I was excited today. I found some fresh turmeric in a fruit and vegetable shop! It can be hard to source here. I’ve even tried growing it – without success.
Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years. It is a major part of Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, and traditional Chinese medicine. First used as a dye, it later became highly regarded for its medicinal properties.
It is of course one of the main spices in a good curry. The so called Liquid Gold, a tea made from turmeric, is said to be good for you in oh so many ways! And a turmeric facial mask is fabulous for the skin.
What’s so good about it?6.235 peer-reviewed articles have been published proving its benefits and that of one of its renowned healing compounds- curcumin. That places it on the top of the list for the most frequently mentioned herbs in all of science, as well as being the next most popular herb to be studied along with garlic, cinnamon, ginger, ginseng and milk thistle.
What’s the most interesting finding? When turmeric is compared to conventional medicine its benefits equal many pharmaceutical medications. Some report that it is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.
The 5,000 year old Indian natural healing system – Ayurveda – has used it for centuries as fresh juice, tinctures, powder, creams, lotions, pastes and ointments. Here’s just a few examples:
- milk boiled with turmeric and sugar as a cold remedy
- turmeric juice to help heal wounds, bruises, leech bites
- turmeric paste, lime and salt applied to strains and inflamed joints
- turmeric fumes inhaled to relieve congestion and release mucous
- The classic way to apply turmeric topically is as an “Ubtan”: a blend of turmeric, chick-pea flour, sesame or almond oil, a little fresh cream and honey. This will clear up skin blemishes, and increase the natural glow and radiance of the skin.
I was introduced to the magic of turmeric in facials by some Indian doctors at work many years ago. Worried that my face would end up permanently stained yellow I tried it on a long weekend. I hoped the extra day off may be needed to restore my skin back to its normal colour. I scrubbed it off with chick pea flour giving my face more of vigorous a scrub than was maybe necessary. To my relief it didn’t turn yellow. What it did do was leave my face feeling satiny smooth.
Turmeric has hundreds of molecular constituents. Twenty or more are antibiotic, twelve are anti-inflammatory, at least ten have different anti-oxidants to name just a few. Turmeric/curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. I witnessed this first hand when a friend with severe psoriasis used it on his arms. It worked like magic to reduce the itching, pain, inflammation and redness of his skin.
In India , turmeric is considered the standard anti-inflammatory, and yogis use it to help keep their tendons and ligaments free from injury and to assist in their asana practice. In the same way, it minimizes pain and inflammation related to any kind of exercise or strenuous activity.
But be warned. Whether powdered or fresh it stains everything a bri ght yellow! When I peel and slice the fresh stuff, I wear plastic gloves. And even then some of it gets through to my fingers.
I blitz it into a paste in the Thermomix with olive oil and keep it in the fridge. It keeps well. I guess you could freeze it into ice cube trays and grab a cube at a time.
Here’s a few versions of the magical Golden Liquid if you want to try it:
- Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. …
- Do Ahead. Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead.
- Boil 3 to 4 cups of water on the stove.
- Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric and stir.
- Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea into another container.
- Add in honey, fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice, and milk to taste
According to a study, published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2000mg Turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of Turmeric 154 percent!
© Raili Tanska