Ayurveda and Turmeric Essential Oil: The Natural Bond

You can seldom find an Indian kitchen without this noble herb named ‘Turmeric’, used since 4000 years in the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. The power of this herb is being realized by the contemporary researchers and innumerable research studies prove its efficiency, fighting for its stand in healing even the most complicated of the diseases. Each and every part of the turmeric plant is beneficial in its own ways and the essential oil is extracted from the rhizomes or the roots of this plant and that is why most of the times, Turmeric essential oil is favorably called as Turmeric root essential oil. Whenever and wherever you talk about or think about Ayurveda, you can never neglect the essence and health values imparted by this grand herb known as ‘Kanchani’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘The Golden Goddess’.

Healing properties of ‘versatile’ herb Turmeric: Turmeric herb is scientifically known as Curcuma Longa. The essential oil extracted from  the roots or bulbs of  this Indian Saffron plant by steam distillation process is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic, anti-allergic, digestive, vulnerary, carminative, astringent, cardiovascular, cholagogue, anti-tumor, appetizer, stimulant and alterative properties proven to be the best natural cure for the most problematical human illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, urinary tract infections, amenorrhea, hemorrhoids, gallstones, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like Genital Herpes, Hepatitis-C etc, liver problems and even the most obscure skin disorders. Ayurveda suggests the use of turmeric in daily cooking for its priceless medicinal benefits.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Turmeric essential oil: Ayurveda has proudly named Turmeric as an ‘All-Purpose Cleanser’, insisting on the benefits of this herb in purifying the body from internal and external disorders. This energizing herb is meant to support the imbalance of Kapha body type (who are generally fat, obese and with a hefty body) with its warming properties and that is why Turmeric is used as an effective remedy in numerous natural weight-loss treatments. It also helps in resuming the function of pitta and vata body types also.

Nature’s shield against cancer: Cancer is hard to think and difficult to digest and I have personally felt the pain of losing my near ones to this deadly disease, being ignorant of the curative values granted by Ayurveda few years back. Turmeric has been used in numerous Ayurvedic treatments to help fight against cancer as it is said to restrain the development of fresh blood vessels in tumors and holds its growth. An accepted research in 2011 has witnessed that Turmeric essential oil has the capacity to fight against the free radicals in the body and act as excellent antioxidant, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents. Ayurveda’s uses of Turmeric oil as an effective tool for preventing cancer has again been proved by this research which says that Turmeric essential oil increases the level of Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and augment carcinogen detoxification in the human body and effectively function as a perfect cancer-preventing force.

Brilliantly assists the digestive system: Along with imparting irresistible aroma and flavor to the food, turmeric supports the function of the digestive system. The safety prescribing authority of herbs in Germany known as the German Commission E has allegedly approved the use of Turmeric in treating digestive disorders. It stimulates the mucous element in the gastric juices and aids in curing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation and other chronic digestive disorders. Turmeric essential oil strengthens digestion and eliminates the toxins that are stored in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pampers the skin perfectly: Turmeric is the beauty secret of Queens since the prehistoric period. Ayurveda suggests the use of Turmeric daily as it protects the skin from harmful bodies and gives a flawless fair complexion. You might have come across the use of Turmeric essential oil in innumerable skin care products in the market for it is celebrated to treat wounds, eczema, wrinkles, pigmentation of skin, pimples, acne, psoriasis, cuts, burns and other skin infections.

Other health conditions: According to Ayurveda, turmeric is said to reduce Kapha (mucous secretion) and hence it is used an as effective aid in treating respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, common cold, cough, flu etc. It improves blood circulation and helps in treating female health problems like amenorrhea, dysmennorhea, uterine tumors, endometriosis and cysts. It protects the liver, treats diabetes, kidney pain, colitis, food poisoning, headache, vascular dysfunction, blood pressure, inflammation, swelling and reduces excess cholesterol.

How to use Turmeric essential oil: This powerful essential oil can be diluted with carrier oils and used as a topical application or for a relaxing Ayurvedic massage. Few drops of oil can be added to potpourris, vaporizers, candles or diffusers for combating germs in the air and protecting the environment naturally. It can also be added to your bath tub for an aromatic, healing, stimulating and energizing bath. Turmeric essential oil is generally ingested for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but it is strictly advised to consult an expert Ayurvedic Practitioner before using this oil internally and if you are pregnant or getting ready for a child.

All that glitters is not gold’ is a popular adage. With the bright golden color, Turmeric in the Ayurvedic world can be remembered by saying ‘All that glitters is Turmeric’ (rightly called as the Golden Goddess).

Thought for the day♥

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

                                                                                    -Thomas Carlyle

Suggested reading:

  1. Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life by Prashanti DeJager MS
  2. Curcumin: The 21st Century Cure: Prevent and Reverse: cancer, depression and dementia, digestive disorders, diabetes, pain and arthritis, heart disease and more by Jan McBarron M.D.
  3. Turmeric and the Healing Curcuminoids by Muhammed Majeed, Vladimir Badmaev, Frank Murray

Reference Links:

  1. Turmeric: ‘The Golden Goddess’ by California College of Ayurveda
  2. Turmeric by University of Maryland Medical Center
  3. An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L by PubMed
  4. Uses of Turmeric in Ayurveda by IndiaNetzone

Ayurvedic Essential Oils And Mood Blends

Mood differs from season to season, from person to person, from time to time and from odor to aroma. Sounds confusing? Let me put in more specific terms, Christmas brings in joy, New Year brings in newness, Halloween brings in adventure, Valentine’s Day brings in romance and Independence Day brings in patriotism. Each and every occasion is special on its own. Aromatic therapy or Aromatherapy is a part of Ayurveda, where aroma is used in treating illness and improving health conditions. It is based on the principle that natural fragrances, especially from pure essential oils can affect our moods, and consequently change the way we think or feel at any given time. Aroma affects our moods through the action or the start of the limbic system where the therapeutic properties of natural essential oils are slowly passed on to the entire system.

Pure essential oils support wellness and are extracted from various parts of a plant like flower, leaf, stem, resin, stalk, root, fruit, bark and seed. Ayurveda suggests the use of natural and wholesome essential oils instead of the synthetic or artificially fragranced oils because only pure essential oils will have the prana, otherwise known as the vital celestial energy to revivify your senses, enliven the mind and stimulate the key channels of the body for spreading the essential energy for strength and efficacy in an uniform manner. There are innumerable Ayurvedic essential oils, each of which can support some or the other moods of human beings. Let’s now look at the most predominant types of moods and the mood swings along with the essential oils that support such situations with their therapeutic properties.

1. Oils for depression: Depression is a deadly disorder that can literally spoil your days. The National Institute of Mental Health says that “Depression is a common but serious illness”. It causes extreme pain to you and to your near ones also. Ayurveda is the best way of treating depression as it has everything to soothe your senses and calm your mind. It suggests meditation and yoga for replenishing your mind, soul and spirit, while granting you an opportunity to realize your worth and come out of your deep mental worries. The best Ayurvedic essential oils for depression are Lavender essential oil, Rosemary essential oil, Frankincense essential oil, Jasmine essential oil and Ylang Ylang essential oil that can help one come out of depression with their calming, stimulant, antidepressant, nervine, sedative and hypotensive properties.

2. Oils for stress: We never knew that stress is the root cause for many major health disorders. Stress brings with it certain threatening symptoms like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscular tension, improper functioning of the digestive system, insomnia, weakened immune system and much more. Practicing an Ayurvedic routine along with the comforting and relaxing essential oils like Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Lavender oil, Chamomile oil, Ylang Ylang oil, Patchouli oil, Peppermint oil and Orange oil.

3. Oils for loneliness: Nothing else like isolation and the feeling of loneliness can harm us, during the adverse times when we really need someone besides us. The best thing that Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences suggests is to speak with God through meditation and by offering a small prayer. This brings in the real difference and you will naturally inculcate the feeling that ‘You are not lonely anymore’. Few drops of Rose oil, Roman Chamomile oil, Frankincense oil, Clary Sage oil or Bergamot oil added either to your bath tub, diffuser or to your hankie will bring in the real energy to fight lonesomeness and support your mind.

4. Oils for anxiety and grief: Anxiety imparts nervousness along with an uneasy feeling, leading you to worry, stay restless, experience difficulty in sleeping, concentrating and few other health problems like nausea, headache and diarrhea. Most of the times work pressure, post-pregnancy blues, difficult terms in relationships, health problems or financial crisis may lead to anxiety disorder and would gradually make you sad. Ayurvedic essential oils like Sandalwood oil, Lavender oil, Cedarwood oil, Frankincense oil, Mandarin oil, Neroli oil, Rose oil, Ylang Ylang oil and Jasmine oil will regain the strength and confidence to face the tougher situations of life.

5. Oils for fatigue and fear: Oh! A single day with 3 important meetings, 2 conference calls, 4 reports to submit and attend to the queries of your subordinates is more than enough to make you tired, twisted and weary. This is called as fatigue. The fear of losing a job, a relationship or failing the examination, insecurity, pregnancy etc will make you panic. The best way to get out of it is to practice Pranayama, the art of breathing. Ayurveda suggests that deep breathing and meditation grants inner peace and strength, helping one to come out of fear and fatigue. A warm bath after your tiresome work with few drops of consoling essential oils like Peppermint oil, Rose oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Frankincense oil, Sandalwood oil and Basil oil can grant you the warmth and energy that your mind and body demands.

Ayurveda considers that unhealthy or problematic relationships are the fundamental reason behind most of the problems mentioned above. This vitalizing science also grants incredible ways to maintain healthy relationships for your well-being.

Caution: Do not apply essential oils directly to your skin as pure essential oils are highly concentrated and may harm your skin or cause other allergic reactions. Consult your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using the right essential oils for your individual body type.

Thought for the day:

Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.  –Bill Watterson

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood
  2. Change Your Mood with Aromatherapy (Teach Yourself) by Denise Whichello Brown
  3. The Interrelationship between the Body, Mind and Spirit in Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Medicine by C. Scott Ryan

Reference Links:

  1. What is Aromatherapy? The Theory Behind Aromatherapy by Medical News Today
  2. Mood Swings-Mental Health and Behavior Overview by Better Medicine
  3. What is depression by National Institute of Mental Health
  4. Pranayama (From Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga) by Yoga Point

Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Untold Anecdote

Most of us might have perceived Ayurveda and Aromatherapy as two different parts of the Complementary and Alternative medicine but I take great privilege in revealing the fact that Aromatherapy is an innate or in-built part of Ayurveda, the 5000 years old ancient healing methodology. Ayurveda is proudly celebrated as the Mother of all healing sciences as it has given birth to numerous traditional healing methodologies like Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional European Medicine and much more.

Aromatherapy is not a separate branch of Ayurveda but it is a vital part or an incredible way of treating illness in Ayurveda through the use of ‘aromatics’ and later given a separate name by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, known as the father of aromatherapy. It’s high time to put an end to this endless myth whether Ayurveda and Aromatherapy are the two poles apart? Let’s analyze.

Holistic approach: Ayurveda is a holistic healing approach that considers an individual as an entity and as a ‘Whole person’. This ancient science considers the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and sociological reasons contributing to a particular illness of an individual. While prescribing medications, Ayurveda does not stop with giving herbs or oils as remedies for a disease instead it suggests regular practice of yoga, meditation, taking an Ayurvedic diet, an Ayurvedic routine and certain other lifestyle changes according to an individual’s body type (doshas) and the unique constitution known as Prakriti. On the other hand, Aromatherapy is also a holistic method that considers the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Use of aromatics: Ayurveda makes use of aromatics to prevent and treat various health conditions. This is because it believes that the strengthening of the five human senses promotes healthy living. Inhalation of the aroma of plants and the essential oils extracted from those plants is trusted to enhance the sense of smell and directly contributes to mental health and treats hormonal imbalances.

This is the basic reason behind the use of incense sticks and other aromatic herbs and oils like sandalwood and tulasi in religious rituals and prayers for instilling the spiritual feeling. When it comes to Aromatherapy, this attribute of using aromatics needs no explanation as Aromatherapy makes use of Ayurvedic essential oils and trusts that the aromatic compounds and therapeutic properties present in these oils helps in healing illnesses invariably.

Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic massage therapy: Ayurvedic massage therapy involves the use of remedial oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil and few other vegetable oils along with effective essential oils. It is a vital part of Panchakarma or the detoxification therapy, where the toxic substances of the body are removed and it inhibits the growth of harmful bodies through systematic massage.

Marguerite Maury, pioneer of Aromatherapy and the celebrated French Aromatherapist, in the traditional British Aromatherapy has talked on the benefits of using essential oils on dermal application through effective    massage techniques, where the concept of massaging itself is indigenous to Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic essential oils: Ayurveda is the oldest of the existing medicinal practices in the world and has a recorded use of herbal plants for more than 5000 years ago. Essential oils are nothing but the highly concentrated liquids extracted from plants and are often known as the essence of the herbal plants. Aromatherapy makes use of these essential oils to reiterate the fact that we are a part of nature and it is safe and secure to treat our illnesses in a natural manner. Dr. Light Miller in her famous book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom’ talks about the importance of doshas and the perfect essential oils for each dosha.

For Vata Dosha: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Basil, Ginger, Angelica, Cajeput, Anise and Rosewood.

For Pitta Dosha: Sandalwood, Lime, Peppermint, Chamomile, Yarrow and Coriander.

For Kapha Dosha: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Niaouli, Sage, Basil, Savory, Clove and Hyssop.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha is not Greek or Latin in the world of Aromatherapy but it just indicates the predominance existing in an individual’s constitution and these essential oils are said to treat the dosha imbalances with their healing properties.

Limbic System: According to Ayurveda, the sense of smell is connected with the limbic system. This helps in recollecting the memories of a place or a person associated with an aroma. Limbic system is a vital part of the brain that stimulates the function of the nervous system, determines the body temperature and blood sugar level, enables the process of respiration, and controls sexual feelings, sleep and awake responses and much more.

The underlying principle behind limbic system and Ayurveda is that the inhalation of aromatic essential oils with healing properties fosters the essential oil molecule to pass through the nasal passage and reaches the limbic system ultimately as nerve impulses following which, the hypothalamus passes the message to other parts of the body to rejoice, relax, control hunger, hormonal imbalances, thirst and many other feelings. Even Aromatherapy indicates the same mechanism of aroma through the limbic system in healing illnesses.

Hope this information is more than enough to prove that the concept of Aromatherapy has been a part and parcel of Ayurvedic healing methodology since ages till it was given birth under a new name ‘Aromatherapy’ by its father Rene Maurice Gattefosse. Nothing to wrestle or protest but I end this post with the pride of finding something unique and exceptional in all the healing sciences that is nothing but ‘Human beings are special naturally’.

Thought for the day:

‘Healing,’ Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’
-W. H. Auden

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing By Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils By Gabriel Mojay
  3. The Aromatherapy Companion: Medicinal Uses/Ayurvedic Healing/Body-Care Blends/Perfumes & Scents/Emotional Health & Well-Being (Herbal Body) By Victoria H. Edwards

Reference Links:

  1. Aromatherapy from Ayurveda’s Perspective by Yayoi Stavish
  2. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by AllHealthyFamily News
  3. The Limbic System by Suzanne Bovenizer CMT, CST