Turmeric is a celebrated herbal remedy in the traditional healing cultures of China, and especially India, where its therapeutic benefits are cited in ancient Ayurvedic and Unani texts.
Turmeric root is harvested from a tropical plant native to India but now cultivated in Indonesia, China, Japan, and parts of Africa. In fact, this member of the Ginger family is called Jiang Huang, which means “yellow ginger” in Chinese. But make no mistake about it, the culinary root that gives both curry and yellow mustard their signature color is more than just a kitchen spice!
Every day it seems modern science is discovering “new” therapeutic benefits of ancient spices such as Cinnamon, Ginger, and Rosemary. Turmeric and its major plant compounds, primarily Curcumin, are the subject of well over 100 laboratory and clinical studies! And for an herb in use for more than 4,000 years, the list of benefits is extensive, to say the least. Research indicates Curcumin supports healthy inflammatory response, provides powerful antioxidant support, and has heart-protecting properties.
Here in the West, Turmeric is used primarily to:
- Promote joint comfort and flexibility
Turmeric helps you stay on track with your busy life as it effectively eases minor joint discomforts.
- Act as a protective liver tonic
Turmeric is classified as a liver cooler and as a regenerative liver tonic much like Milk Thistle.
- Support healthy digestion
The aromatic root does wonders for gas, bloating, and other digestive complaints. Turmeric also promotes bile flow, which helps the body to digest fats.
As a note of caution, Turmeric is not to be used during pregnancy or by persons with bile duct obstruction and gall stones.
Top Ways to Use Turmeric
There are as many ways to use Turmeric as there are benefits, but here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate this super spice in a daily routine:
1. Golden Milk
This comforting, creamy concoction blends the golden spice with milk and honey. Golden Milk is a delightfully delicious way to get your daily dose of Turmeric and is the ideal end-of-day drink. For a non-dairy version replace regular milk with a nut milk like Almond, Coconut, Hemp or Cashew.
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp or less of ground black pepper
- Honey or sweetener of your choice
Heat all ingredients (except honey) together in a small saucepan and allow to simmer (not boil) for at least 5-7 minutes. Strain, add the sweetener and enjoy.
2. Turmeric Iced Tea
Here’s a cool and refreshing take on Turmeric. We featured this tasty spiced drink at the Penn Herb Health Fair and our customers absolutely loved it. Now here’s your turn to wow your friends and family at your next dining event (incidentally see our Herb Tea Guide for more cool recipes).
Turmeric-Cinnamon Iced Tea
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 lemon rough chopped with rind
- 3 tbsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp Black Pepper powder
- 2 tbsp Maple Syrup (more or less to taste)
Add all of the above-listed ingredients in a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain into a glass jar. Chill overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy!
3. Turmeric Smoothie
Fellow blogger Luis Lemongrass ups his morning smoothie game with this salubrious and very filling blend.
Turmeric Power Smoothie
(Makes 1 cup)
- 1 cup Cashew milk
- 2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Almond extract
- 1/4 cup Oatmeal
- 1 tbsp Peanut butter
- 1 ripened banana
Blend all ingredients together until it’s creamy and smooth. Enjoy, then go forth and conquer!
4. Turmeric Honey
Definitely one of the tastiest ways to try Turmeric, plus it’s super simple to make.
Mix into a creamy paste and store in a glass container at room temperature. You can then add 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a cup of warm water for a tasty Turmeric tea; use to sweeten other herbal teas, or simply take it by the spoonful as a daily antioxidant tonic.
5. Turmeric Essential Oil
The precious oil steam distilled from the cured Turmeric root imparts the joint-soothing, skincare benefits of the whole herb. The spicy, woodsy scent pairs well with Ginger, Ylang Ylang, and other citrus oils to make your own custom massage oil blend.
Add 2-5 drops Turmeric root essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil such as Jojoba or Coconut oil, or 6-15 drops essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier oil. Vary according to your preference. I would start with the lowest amount since you really only need 1-2 drops of Turmeric root essential oil.
Caution: Do a spot test first as it may cause irritation to sensitive skin.
What’s on the bright horizon for this ancient healing spice? Its timeless benefits are still being discovered.