5 Ways To Use Turmeric (That You Probably Haven’t Considered)

You might be sipping on a turmeric latte right now, but toothpaste and tie-dye? Here are some turmeric uses you haven’t heard of before.

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Turmeric is the new golden child of the food world. Traditionally used to season the curries of South and Southeast Asia, this luxuriously hued and scented spice has started to enrich menus—and healthcare regimens—in the West. A relative of ginger, turmeric is loaded with curcumin, an antioxidant with promising anti-inflammatory powers. An especially popular application of late has been in golden milk, a warming, turmeric-infused drink long known by Ayurvedic healers and more recently embraced by Instagramming baristas.   But savory curries and gilded lattes are only the beginning of this super-spice’s diverse applications. Here are some “bright” ideas to inspire more turmeric use in your life.

1. Spice up your morning scramble with a pinch of turmeric.

It may seem exotic, but that doesn’t mean turmeric can’t be easy. The next time you’re scrambling some eggs, add a little turmeric to your oil (a half teaspoon should do) and finish them off with an extra pinch on top. Consider cracking some fresh pepper, too, as it helps your body absorb turmeric’s star chemical, curcumin. Sprinkle a little turmeric on fresh avocado for a simple but sophisticated snack—or double down on your superfoods by slathering on some delicious turmeric-topped mash to make delicious avo toast.   Turmeric also likes roasted veggies. The spice will add depth—and color—to cauliflower and potatoes. Toss in some Brussels sprouts and make a clean, healthy dinner out of it. A tablespoon of the spice usually suits a batch, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will zest up the turmeric’s earthy undertones.

2. Mix up your gin and tonic with a splash of turmeric syrup.

Move over, cucumber and pepper. Up your G&T game with a few ounces of turmeric syrup. The mixology mavens at Stir and Strain suggest the Southall Tonic—and it ain’t your grandma’s cocktail. This concoction involves a tea tincture, orange flower water, and turmeric syrup for a vivid twist on the classic. For the turmeric syrup, you’ll cook down one cup of water and one cup of sugar with a half cup of chopped turmeric root, which you can pick up at an organic food market or international grocer.   The turmeric brings a savory warmth, making the more summery G&T an exciting and unexpected treat in the winter. It’ll also bring the conversation—and compliments—at your next cocktail party. Even if you skip out on the tea tincture and orange flower water, you’ll still wow your guests. I mean, how can you not sound impressive when you say, “Oh, this? It’s just a little turmeric syrup I put together.”

3. Turmeric can soup up your broth.

Okay, so maybe you overdid it on the turmeric cocktails last night. Well, turmeric has a solution for that, too. Wellness Mama offers a quick, comforting turmeric broth to help you detox. She combines four cups of broth with garlic, apple cider vinegar, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper, and, yes, turmeric. You can use turmeric powder, but since you probably have some left over from your cocktails, consider grating fresh turmeric root for a more potent elixir. Not wholesome enough for you? Strengthen your joints by making a turmeric bone broth instead. Gather up some beef knuckles and neck bones—you have those handy, right?—and let them simmer in a bath of turmeric-spiced carrots, onions, and celery. You can drink it straight or use it a base for soups and stews.  

4. Brighten up your skin and teeth with turmeric.

Nothing quite says “spa day” like turmeric, now does it? Turmeric is beneficial not only in your body but also on it. Whip together some yogurt and honey with a bit of turmeric (try not to eat it all of it—you need some for the treatment!) and make your own turmeric face mask. Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the turmeric can rejuvenate your skin and maybe even help reduce acne.   You don’t need all that much of any ingredient to create a paste. One tablespoon or so of yogurt and about a half teaspoon of turmeric powder and honey should do. Slather it on and let it sit for about 15 minutes—you might even pretend to be your favorite emoji or Simpsons character while it’s on. Don’t worry: It won’t stain your face, though it may take a few rinses to wash off the yellow. Do be mindful of your clothes, towels, and linens, as the turmeric will leave its mark on them. Turmeric is also a natural alternative to teeth whiteners. Dip a moist toothbrush in an eighth of a teaspoon of turmeric and leave it on your teeth for up to five minutes. Yes, the taste will be intense and your yellowed mouth might be a little scary looking, but the turmeric will help brighten up your smile. Use turmeric on your teeth in moderation, though—and make that toothbrush your designated turmeric application device. And if you want to get really creative, try making your own turmeric soap. The marigold-colored bars will perfume your bathroom and pamper your skin. The Soap Queen provides an easy melt-and-pour recipe. The soap could even make for a very original gift idea.

5. Turmeric is the new black.

Turmeric can leave a big mess behind, but crafts can turn turmeric-stained items into real things of beauty. The most prominent feature of turmeric, after all, is its rich yellow–orange color. Turmeric has long been used in foods and medicine, but it has also been used as dye. Buddhists monks, in fact, dyed their vibrant robes with turmeric—which might just give you some DIY inspiration. Harness turmeric to dye your own tablecloth or pillow cases. Remodelista shows how easily you can turn plain, natural cloth into very elegant decor. Consider wearing your turmeric, too, by dyeing a scarf. You’ll need a fair amount of turmeric powder—up to half a cup—for these projects. But you should have plenty of the stuff around, considering how much you’ll be eating, drinking, and lathering all over your body.