Can Turmeric Benefit the Hair?

Turmeric, the golden spice responsible for curry's flavor and hue, has a reputation in Asian medicine dating back thousands of years. It's so widely used that in Sanskrit, it has 53 names. In addition to flavoring curry and mustard, it's been used in wound healing and to treat skin conditions, arthritis and rheumatism, among many other uses. Women in India use it both for the skin and the hair. Scientists have long studied the herb, and are finding curcumin, its active ingredient, promising for many uses, explains the Susan G. Komen website. But nothing substantial has been shown about it helping with hair loss or hair growth -- although it's been studied for both uses.

Turmeric has possible health benefits, but its effect on hair is unknown. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Hair Loss and Curry -- Jury's Still Out

A study published in the "Indian Journal of Dermatology" in 2007 examined female hospital workers who used turmeric for excessive hair growth and acne, and determined that it had no apparent effect on either problem. Meanwhile, though studies haven't concluded that curcumin helps with alopecia, an artificial compound has been cloned and is being examined -- and considered promising -- for its hair growth properties. If you especially like curry, it's worth investigating its health properties and enjoying it regularly, unless you're allergic, pregnant or breast-feeding, in which cases it's contraindicated.

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