Anyone living an active lifestyle knows how valuable antiseptic ointment and bandaids can be.
Young families concur: cuts and scrapes are an inevitable part of life, and infection is a real threat.
While Polysporin and Neosporin might be convenient, they aren’t your safest options.
The Problem with Antibacterial Ointment
Antibacterial ointment is marketed as an essential tool for families and childcare workers. These products include Betadine, Dettol, Comvita, Hygex, Bepanthen and Medicreme.
But these products aren’t all roses. In fact, Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that these ointments may be one of the factors behind the spread of a deadly MRSA strain, called USA300, around the world (1).
The World Health Organization explains: “Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as ‘superbugs’… As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.”(2)
Most people believe that antimicrobial resistance affects people on an individual basis, making their bodies more prone to infection, but this simply isn’t true. In reality, antimicrobial resistance affects the bacteria themselves, causing them to become more resistant. This makes everyone on earth more vulnerable to these deadly infections, to which modern medicine is ineffective.
In addition, some people experience allergic reactions to the creams and ointments, which also contain petroleum products and other questionable ingredients (3).
Turmeric for Skin
Turmeric is best known as the colorful spice in curry. It’s also closely related to ginger, another medicinal root.
You can also use turmeric to treat minor wounds thanks to its antiseptic properties.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, treats chronic pain, inflammatory dermatoses, skin infections, acne, and dyspigmentation. In the case of wounds, the spice helps reduce muscle soreness after injury. It also speeds up wound closure, to reduce your risk of a serious infection (4).
Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties that are great for treating swelling and redness associated with common skin issues such as acne, rosacea, and blemishes. Cosmetically, the spice also prevents wrinkles and moisture loss (5).
Topical turmeric can also improve swelling, ringworms, bruises, leech bites, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, vitiligo, and sores (6). One study even found that turmeric products provided therapeutic benefits for skin health in the case of many of these conditions (7). It’s even been found to work more effectively as an anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative substance than aspirin and ibuprofen (8).
In contrast, these drugs, as well as corticosteroids (think Dexamethasone), which fight skin irritation, asthma, and arthritis, have serious side-effects.
Here are a few studies that have proven turmeric’s antibacterial properties:
A 2013 study discovered that turmeric paste can improve the healing time of burns and reduce pain throughout the healing process. In part, turmeric works by destroying the cellular membrane of harmful bacteria (9,10).
A 2015 study from the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that turmeric works against common infectious microorganisms, such as E. coli (bacterium), Staphylococcus aureus (bacterium), and Candida albicans (fungus). This makes the spice useful preservative for the food and cosmetic industry as well as healing spice for the booming natural health market (11).
Lastly, a 2014 article from the Journal of HerbMed Pharmacology found that the topical application of turmeric works effectively against fungal microorganisms (12). Hoards of other studies since supported the spice’s antimicrobial activity and antiseptic properties (13).
DIY Turmeric Antiseptic Ointment
Use this antiseptic cream for parasitic infections, as well as cuts, scrapes, and burns.
Before applying to your wound, test the cream on a small patch of skin a few inches away for at least one hour. This will make sure you don’t have any sensitivities or allergies to the ingredients in the cream.
- Turmeric powder (1 oz.)
- neem oil (2 oz.)
- coconut oil (1 oz.)
- freshly-squeezed lemon juice (1 oz.)
- tea tree oil (10 drops)
- Mix all of the ingredients in a small glass bowl until you obtain an even consistency.
- Store in a small airtight glass or tin container with a lid.
- To use, flush the area with water, pat dry with a clean towel and apply to your wound.
- Leave it on for at least 20 minutes, and apply 3-4 times a day. Just a warning though: turmeric will stain clothes/towels.
Turmeric is a multipurpose spice with plenty of applications, not just topical ones.
To help promote healing inside and out, add turmeric to your meals and drink golden milk daily. Turmeric also goes hand-in-hand with coconut oil and black pepper (which increase bioavailability) so add these ingredients too.
This turmeric antiseptic ointment is a great solution to prevent and heal minor infections. However, it may not always be enough. Other natural antiseptics include Manuka honey, rubbing alcohol, garlic, witch hazel, and much more.
However, if you experience a persistent fever, redness and pain that progressively extends beyond your wound, or a burning sensation, visit your doctor. It also goes without saying that deep cuts and large rashes will require urgent medical attention.