We are all familiar with turmeric. In fact, most of us have a small jar of turmeric powder somewhere in our spice cupboards. Turmeric root (Curcuma longa) originates in India and is known for the beautiful golden color it adds to Indian curries and sauces. The name for turmeric in the Hindi language is haldi, which is the same word used for the color yellow. However, it is well known in India that turmeric has much more to offer us than it’s appealing color and flavor.
This golden root of the same plant family as ginger (zingiberaceae) is used in cooking, as a dietary supplement , and even as a topical application for wound healing and beautification.
Curcumin, the active constituent contained in the turmeric root is now widely available in a standardized extract form. Substantial research has proved curcumin to be an effective anti-inflammatory, especially when combined with piperine, the active compound in black pepper.
Standardized extracts are a concentrated form of the active constituent of a medicinal plant. Turmeric standardized extract has recently gained popularity for its incredible anti-inflammatory action. Turmeric has a particular affinity with the blood and circulation, and is thereby able to distribute its healing benefits throughout the body.
Due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is beneficial for dozens of diseases and symptoms including; sprains, swelling, joint pain, inflammation of the skin, pain associated with lyme disease, menstrual cramps, allergies, ulcerative colitis, recovery after surgery, inflammation in the mouth and/or esophagus from radiation treatment, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammation of the eye, and acne.
Turmeric also appears to exert positive effects on liver function and improves liver detoxification. This action on the liver makes turmeric beneficial for hepatitis, jaundice, stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, constipation, insufficient digestion of fats and proteins, acne and skin breakouts, eczema, fatigue, and liver damage due to long term alcohol consumption.
External application of turmeric root is a valuable remedy as a result of it’s combination of anti bacterial and anti inflammatory actions. It is used for cuts and scrapes, infected wounds, ringworm, boils, eye infections, as a mouthwash for soreness of the mouth and gum disease, and as a facial for to promote radiant skin (those with fair skin use caution).
How to take turmeric
If you have a taste for curry, cook turmeric into your meals! Curcumin is fat soluble, so add turmeric powder to your dish as you add your cooking oil, and don’t forget to add your black pepper!
Curried Cauliflower Recipe:
1 small head cauliflower
2 TBSP ghee or coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
2 TBSP shredded coconut
1/4 cup water
salt to taste
Wash and chop the cauliflower into 1″ pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium temperature. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add black pepper and turmeric, then add cilantro and coconut. Lightly brown the coconut, then add cauliflower, water, and salt. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Serve with rice.
Fresh turmeric can be juiced! If fresh turmeric is available at your local grocer, try this incredibly healthy juice recipe!
The Golden Hour Juice Recipe
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric root
5 large carrots
3 stalks celery
Run all ingredients through juicer beginning with turmeric. Pour, drink, and enjoy!
Ayurvedic Turmeric Milk
Simmering turmeric powder in milk is an ancient ayurvedic recipe. Great for children, before bedtime, or for breakfast on cold mornings.
Heat 1 cup of organic milk on your stove top. Stir in 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cardamom, and a pinch of black pepper (optional). Sweeten with honey (once the milk is removed from heat) or sugar.
Turmeric tincture (alcohol extract) is a great choice for those with busy schedules. Available in convenient 1 oz bottles for convenience. Also, look into spagyrics. Spagyrics are whole plant extracts containing the tincture, essential oil, and mineral salts of the plant. The serving size is 1 drop, so it’s convenient to take with you to work, the gym, or for travel.
Check out this scientific study on turmeric http://www.eprints.iicb.res.in/1061/1/25_CS_2004.pdf
*As always, consult your licensed healthcare physician before taking herbal products.