Controlling inflammation is a major component in managing some ailments and diseases. Inflammation causes both mild and severe knock-on effects ranging from an annoying discomfort to serious complications.
There is an abundance of research on the causes of inflammation which has resulted in a better understanding of the pathways to reduce inflammation in the body. Finding alternatives to non-steroidal topical creams has led researchers to a number of effective herbal sources which include turmeric, which, as you will read below, easily turns into a DIY anti-inflammatory golden salve.
Turmeric Medicinal Properties
The medicinal properties of turmeric are well documented, particularly the ability to reduce inflammation with practically no side effects. When used topically, it has a number of other well-researched benefits, including;
- Being a strong anti-oxidant
- Conditioning the skin
- Minimizing the risk of cancer
- Reducing muscle spasms
- Cleansing the skin as an effective anti-microbial
Most research points to the compound curcumin as the main reason for turmeric’s medicinal properties. Luckily, extracting curcumin out of turmeric is relatively quick and easy since curcumin is readily soluble in oil. This makes it an ideal candidate for infusing into an oil to be made into a golden salve to treat inflammation. Otherwise, you can purchase turmeric essential oil.
Grow Your Own Turmeric
In milder climates, turmeric is easy to grow and the roots can be harvested at any time of year, sliced, dried, and ground into a powder to use in your own golden salve. In colder climates, turmeric can be grown as an annual by digging the roots up once the leaves have died back in the fall.
As always, choosing a carrier oil can be as easy as reaching for the olive oil from the kitchen cupboard, but consider blending olive oil with high absorption oils such as soybean oil. This will increase the penetration of the golden salve deeper into the skin and potentially closer to the source of inflammation.
This recipe calls for only 3 ingredients, but there are a couple of optional ingredients that can also be added:
- 5 teaspoons of dried turmeric powder (or 10 drops of turmeric essential oil)
- 6 tablespoons of carrier oil (either olive oil or a mixture of different plant-based oils)
- 2 oz (6 g) of beeswax
Mix the turmeric and carrier oil in a jar and sit it in a pot of warm water (maximum 100 °F) for 1 – 2 hours.
Since curcumin readily dissolves in oil, it doesn’t require a long infusion period like other herbs. The oil should be stirred every 10 – 15 minutes.
Once the infused oil is ready, allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes so that all of the solids settle to the bottom of the jar, as shown in the photo below.
This infused oil can be carefully decanted or poured into a clean jar while leaving the solids behind. You should be able to almost fill a 2 oz (50 ml) cosmetics jar with the infused oil, plus have a little leftover infused oil with the solids for your next curry night.
Place the jar of turmeric-infused oil back in the pot of warm water and add the beeswax. Stir until it has all melted then test the consistency with a cold teaspoon from the fridge.
When satisfied, remove it from the warm water to cool (if you are using an essential oil, then this is the time to add it). I find turmeric salves are more prone to forming a crust on top so be sure to allow it to cool slowly.
The bright orange color of turmeric produces a golden salve that feels warm when massaged into your skin.
It can be massaged into your skin as often as required, but unfortunately, topical use of turmeric has one negative side effect; it stains everything. That vibrant, golden color stains clothes at the same time as giving your skin a healthy glow! I massage it in after showering and after about an hour most of the salve has been absorbed, but perhaps don’t wear anything white afterward.
Shelf – Life
Since this is a water-free product it will last for a year. If you choose to substitute the olive oil for soybean, flax, corn, or sunflower oil then this may decrease the shelf-life to 6 – 8 months.
You may also like: