Val has been busy in The Healing Kitchen!
Val has been using Turmeric for many years and has written up some great health benefits along with some recipes for you to try at home. Enjoy!
For many years, we have been fascinated with ways to approach healing with nature through the use of plants, herbs, and when necessary, supplements. We try to find way of treating burns, cuts, coughs, colds and sports related aches and pains in the kitchen with teas, tinctures and foods rich in protective antioxidants.
Today, I would like to share with you my love of using turmeric for healing wounds or cuts, pain relief, inflammation, indigestion, heart and joint issues, and giving the brain health benefits. Seeing as we are coming into the beginning of fall, inevitably we are also faced with cold and flu season falling upon us as well. Turmeric has anti- microbial benefits that will face your colds or flu head on and help your body fight them.
Turmeric is well known as the spice that gives mustard and curries its golden hue. The root has a brownish skin and bright orange/yellow flesh with a mild scent of orange and ginger. Turmeric ‘Curcuma Longa’ is a member of the ginger family. It has been used as a healing herb in India and to some extent China for thousands of years. Researchers have discovered that the pigment in turmeric known as curcumin has powerful antioxidant properties which fight cell damage. It is believed that one of the causes of disease and aging is related to cellular damage caused by free radicals produced in the body. Simply put, free radicals are molecules that are highly reactive and attack healthy cells in their path. Increasing antioxidant rich foods protects cells from these invaders. Turmeric is an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B-6 and a good source of copper and potassium.
Researchers have found that compounds in turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial in easing arthritis, joint inflammation and carpal tunnel syndrome. Research has also shown benefit in fighting bacteria causing infectious diarrhea, gas, bloating and other mild gastrointestinal issues. Turmeric also helps with the clotting process in the body. If you happen to cut yourself while working in the kitchen, sprinkle turmeric powder or apply the root of the turmeric to the wound and wrap tightly with a cloth to help with clotting.
Personally, I have used therapeutic concentrates of turmeric’s orange pigment, Curcumin, for more serious pain associated with a mountain bike injury and once with a flu virus causing severe pain in my hands. The pain was alleviated very quickly with a dose of 400 mg 2-3 x per day without any negative side effects. The formulation I used was standardized to contain 95 % curcumin in the form of a capsule. In order to obtain this quantity from the spice you would need to consume 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of turmeric powder to obtain an effective dose of curcumin. Once the pain was effectively treated, I stopped taking the supplement.
Possible side effects of taking more than the recommended doses include: stomach upset. Cautions for people with gallbladder problems, pregnant or breastfeeding, have a blood clotting disorder, have history of stomach ulcers as high doses of curcumin may affect these conditions.
In test-tube studies (not performed on humans) curcumin may interfere in chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.
There are no other drug or nutrient interactions associated with turmeric unlike many medications.
One of my favorite home remedies for the fall and winter months is a soothing and healing tea I like to call my Cold Comfort Tea with fresh turmeric & ginger, lemon and honey. At the first sign of a sore throat, I mix up a large quantity and begin sipping. We are so fortunate to have access to fresh turmeric here in Ontario, but you may use dried turmeric or order fresh online.
I use dried turmeric to flavor and color rice and quinoa dishes, eggless egg salad, salad dressings, roasted cauliflower dishes, and bean and lentil dishes. When using herbs and spices, less is more when learning the art of flavoring food. You can always add extra to taste as it is more difficult to take away if you over do it. Following recipes can provide some comfort in knowing that your recipe has been tested for maximum flavor enhancement.
Use caution when handling turmeric as its pigment is a powerful dye used to color fabric and skin alike. Wear gloves when handling fresh turmeric to avoid orange fingers and hands. If you happen to stain counters and skin, quickly was with soap and water immediately.
Store dried turmeric powder in a tightly sealed container in a dark, cool and dry place. Fresh turmeric can be stored in the fridge to extend shelf life if not using all of it right away. I also like to freeze extra in a jar and when needed grate it into recipes from its frozen state.
Enjoy this wonderful warming spice knowing you are adding health benefits while enjoying its delicious flavors.
Here are a few recipes I use throughout the year, but they are really nice once the cold weather hits. Enjoy.
Cold Comfort Tea with Turmeric, Ginger, & Honey
8 slices of fresh ginger, sliced ¼ inch thick
8 cups filtered water
1 tsp dried turmeric
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp raw honey
fresh lemon slices to garnish
In a large pot on high heat, bring ginger and water to boil. Reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large teapot and add turmeric and lemon juice. Let cool for 5 minutes before adding honey and mix well. Pour into a cup and add fresh lemon slice. Adjust sweetness according to your own taste. Enjoy!
Turmeric Tea Paste with Raw Honey
Yields 1 cup paste=48 servings
1 cup raw unpasteurized honey
8 tsp turmeric powder
*freshly ground pepper
fresh lemon juice
boiling water OR warm almond milk
½ tsp coconut oil, almond oil or coconut milk
*Pepper contains piperine a natural substance that enhances absorption of curcumin by an estimated 2000 %. Yes, you read that correctly! Piperine is also known as a natural insecticide. Another name for piperine is bioperine which is found in high quality herbal supplements.
In a small clean mason jar, mix honey with dried turmeric to form a paste. This can be stored indefinitely in a cool dark cupboard.
Place a heaping teaspoon of the paste into a mug and pour hot almond milk or water (not boiling) and stir until paste is dissolved. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, pinch ground pepper, and a drizzle of coconut or almond oil.
Val made this soothing cup of love yesterday. I wish I was there to taste it!
Soothing Turmeric Almond Milk
4 cups Almond Milk
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp raw honey
In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, combine almond milk, turmeric and ginger.
Warm, do not boil, then remove from heat, stir in honey and serve.