil, massage into your scalp and leave for 15 minutes, before shampooing off as usual.
Fun fact: Turmeric is a spice from the ginger family. Native to South West India, it can be used fresh, but is most often sold as a yellow-orange powder.
5. Relieve a sprain injury
Make up a paste of one part salt and two parts turmeric adding just enough water to make it spreadable. Apply to the affected joint and wrap in an old cloth you don’t mind staining. Leave on for 20 minutes to an hour, once a day. Obviously, please don’t do this on body parts that can be seen as it will leave your skin with a temporary yellow tinge!
6. Disinfect minor cuts and wounds
Apply powder directly onto the affected area and cover with a sticking plaster, or mix the powder to a paste with water or coconut oil. A natural inflammatory, turmeric fights infection and can speed up recovery.
7. Treat cold and flu symptoms
Mix 1tsp turmeric with a glass of warm milk and drink once a day.
The science bit: It’s the active ingredient curcumin, that helps to fight harmful bacteria and also helps in repairing any damage.
8. Live longer!
The Japanese people of Okinawa have the world’s longest life spans – and they drink turmeric tea daily! To make your own, boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric, allow to simmer for 10 minutes, and then strain, adding ginger and/or honey to taste.
9. Use as a fabric dye
Add 3tbsp of turmeric to a pot of boiling water, let it simmer for a while, then add the items you want to dye. Leave them to soak, then rinse and dry.