Turmeric has numerous health benefits. Turmeric tea, in particular, has many benefits for acne. You can easily add turmeric in any form to your diet. Turmeric tea is something you can easily make at home.
Here we’ll share a recipe for turmeric tea along with the scientific and Ayurvedic aspects of both turmeric and acne.
Acne is a skin condition where hair follicles get clogged with oils and dead skin cells. It is characterized by pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, cysts, nodules and excessively oily skin.
Acne can even leave deep marks on the skin called acne scars. Acne generally presents itself with inflammation but not always. The inflammatory type of acne is painful as well.
Acne Causes and Facts
Here are some of the most common causes of acne.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Environmental irritants like pollution
- Some medications
- High glycemic index foods
- Irrational use of cosmetics
- Improper lifestyle
- Weak immune system
- Smoking can worsen adult acne
- Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). This bacteria lives on the skin. If it enters a clogged pore, it can multiply quickly and can cause inflammation. If the inflammation goes deeper into the skin, it may result in an acne cyst or nodule.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. It affects up to 50 million Americans annually. 1
While acne usually occurs during puberty, it can occur at any age. At least 85% of people in the United States get acne between the ages of 12 to 24 years.1
Acne doesn’t just appear on the face. It can appear on the chest, back, neck, genitals, and other parts of the body as well.
Ayurveda And Acne
According to Ayurveda, acne can be correlated to Yuvanpidaka or Mukhdushika. Yauvan means teenage and pidaka means acne therefore, Yuvanpidaka means acne associated with puberty. Mukhdushika, on the other hand, means a contaminated or unclean face in Sanskrit.
According to the renowned Ayurvedic text book, Sushruta Samhita, the causative factors for acne (Yuvanpidaka or Mukhd shika) are vitiation of Vata dosha, Kapha dosha and rakta dhatu (blood).
Due to this vitiation, small thorn-like lesions erupt on the face. These are called Mukhdushika.2
The Sanskrit name of turmeric is haridra. Haridra in Sanskrit means that which cleanses the skin and improves skin complexion.
Ayurvedic Properties Of Turmeric (Haridra)3
Rasa or taste: Tikta or bitter, Katu or pungent
Guna or qualities: Rooksha or dry, laghu or light
Veerya or potency: Ushna or hot
Vipaka or post-digestive taste: Katu or pungent
Effect On Three Doshas: Tri dosha hara (brings all three doshas into equilibrium)
Due to its Ushna veerya or hot potency, turmeric is Kapha Vata Shamak, it pacifies aggravated Kapha and Vata doshas. Due to its bitter taste, it is also considered to be useful in blood-related or circulation-related problems.3
Bitter and astringent foods are helpful in bringing Pitta and Kapha dosha into equilibrium and both Pitta and Kapha are located in rakta dhatu or blood.
Turmeric might be helpful in pacifying the causative factors of acne given its properties in Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric also might help with the secondary symptoms of acne like inflammation, skin discoloration, and pain from inflammation.3
Tumeric For Acne: Clinical Studies
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is also called diferuloylmethane. It is the main naturally-occurring polyphenol found in the rhizome of Curcuma longa (turmeric). Curcumin is what imparts medicinal properties to turmeric.4
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Inflammation is believed to be the main cause of acne.
Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) is a major mediator of inflammation in most diseases, and this effect is regulated by the activation of a transcription factor, nuclear factor (NF)-κB. Whereas TNF-α is said to be the most potent NF-κB activator, the expression of TNF-α is also regulated by NF-κB.
In addition to TNF-α, NF-κB is also activated by most inflammatory cytokines; gram-negative bacteria; various disease-causing viruses; environmental pollutants; chemical, physical, mechanical, and psychological stress; high glucose; fatty acids; ultraviolet radiation; cigarette smoke; and other disease-causing factors.
Therefore, agents that downregulate NF-κB and NF-κB–regulated gene products have potential efficacy against several of these diseases.
Curcumin has been shown to block NF-κB activation increased by several different inflammatory stimuli.
Curcumin has also been shown to suppress inflammation through many other different mechanisms too, thereby supporting its mechanism of action as a potential anti-inflammatory agent.4
Antioxidant Activity: Turmeric has antioxidant activity and as a result, it can scavenge free radicals, help in detoxification, and protect the skin from cell death and DNA damage.
The antioxidant activity of turmeric also improve cell-mediated immunity as a result, it improves the body’s defense against diseases.
Curcumin’s effect on free radicals is carried out by several different mechanisms. It can scavenge different forms of free radicals, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively); it can modulate the activity of GSH(glutathione peroxidase), catalase, and SOD(superoxide dismutase) enzymes active in the neutralization of free radicals;
It can also inhibit ROS-generating enzymes such as lipoxygenase/cyclooxygenase and xanthine hydrogenase/oxidase. In addition, curcumin is a lipophilic compound, which makes it an efficient scavenger of peroxyl radicals, therefore, like vitamin E, curcumin is also considered as a chain-breaking antioxidant.5
Stress-Relieving Properties: Some studies support that curcumin is helpful for stress and stress-related problems. Curcumin can be helpful in preventing stress-related acne.5
Considering the aforementioned studies on curcumin, it should be clear that turmeric can be very helpful in treating the root causes of acne.
Turmeric can be very helpful in treating the root causes of acne.
Turmeric Tea For Acne Recipe
Here is a very easy recipe for turmeric tea. You can add to your food regimen to help manage your acne. Before using turmeric tea for acne, it is advised to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
Some other herbs have also been mentioned in the recipe. They are meant to enhance the taste and increase the efficacy of the curcumin in the tea. These additional herbs are optional and can be added or left out according to your taste and preferences.
Preparation Time: 10 -15 minutes
- One cup of water
- 1 inch long fresh raw turmeric root which should be peeled and finely sliced or half teaspoon of turmeric powder
- ½ inch long fresh peeled ginger piece which should be cut into small pieces (optional)
- ¼ tsp of whole black peppercorns or ⅛ tsp of black pepper powder (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- ¼ tsp of cardamom powder (optional)
- 2-3 cloves (optional)
- Whole nutmeg for grating
- Milk – either dairy milk as cow’s milk or non-dairy milk as soy, almond, cashew or full-fat canned coconut milk (optional)
- Raw sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or coconut sugar (optional)
- Take one cup of water in a saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil.
- When it reaches a boil, add all the herbal ingredients except nutmeg.
- Over a medium flame, simmer this mixture for about ten minutes.
- After ten minutes, you can stir in the milk if you want. If you add milk then let it boil and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Add raw sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or jaggery if you wish. Avoid if you’re diabetic.
- Remove from the flame and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into your mug.
- Grate a little nutmeg into it.
- Your turmeric tea is ready.
Milk has been mentioned as an optional ingredient. Ayurvedic texts consider milk to be an anupana. This means ‘vehicle’ in Sanskrit. It is basically a medium that enhances the efficacy of the herbs being administered.
Milk acts as a fat and water soluble medium that ensures the best delivery and absorption for the Ayurvedic herbs administered with it. Milk is considered one of the best vehicles or anupanas in Ayurveda.6
Milk is considered one of the best vehicles or anupanas in Ayurveda.
Clinical studies have also shown that curcumin, the main active ingredient of turmeric, has high bioavailability, faster rate, and better absorption when given with a fat medium.7 Fats in the milk serve this purpose.
Black pepper also boosts the absorption of curcumin, the main ingredient present in turmeric.4
However, adding milk to your turmeric tea is completely up to you. If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t digest dairy products well, you can go ahead with only water.
You can consume this healthy and delicious drink to prevent acne however consult your Ayurvedic practitioner or health care provider before using turmeric for your acne.
- Nordqvist, Christian. “Acne: Causes, Treatment, and Tips.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 27 Nov. 2017.
- Sushruta Samhita with hindi commentary by Kaviraj Ambikadutta Shastri, Part-1, page no. 372, Nidan Sathan 13/38, by Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, 2011.
- Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no.163, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
- Hewlings, Susan J., and Douglas S. Kalman. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2017.
- Kulkarni, S. K., and A. Dhir. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010.
- Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no. 365, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.
- Prasad, Sahdeo, et al. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523/.