My in laws have a custom of washing the infant with Turmeric powder rather than any soap.

Should an infant be washed with turmeric powder? Any side effects?

How long duration can this be prolonged?

  • Are you sure it's not talcum powder?
    – Ana
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 18:20
  • @Ana I am from India. No it is not talcum powder. Fresh turmeric is ground and then the baby is bathed with its powder instead of soap. Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


Turmeric is a common ingredient in ayurvedic medicine, taken both internally and externally. In a bath or used in massage, it is said to help with skin conditions (including diaper rash), pigment issues, and excess hair. It is considered by some as a gentler alternative to soap for sensitive skin, though some types of turmeric are considered too harsh for a baby's skin. Turmeric is thought to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. While you should consult your pediatrician rather than take advice from the Internet, you might be interested to read Anne McIntyre's Herbal Treatment Of Children: Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives. Anne has a contact button on her website, and she may be able to address your concerns directly.

I have searched Gale Health, Ebsco Health and Medline databases, and the research I am finding on turmeric is generally regarding internal use. There was one study done in Bangladesh in 2008 concerning infant mortality rates that noted that umbilical stumps were commonly treated with a variety of substances, including ginger and turmeric, and the finding was that this can be unhygienic.


Alam, M., Ali, N., Sultana, N., Mullany, L., Teela, K., Khan, N., & ... Winch, P. (2008). Newborn umbilical cord and skin care in Sylhet District, Bangladesh: implications for the promotion of umbilical cord cleansing with topical chlorhexidine. Journal Of Perinatology, 28S61-S68. doi:10.1038/jp.2008.164

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