Turmeric. It’s basically the kale of 2016. This close relative of the ginger root has been initiated into the “superfood” clique—sorry, avocado…we had a vote—and everyone, from Ayurvedic healers to that cashier at Whole Foods, now swears by its anti-inflammatory benefits.
But turns out, turmeric is worth the hype. Containing high levels of antioxidants—more specifically, curcumin—this exotic orange-yellow-ish powder has been found to protect against cancer, stroke, arthritis, liver disease and even Alzheimer’s.
So, yeah. “Superfood” indeed.
If you’re like me though, you’ve got this internal dialogue playing on-loop right about now: Ummm…medicinal properties are cool, but how am I supposed to actually use this stuff? Well, aside from being a wellness wonder, turmeric also earns versatility points. Consider it your spice rack’s answer to coconut oil.
Whether ingested or applied topically, the following hacks will transform turmeric into a health and beauty must-have:
Whiten Your Teeth
Douse a toothbrush in water then dip the bristles in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric. Scrub your teeth with the turmeric and leave on for 5 minutes. Rinse your mouth then brush again with regular toothpaste.
Whisk 1/2 teaspoon turmeric with 1 tablespoon coconut oil until both ingredients are combined. Massage this mixture into your scalp and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse your hair then shampoo normally.
Heal Inflamed Skin
Mix 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon water until these ingredients form a paste. Spread this mask across your face—paying close attention to acne-prone areas—then leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse your skin with cold water.
Sooth Joint Swelling
Combine 2 tablespoons turmeric, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon water until these ingredients form a poultice. Apply this mixture directly onto the injured body part then wrap in a cloth bandage. Leave on for 20 minutes, at minimum.
Blend Into Smoothies
Include a few dashes of turmeric in your favorite beverage concoctions, along with other superfood enhancements like chia seeds, hemp hearts, cacao nibs or spirulina.
Add 1 teaspoon turmeric to 1 cup boiling water then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain any leftover turmeric grounds from the water then stir in ginger or honey, to taste.
Make “Golden Milk”
Mix together 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 cup water on low heat until both ingredients form a paste. Add 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Toss With Salads
Whisk 1/4 teaspoon turmeric with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Pour this mixture over fresh veggies and use salad tongs to distribute the liquid evenly.
Spice Up Bone Broth
Infuse 1 teaspoon turmeric into a healthy homemade stock—like this recipe from Wellness Mama—for extra flavor, zest and color.
Kickstart Your Morning
Sprinkle a few dashes of turmeric over scrambled eggs, oatmeal, avocado toast, plain Greek yogurt or sliced apples with almond butter.