The Right Root

As a beauty aid, turmeric prevents and cures pigmentation, maintains the PH balance and makes the skin glow.

Turmeric is an integral part of a bride’s beauty regimen in Pakistan and even as far as Java.

Turmeric, which is a perennial plant about 60 to 90 cm in height, has a short stem and tufted leaves, has even found a mention in ancient Sanskrit texts. From being used as a beauty aid to effectively stopping bleeding from cuts, this spice is now also used in plugging radiator leaks!

Botanically known as curcuma longa, turmeric is a native of southern or South Eastern Asia. It has been grown in Pakistan from ancient times. It seems to have reached China before the seventh century AD.

Turmeric and tradition

In both Hakeem and Unani medicine, it known as a tonic and a blood purifier. Turmeric is used in hekmat in two ways – freshly extracted turmeric juice, which is taken orally, and as turmeric paste used for skin application. The dried root is ground to form the turmeric powder. Raw turmeric looks similar to ginger and is crushed. The strained extracted juice forms a translucent reddish-yellow tasteless liquid.

Turmeric’s use in beauty

As a beauty aid, turmeric paste prevents and cures pigmentation, maintains the pH factor and makes skin glow. Taken internally, it purifies the blood. Its active ingredient, curcumin has anti-oxidant properties.

The regular use of turmeric is said to make the skin soft and smooth. It also gives a glow to the skin and promotes a clearer complexion. Turmeric is also prescribed in medicine for various skin ailments where application of the paste on a regular basis is advocated. It is used for spots, pigmentation or blotches that may appear on the skin, and also for diseases like eczema. Turmeric is also used in traditional medicine for cuts and burns as it is believed to have an antiseptic effect and also to promote healing. It is also supposed to act as a barrier against crocodiles for swimmers and keeps snakes away too.

For its use in beauty aids, it is best to use the raw turmeric stick rather than the powdered one. Rub the turmeric stick against any rough surface, adding water at the same time to form a paste.

For unwanted hair

To get rid of hair on the body, mix turmeric powder with oil. Make a paste and apply it. If you want to use it on your face, mix it with besan. Use sesame oil to make a paste and apply it.

Turmeric fairness mask

Mix a little milk and a drop of honey in turmeric powder to form a paste and apply it to the face. Wash off after it dries.

Sun tan scrub

Mix besan with curd and a pinch of turmeric. Apply this on the hands, neck and feet. Keep it on for 15 minutes and remove it by rubbing it off gently. This can be a daily pre-bath treatment for removing a tan.

Javanese Lulur (coating of skin)

This spice and curd exfoliation and body polishing process has been practiced in the palaces of Central Java since the 17th century. Equivalent to our ubtan it is applied each day during the week before the wedding. The complete lulur includes a massage, a spice-wrapped and curd-coated body pack, and a blossom-filled bath.

Take a small bowl of favorite body oil, two tablespoon of rice powder, two teaspoons of turmeric, a teaspoon of sandalwood, three drops jasmine oil, two cups curd, a handful of a selection of fragrant flowers like rose, jasmine and mogra.

Grind together rice powder, turmeric and sandalwood. Massage your body with your favorite oil. Make the powder into a paste with a dash of water and smear onto your body. Once dry, gently rub the paste off the body in order to exfoliate and polish the skin.

Rinse your body and splatter with natural curd. After rinsing, soak in a warm, flower-filled bath.

Face masks

Mix raw turmeric with cold milk or fresh sour curd or tomato pulp to make a mask. You can also mix this with plain water.

Take a teaspoon of turmeric paste and mix it with milk cream, sandalwood paste and besan. Applied this daily, it keeps the face fresh and soft.

A pinch of turmeric powder mixed with the fresh juice of amaranth leaves bleaches the skin, prevents it from dryness and wrinkles and cures pimples.


Mix turmeric juice with milk and lemon juice to use as a toner. Delicately massage over the face and neck for half an hour and wash with lukewarm water every night before going to bed.

Pimple cure

A pinch of turmeric powder, mixed in a teaspoon of coriander (dhania) juice treats pimples, blackheads and dry skin. Apply it at night after washing your face.

Barley mask for dry skin

Mix together four parts of barley, three parts each of turmeric powder and coconut oil and apply them on your face for 30 minutes before washing off.


Take a teaspoon each of turmeric powder, milk cream, sandalwood powder and besan. Use it as a face wash once daily.

Dull complexion

Take a teaspoon of besan with a pinch of turmeric powder, a few drops of lemon juice and half a teaspoon each of olive oil and milk. Apply on your face and wash off.

Turmeric exfoliator

Mix half freshly grated young coconut with one-fourth teaspoon of turmeric powder or grated turmeric root and gently rub the mixture all over your body. Leave it on for five minutes before wiping it off with a wet, warm cloth.

Whitening lotion

Take a tablespoon of cucumber juice, stir in a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric powder. Mix well and apply over your face and neck. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash off.

For removing pimple marks

Take a teaspoon each of almond powder, potato juice, cucumber juice, lemon juice, and sandalwood powder, curd and rice powder. Make a paste of these ingredients and apply on affected areas. Let it dry then and wash it with cold water.

Body and facial scrub

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