Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature
From Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices1:
- Used for rheumatism, skin problems, body aches, indigestion, flatulence, arthritis
- Household remedy in Nepal for its stimulating, purifying, and anti-inflammatory effects
From Turmeric for Health2:
- Warming and calming aroma
- Benefits blood circulation
- Stimulating to the sensory system, aids focus, and boosts energy
- Invigorates the metabolism
Turmeric in Research
Turmeric has received a lot of attention recently as a natural remedy for a wide variety of conditions – and for good reason! Research over the past few decades has brought to light the many benefits of turmeric and its primary active ingredient, curcumin. Compounds in turmeric have been reported to have anti-diabetic3, pain-relieving4,5, antioxidant4, anti-inflammatory4,5, antibacterial6, anti-arthritic7, liver protecting8, and anti-cancer activities9,10.
Summary of Research Studies
- Turmeric oil was found to disrupt the activity of enzymes linked to type-2 diabetes more effectively than one of the commonly prescribed anti-diabetic drugs.3
- A study investigating the biological properties of turmeric essential oil found that it had significant antioxidant activity in vitro and when given in oral doses to mice and that it exhibited significant pain-blocking and anti-inflammatory in an experiment on mice.4
- In a placebo-controlled clinical trial, curcumin had a significant effect on reducing post-surgical pain and inflammation and was more effective than the pain-reliever phenylbutazone at relieving tenderness at the surgical site.5
- Turmeric oil was shown to have significant antibacterial action against multiple strains of human pathogenic bacteria.6
- In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, oral doses of turmeric extract had a significant anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect in patients with osteoarthritis over a 4-month period.7
- Curcumin was found to have a significant protective effect against liver damage in rats.8
- In preclinical studies, the compound curcumin in turmeric was found to strongly inhibit carcinogenesis (cancer formation) of colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, prostate, hepatic, breast, and oral cancers, and leukemia, likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.9
- One of the primary compounds in turmeric essential oil, ar-turmerone, caused cell death in numerous different cancer cell lines in vitro.10
Test a small amount of essential oil first for sensitivity or allergic reaction. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult a physician. Turmeric essential oil is a known photosensitizer. This will make the skin more sensitive to UV light. If applying to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within the following 48 hours, keep the dilution to 1% or less.
1 Aggarwal, Bharat B. & Kunnumakkara, Ajaikumar B. Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices: Modern Uses for Ancient Medicine. World Scientific, 2009.
2 Brandon, Britt. Turmeric for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Turmeric. Simon and Schuster, 2016.
3 Lekshmi, P. C., et al. “Turmeric (Curcuma Longa L.) Volatile Oil Inhibits Key Enzymes Linked to Type 2 Diabetes.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, vol. 63, no. 7, 5 Mar. 2012, pp. 832–834., doi:10.3109/09637486.2011.607156.
4 Liju, Vijayastelter B., et al. “An Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, and Antinociceptive Activities of Essential Oil from Curcuma Longa. L.” Indian Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 43, no. 5, 2011, p. 526., doi:10.4103/0253-7613.84961.
5 Negi, P. S., et al. “Antibacterial Activity of Turmeric Oil: A Byproduct from Curcumin Manufacture.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 47, no. 10, 1999, pp. 4297–4300., doi:10.1021/jf990308d.
6 Negi, P. S., et al. “Antibacterial Activity of Turmeric Oil: A Byproduct from Curcumin Manufacture.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 47, no. 10, 1999, pp. 4297–4300., doi:10.1021/jf990308d.
7 Srivastava, Shobhit, et al. “Curcuma Longa Extract Reduces Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Osteoarthritis of Knee: a Four-Month, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Inflammopharmacology, vol. 24, no. 6, Dec. 2016, pp. 377–388., doi:10.1007/s10787-016-0289-9.
8 Park, Eun-Jeon, et al. “Protective Effect of Curcumin in Rat Liver Injury Induced by Carbon Tetrachloride.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, vol. 52, no. 4, 2000, pp. 437–440., doi:10.1211/0022357001774048.
9 Jurenka, Julie S. “Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma Longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research.” Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 14, no. 2, 2009, pp. 141–153.
10 Ji, Mingjie, et al. “Induction of Apoptosis by Ar-Turmerone on Various Cell Lines.” International Journal of Molecular Medicine, vol. 14, no. 2, 1 Aug. 2004, pp. 253–256., doi:10.3892/ijmm.14.2.253.