The wonder plant we love: turmeric!
By Sarajean Rudman
The bright yellow herbaceous perennial known as turmeric, originally from South India, has America enamored with its oft-trumpeted health benefits. Lately, it’s been hailed for its ability to prevent anything from the common cold to cancer. Harvested mainly for its rhizomes, or roots, turmeric is closely related to ginger, another herbal powerhouse for health.
You can find turmeric in the spice aisle at your local grocer, or in the supplement section at your local pharmacy. But the best way to reap the long-term benefits of this “farm-acological” miracle herb (unless you’re directed by a medical professional to consume a medicinal dose) is to consume it every day in foods or teas. The qualities of turmeric, in Ayurvedic terms, are hot, light and dry, and it has a bitter taste. It’s an anti-inflammatory, a blood tonic, an emmenagogue (stimulates blood flow) and a carminative (relieves gas). It promotes ovulation in women, is great for the skin and is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. It’s also a blood thinner and blood detoxifier, and it will aid in eliminating worms or parasites. And it’s a pain-killer that also speeds up the healing of wounds. Turmeric has been shown to help in recovery from chemotherapy, it may help prevent specific types of cancer, and it can ease the effects of psoriasis and arthritis. Go ahead, jump on the turmeric train!
1. Golden Milk.
Bring to a boil 2 cups of milk or unsweetened almond milk with 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric and 1 teaspoon powdered ginger. Turn off heat, let cool for a few minutes, and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. If you’re drinking it before bed, add ½ teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom to the mixture to promote a good night’s sleep. Optional: Add 2 teaspoons of good-quality coconut oil.
2. Cold Buster.
Mix 1 part powdered turmeric with 3 parts agave. When you feel a cold coming on, eat a teaspoon of the mixture every 2 hours to boost immunity and lower inflammation.
3. Soup It Up.
Add a tablespoon of powdered turmeric to your vegetable soup, along with lots of fresh oregano, to kill any infections or viruses that may be hanging on in your body.
4. Mellow Yellow.
Sprinkle turmeric into your scrambled vegan eggs. The taste is mild and the vegan eggs are already yellow, so it will go undetected if you are trying to get kids to eat it.
5. Turmeric Tea.
Dissolve 2 teaspoons powdered turmeric in 2 cups boiling water, and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, the juice of a lemon wedge and a sprinkle of black pepper.
6. Shake It Up.
Put equal parts turmeric, coriander and cumin in a salt shaker on your table, and sprinkle it on everything!
Sarajean Rudman is a 500-hour Kripalu-trained yoga teacher and a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda Health Counselor program.