How is Turmeric CO2 extract different to Turmeric essential oil? There are certainly some similarities but also some differences. Let’s take a look.
Common to both
Name: Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Description: A perennial tropical herb with a thick, deep orange rhizome root, and lanceolate leaves. It grows to around 1 meter in height and is native to southern Asia. The part of the plant used for producing the aromatics is the cured (boiled, cleaned and sun-dried) and polished rhizome. With up to 94% of the world’s annual production of this aromatic being produced in India, most of the essential oil, and CO2 extract, available on the market today comes from here.
History/Folklore: Turmeric has been used as an aromatic spice in food and medicine for thousands of years. The cultivation and trade of Turmeric spread across most of Asia and by around 800 AD this included China, as well as much of Africa, and by the 18th Century it had spread to Jamaica and other tropical locations. Before it was commonly used as a spice for food, it was used to as a natural dye for skin and clothing and as medicine. Because of its strong orange-yellow colour, it is often referred to as “Indian Saffron”.
Turmeric is also used in religious ceremonies. For instance, its dried tubers are tied together and incorporated into several different wedding ceremonies, either as a necklace or to symbolically tie the couple together.
In Ayurvedic medicine it has been used as an all-round internal cleanser, as well as a digestive and urinary tonic.
Method of Extraction
CO2 : Carbon dioxide as the `solvent` to extract the viscous liquid from the cured rhizomes. Yield around 22 Kg dried root stock to produce 1 Kg.
Essential Oil: The essential oil is steam distilled from the cured and crushed rhizomes with a yield of around 0.3-7.2%.
Colour and Appearance
CO2: A deep golden, clear or slightly turbid liquid. (Kerkhof)
Essential Oil: Yellow to brown and slightly fluorescent. (Burfield)
CO2: Characteristic, mildly spicy. (Kerkhof)
Essential Oil: A gingery-spicy, woody, warm aroma, with a dry-down that is woody, spicy and almost animal-like. (Burfield)
CO2: Ketones up to 71%( α and β tumerone and ar-tumerone) and Sesquiterpenes. (Kerkhof)
Essential Oil: Ketones 40 – 60%( turmerones), Sesquiterpenes up to 25% (zingiberene and curcumene). (Tisserand and Young)
CO2: Caution on damaged skin. (Kerkhof)
Essential Oil: Hazards: None known. Contraindications: None known. Cautions when taken orally with diabetes medication. (Tisserand and Young) The ketone “tumerone” is moderately toxic and irritant in high concentration. Possible sensitization problems. Use with moderation and care (Lawless)
Indications for Use
CO2: Highly anti-inflammatory. Respiratory support; fungal skin infections; rheumatic pains and inflammations; antiseptic mouth products. (Kerkhof)
Essential Oil: Arthritis, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism; anorexia, sluggish digestion and liver congestion (Lawless)
Emotional and Spiritual Conditions
Turmeric is gently grounding, particularly helpful in centering scattered energy. Using it when there is a need to strengthen inner confidence, or when one needs resolve to take action can be very helpful. Use Turmeric to calm anger and other fiery emotions. Consider adding it to your blend to soothe mental stress.
References Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol I-V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Madeline Kerkhof, CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy, 2018 Leung and Foster, Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, 1996 Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017 Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014