Turmeric for Skin & Body

(See beauty recipe for acne treatment at the end of this article!)
“He ali’I ka Ma’I heali’I ke Kahuna”(Hawaiian ‘Olelo)

“The priest is a chief; the Kahuna is a chief” (Hawaiian ‘Olelo, translation)

‘Olena (Curcuma domestica), also known a turmeric is a magical medicine rich with mana. ‘Olena is an extremely powerful tool for La’au . It is used extensively in Hawaiian medicine as well as in many other herbal medicine traditions. Turmeric is widely in Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 Turmeric1year old medicine and is thought to be so vital to good health that there are very few Ayurveda formulas that do not contain it.

In traditional Hawaiian La’au it was used mainly to treat ear and sinus infections however, its uses are far more extensive. It is a powerful blood cleaner and may be used to boost the immune system, for skin disorders, to treat tuberculosis, bronchitis, colds, asthma, as a diuretic and is a powerful antibiotic with astringent properties. I have personally used it to treat clients with skin disorders. It is miraculous for treating psoriasis and acne.

In ancient Hawaii, ‘olena was used to dye kappa a brilliant yellow. It was also used by Kahuna in purification rituals for people, homes and items.

‘Olena grows in moist valleys up to 3,000 ft. Mature plants reach about 20in tall and have blade like leaves about 8in x 3in. ‘Olena grows best in shady areas.

olena-plant-picThe ‘olelo that I share with you speaks of a servant serving both the Kahuna and the patient. This servant was usually an apprentice and this is the traditional way one gains knowledge of la’au. This is the way of gaining knowledge in many forms of healing and in many plant medicine traditions. When one works as a healer, one is working as a servant to the Divine and as a servant to humanity. Maintaining a humble outlook, in my opinion, is the only way for true healing to happen because, ultimately, a healer is only a channel for God’s work. Pule (prayer) is very important and being conscious of the mana(life-force energy) and the power of the medicine as well as the needs of the patient assists the plant in giving its blessing to the patient.

In any form of traditional medicine making, the intention for healing and prayers are used during the entire time from collecting the plants to the medicine making procedure. This is an aspect of the subtle nature of the healing and as the medicine is created, the prayers are “sealed” into the formula and so, in theory that vibrational energy is transferred to the patient. One reason many pharma-(herbal) cuticles are not very potent is that this aspect has been lost. There is great healing when the plant is nurtured or harvested with respect and the intention of healing is transferred through prayers for a patient. I encourage all of my clients to grow a small herb garden even in an apartment. Small planters and sunlight are all that you really need as many herbs grow very easily.


Kori’s Masque for Acne Recipe:

  • One to two tbsp Turmeric extract (this can be extracted from a fresh root through a juicer or by grating and straining juice through cheese clothturmeric-facial-mask If fresh root is not available, organic powdered turmeric or a glycerin tincture may be substituted)
  • Five tbsp plain whole yogurt
  • One tbsp aluminum free baking soda
  • Five drops lavender pure essential oil

Apply masque to face for at least 10 minutes, three to five times per week. ‘Olena stains like crazy so don’t get it on towels or white clothes!

After you rinse the face, use a very small amount of coconut oil with a few drops of the ‘olena extract and a few drops of tea tree oil for a light moisturizer. Don’t worry about using the oil on your face even with acne, coconut oil is very anti-microbial and is amazing for healing the skin. It also gives a natural protection from the harmful rays of the sun which is very important when healing acne as too much sun exposure can lead to “staining” of the skin. This is a scar that leaves a dark pigment on the skin.


Kori Gaila