Known botanically as “Curcuma longa,” turmeric is a marigold-colored pungent powder that is derived from a shrub related to the ginger family. Commonly used in Indian cooking, turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is full of antioxidants. Ayurvedic practitioners use turmeric to cleanse the body. It is used to treat infection, jaundice, fever, arthritis and digestive conditions. The herb form of turmeric has also been used to treat liver conditions and to prevent tumors and lower your "bad" cholesterol. When mixed with oil, yogurt or curd, turmeric can help reduce stretch marks.
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Treating Stretch Marks
Dr. Bounleua Oudavong, Deputy Director of the Mother and Child Health Hospital in Laos, says that turmeric is a medicinal plant that has been used by women in rural regions to preserve their beauty, according to Lao Voices. While several expensive modern products can help to treat stomach scars, or stretch marks, turmeric is not only readily available but also affordable. Oudavong recommends that women crush the tumeric into small chunks, mix it with water, apply it to stretch marks in the morning and at night, and continue this regimen until the marks fade away.
Other Tumeric Treatments
Turmeric can be mixed with various oils, creams and substances to create a paste for treatment of stretch marks. For example, you can mix turmeric with clotted cream or curd. Apply this paste to your waist and stomach before taking a bath. Allow the treatment to soak into the stretch marks for 15 to 30 minutes and then wash it off. Mix turmeric with yogurt, buttermilk or coconut oil to achieve the same results. Extracts of turmeric can also be used to lighten the marks. Apply a mixture of turmeric, lemon juice and saffron to reduce the light-to-dark contrast of the scars on your stomach. Turmeric treatments should be used daily and massaged gently into your skin until your stretch marks either fade or disappear. The earlier you treat your stretch marks, the easier it is to eliminate them.
The Active Ingredient
A team of researchers led by Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy at the University of Michigan have found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, penetrates cell membranes, according to SikhNet. Once inside the cell, Sikhnet describes curcumin as functioning like a disciplinarian, establishing order within the cell and enabling the cell to control the flow of information. However, the curcumin does not interact with proteins in the cell membrane. It alters the physical properties of the membrane, which affects the regulation of membrane proteins. By doing so, turmeric boosts the cell’s resistance to malignancy and infection.
Once stretch marks have formed, it is very difficult to remove them entirely. Natural extracts, such as turmeric, lemon and apricot, available in the form of creams, can be massaged into your stomach to help maintain your skin’s elasticity. Treatment should be started prior to giving birth. Apply the cream in regular pre-bath massages of your breasts and abdomen as a preventive measure.