Turmeric: The Golden Spice of Life
BY GUEST BLOGER – Zoe Martin
Thursday’s podcast introduced us to turmeric: arguably, one of the most powerful herbs at our disposal. Though featured heavily in eastern cuisine, you don’t need to be a whizz in the kitchen to reap the health benefits that turmeric has to offer.
With its vivid orangey-yellow hue, I like to think of turmeric as a magical, golden substance. Yes, that’s right – I did say magical; it has so many properties that it could easily be deemed as an elixir of sorts. What’s more, this humble-yet-hearty-herb is easily obtained from most major supermarkets, grocery and health food stores or online. Many of you may even have a jar of turmeric lurking in your store cupboard, but had yet to learn of its potential to your well-being.
The active component in turmeric is curcumin, which lends to its bright colour. In fact, turmeric is not only used for culinary, preservative and medicinal purposes, but as a dye for fabric in eastern cultures. Topical use is also commonplace – either as a skin enhancement or healing ointment. Turmeric has been recognised as a health-giving herb since approximately 1900BC, and shown to exhibit powerful anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and even anti-cancer properties. Thus, it has the potential to help treat/reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases and maladies.
Here are just some of its reported uses:
- Helps to maintain healthy function of the heart and circulatory system
- Assists breathing/the respiratory organs
- Supports brain and nerve health
- Facilitates the immune system
- Can aid in normalising blood glucose levels
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Bolsters liver function
- Helps to sustain joint movement and flexibility
- Encourages wound healing and helps to prevent/fight infection
- Aids a restful sleep
- Can enhance mental clarity/focus and elevate mood
Echoing Robert’s words of wisdom, I would advise that you opt for quality over quantity (as with most things in life) and source the highest grade of turmeric you can find – organic, if possible. Yes, where your health is concerned, you’ll want to invest in the best.
Some time ago, I was lucky enough to cross paths with a Sikh meditation expert; he was also a practitioner and teacher of Ayurvedic medicine and had drank golden milk – a turmeric-based drink – since childhood. He explained to me that turmeric was renowned for its balancing, purifying effects on the circulatory system, and protection of the pulmonary organs (most notably the lungs). Furthermore, it’s believed that this potent herb – dubbed the golden goddess – can enhance just about every system and biological process in the body. This isn’t just fluff, either; turmeric has been the subject of extensive research with results to back its efficacy.
Turmeric has been used for centuries to help ward off certain ailments! It’s incredibly versatile; you can incorporate it into your lifestyle in a few ways. It can be supplemented in capsule/tablet format, or as a tincture (you can add these drops to a glass of water, or under the tongue).
In India, drinking golden milk is a traditional home remedy that’s ritualised before bedtime. This is a wonderful way to factor turmeric into your day. What with it being October, it’s warming, soothing and befitting to the autumn/fall (unless it’s hot where you reside, in which case, I hope you understood my sentiment! You could try chilled golden milk). Closely related to the ginger plant, turmeric has a woody, earthy flavour; its slight bitterness is almost non-detectable with this recipe.
Turmeric paste can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a fortnight. Use it daily and watch the magic of the spice of life unfold! Beware that it will stain everything – including your fingers, worktops, sofa… your children and the dog!
- 3oz/100g of quality, organic turmeric powder
- 7 fl.oz/200ml of filtered or spring water (not tap water)
- 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper*
*Black pepper contains bioperine which greatly enhances the absorption of curcumin. This step is vital!
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer over a gentle heat, stirring constantly for about 5-10 minutes. You should end up with a thick, smooth paste (add more water if needed).
- 1 cup/200ml of almond, hemp or coconut milk
- 1-3 tsps. of turmeric paste (depending on preferred strength)
- 1 tsp of organic, extra virgin coconut oil
- A few drops of pure, liquid stevia (or a pinch of green stevia leaf powder) to taste, or a little local honey
- ½ tsp each of ground cinnamon, grated fresh ginger and nutmeg*
*Optional, but highly recommended!
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the paste is dissolved. The liquid should be hot (but not boiling) and silky.
- Strain if needed and pour into a mug; finish with an extra pinch of cinnamon and dose of positivity!