I made kedgeree for supper the other night, which is one of my all time favourite meals – so wholesome, it’s pure comfort food. One of the main ingredients used to create that gorgeous flavour, and of course divine colour is turmeric, and it occurred to me, as I mixed in my rice, and that amazing colour filtered and diluted through the individual grains, that I know very little about it.
So, going into ‘Green Fingered Guru’ mode (thanks again to Liz Earle Wellbeing for that wonderful title!) I decided to look into it. Turmeric after all is a plant, and as we know I love my plants!
Tumeric, or Curcuma longa , if you want to be official about it, is a member of the ginger family, which is obvious to me now looking at the rhizome (which is a botanical term, it’s essentially a modified bit of stem that grows underground, although some grow above or at soil level. It’s the bit of ginger that we eat.) and comes originally from India. It’s powder form, that we’re used to seeing in supermarkets, is made by boiling the rhizome for about half an hour, then drying it in a hot oven, before grinding it down into the now common spice.
So it seems that I have been missing out. This unconsiquential looking little plant is a source of potant power. There is even a long standing tradition for Indian brides to have a paste of tumeric painted on their skin the night before their weddings because of how it beautifies the skin.
- It contains massive antioxidant and antiseptic properties. It is for this reason that it can work wonders for our skin, particularly acne.
- Its fantastic for oily skin, (and therefor me) as it helps stop the over production of sebum.
- Excellent at exfoliation, so brightens the skin beautifully.
- Helps fight the signs of ageing and fine wrinkles.
- Can be used as a treatment for poison ivy, eczema and psoriasis.
I use a couple of recipes to make my turmeric face masks, usually depending on what happens to be in the fridge that day, but this is my favourite.
- 2 tablespoons of whole oats to stiffen the paste.
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoons yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoons honey
Mix it all up, and apply in a thin layer all over your face, avoiding the eye and mouth area. Leave the mask on for about 20 mins until it’s dried, then gently rinse off and moisturise well.
The first time I used turmeric in a face mask I was worried that it might stain me yellow. I have now used it so many times (about once a month) and I can assure you that it has never once stained my face. However, if you are concerned, just apply a slightly thinner layer, and rinse your face twice.