Lots of herbs and spices are used not only in cooking but in medicine as well. And you’ve probably heard of the many amazing benefits of turmeric for our health. But did you know that this Indian native spice also works wonders for your hair?
Our post for today centers on the benefits of turmeric for your hair. We’ll also explore ways to use turmeric for hair care and hair regrowth.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizome and a close relative of ginger. It is widely known for its bright yellow-orange color. This spice is mainly found in India, but can also be seen throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Africa.
Turmeric has long been used as a spice flavoring and coloring in various cuisines. It has an earthy aroma and tastes like black pepper with a little bitterness and warmth.
Turmeric is long recognized as one of the most effective spices used in different traditional medicine systems.
Traditional Indian medicine such as Ayurveda and Siddha believe that the spice is an antiseptic and can balance overall energy in the body. Turmeric (Indian Saffron, Haldi) can also alleviate various conditions including:
- Bloating and gas
- Irregular menstruation
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Liver problems
- Respiratory illnesses
- Diabetic wounds
- Swelling and sprains
Indian women also apply turmeric to the skin to remove unwanted facial hair and keep the skin clean and fresh.
Meanwhile, ancient Chinese medicine uses turmeric for illnesses related to abdominal pain. They classify turmeric as a carminative and a bitter digestive agent.
Interest in turmeric use spiked in recent years due to the plentiful health benefits that it provides. People often use fresh turmeric rhizomes for cooking and for various medicinal uses. Turmeric is also widely available in fine powdered form.
Health Benefits of Turmeric for Hair
What gives turmeric most of its health-boosting properties is a compound called curcumin. It’s loaded with several therapeutic properties such as anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant actions. Curcumin is also the compound that gives turmeric its characteristic bright yellow-orange color.
Turmeric offers the following health benefits for your hair:
1. Alleviates inflammation
Curcumin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective against conditions like rheumatism and arthritis. These inflammation-busting properties spill over to hair, making the spice effective in calming down inflammatory scalp conditions that could cause irritation and hair fall.
2. Stops oxidative damage to cells
Most cells in the body, including those in your hair, can be vulnerable to damage caused by “free radicals”. These are unpaired molecules or atoms that can attack healthy cells and lead to oxidative damage. Free radicals appear as a result of several factors such as improper diet, smoking, and prolonged UV ray exposure.
Turmeric protects the body from oxidative damage and fights free radicals with its plethora of antioxidants. Curcumin compounds found in turmeric neutralizes any existing free radicals and improves antioxidant enzyme activity in the body. This leads to skin and hair that’s stronger, glowing, and free from damage.
3. Fights bacteria, fungi, and dandruff
Dandruff is a common scalp condition characterized by flaking scalp skin and itchiness. It could have a number of causes including certain illnesses, weather conditions, hormonal imbalances, and bacterial or fungal infection. Too much dandruff and itch can possibly lead to other hair issues and even hair loss.
Turmeric helps curb dandruff by eliminating microbial build-up in the scalp. The spice has potent antimicrobial properties that could clear up bacteria or fungi causing dandruff quickly.
4. Stimulates hair growth
Studies have shown that curcumin found in turmeric extracts possess the same mechanism of action as the hair fall treatment Finasteride.
Curcumin works by lowering dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the body, similar to how Finasteride works. Decreased DHT levels are responsible for improving male hormonal conditions such as enlarged prostate glands, prostate cancer, and androgenetic alopecia.
Researches conducted in 2014, 2015, and 2018 regarding curcumin, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer have seen significant reduction in both testosterone and DHT levels. These positive effects on hormonal balance can all be applied to androgenetic alopecia as well.
Hence, upping your turmeric intake can help stop hormonal hair loss (especially in males) and stimulate hair regrowth.
Homemade Turmeric Hair Masks for Healthy Hair
There are a number of ways to use turmeric topically for hair regrowth and dandruff removal. Your hair will also become moisturized, soft, and strong with regular use of homemade turmeric hair masks. We list some of the best recipes here.
1. Honey and Turmeric
Take a few tablespoons of turmeric powder and mix it with a small amount of honey to form a smooth paste. Apply to damp hair, let stand for 30 minutes, and wash off with a gentle shampoo. Use this mask to help induce hair regrowth.
2. Milk, Honey, and Turmeric
Measure out equal amounts of milk and honey (take an amount enough to cover the entirety of your scalp and hair). Combine it with 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. Massage the mixture to your scalp and hair and let it remain for half an hour, then rinse off. This hair mask recipe is another hair regrowth wonder.
3. Olive Oil and Turmeric
Combine a tablespoon of turmeric with some olive oil. Spread the mixture all over your scalp and massage. Leave the mask on your scalp and strands for 20-30 minutes, then rinse off. This mask is a dandruff remedy and is great for hydrating hair as well.
4. Curd and Turmeric
Get ½ cup of curd and mix a tablespoon of turmeric powder in it. Massage into your scalp, leave for half an hour, and rinse off with lukewarm water. This potent combination work wonders in hydrating dry tresses. This mask can also help naturally lighten dark hair.
5. Henna, Curd, and Turmeric
Create the Curd and Turmeric hair mask as seen above. Add some henna powder to the mix before applying it to your hair. Use this mask if you want to naturally tint your hair with a reddish hue without resorting to conventional coloring that may cause hair loss in the long run.
6. Eggs and Turmeric
Take one egg yolk and beat it, adding some turmeric powder gradually along the way. Massage the mixture to your hair and scalp and let it sit for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off with a mild shampoo. This mask improves hair strength, induces regrowth, and makes your tresses shiny and silky.
Note: You can use commercially-prepared turmeric powders or make your own from scratch. Simply break the turmeric into small pieces and dry them completely under the sun until crisp. Use a spice, coffee, or flour mill to grind the dried turmeric pieces. Strain using a sieve and grind the remaining big pieces until all have become a smooth powder.
Taking Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements for Hair Regrowth
One of the best ways to experience the amazing hair benefits of turmeric is by increasing your turmeric intake in your diet. But take note of the following considerations and precautions first:
1. Curcumin is fat-soluble and is best absorbed when taken with fats. Try cooking turmeric together with healthy fats or directly taking turmeric or curcumin supplements with fish oil for better absorption.
2. Take your curcumin or turmeric supplements with some black pepper or piperine supplements. Piperine, black pepper’s major active component, is known to improve the absorption and bioavailability of curcumin. Piperine blocks curcumin breakdown in the liver and intestines, increasing the amount of circulating curcumin in the bloodstream.
3. Consult your physician before starting supplementation with turmeric or curcumin pills. Your physician can guide you on the proper dosage and check on any medication interactions. You’ll also be assessed first if you’re fit to take curcumin for hair health.
1. Curcumin and turmeric, though all-natural, still have potential side effects. These side effects were observed in people who take high amounts of curcumin (1,000 mg and up).
Watch out for the following symptoms:
- Digestive symptoms like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and acid reflux
- Headaches and fatigue
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Kidney stones from calcium oxalate
Note that such adverse symptoms may appear if you’re taking too much turmeric or curcumin supplements.
No official dosage recommendation exists, but the allowable daily intake of curcumin is pegged at 3 mg/kg of your body weight. This is according to JECFA (The Joint United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives) and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).
A general rule of thumb is to strictly follow the recommendations on your supplements pack and never exceed the recommended dosage in it.
Speak to your physician about his recommended dosage to be on the safe side. And remember that moderation is always the key.
2. Pregnant moms should never take turmeric or curcumin supplements. Both can induce uterine contractions and result in a miscarriage or a compromised state of the unborn child. Lactating mothers can safely use turmeric in moderate amounts.
3. Use turmeric with caution if you have the following conditions:
- Surgery – Since turmeric can thin your blood and slow clotting, it is best to stop turmeric use around 2 weeks before your scheduled surgical procedure.
- Diabetes – Your blood sugar levels may dip too low if turmeric is not used properly.
- Bleeding conditions – Blood clotting is slowed when turmeric is used, so exercise caution and watch out for sudden bruises or bleeds.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – Reflux and digestive symptoms may worsen with prolonged or excessive turmeric use.
- Iron Deficiency – Too much turmeric or curcumin could prevent iron absorption and make iron deficiency worse.
- Gallbladder and kidney conditions – Turmeric can cause calcium oxalate stones to form, so avoid turmeric use if you are a stone former, have previous gallstones or kidney stones, or have bile duct obstruction.
Turmeric is a spice that’s used in cooking and in medicine. It carries a plethora of possible health benefits for the entire body. Along with this, turmeric can also benefit hair by fighting hair loss, inducing hair regrowth, and keeping tresses clean, strong, and shiny.
You can use homemade turmeric hair masks by mixing this potent ingredient with other nourishing ingredients such as honey, olive oil, milk, egg yolks, curd, and henna. Using these masks 3-4 times a week gives you healthier tresses and hastens the growth of new hair from the roots.
Taking turmeric in the form of powders and oral supplements can also benefit your hair. Be sure to talk to a physician about this first, observe moderation and proper dosing, and watch out for possible adverse effects. Turmeric is generally safe to use for most people, though, so worry not!
Have you tried using turmeric for your hair? We’d love to know how it went by! Share with us your turmeric and hair growth experiences in the comments section.