Turmeric (or Curcuma longa) comes from the ginger family and is native to tropical South Asia. Turmeric is a culinary spice used in Indian, Thai, Persian, and Malay dishes, and is used as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It’s been an important part of Ayurvedic medicine in India. My interest in turmeric began years ago when people around me started getting cancer. It’s such an ugly word (I hate that it’s the same name as my astrological sign). I started to actively do research on alternative ways to possibly treat and prevent cancer. Turmeric kept popping up in my research. I’ve always been a cynical, analytical person that asks a lot of questions. Every doctor I’ve had said I was by far one of their most amusing patients, asking them a million questions, even as they attempted to slide out the door when the time was up. But after reading the research on turmeric’s disease-preventative and anti-inflammatory benefits, I thought I’d bring this spice into my life.
Some of the benefits I read about include: ability to possibly prevent or slow Alzheimer’s disease (to note, India has one of the lowest known cases of Alzheimer’s disease), provide relief for people suffering from arthritis and other inflammatory pain, may slow growth of certain tumors, may reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugars, reduce bronchial asthma, and promote wound healing (used as an antiseptic for cuts and burns in South Asia). For more information on turmeric’s benefits, read 20 Health Benefits of Turmeric and Three Reasons to Eat Turmeric. These are just summaries; there’s a ton of reading material on this out there.
You can find a lot of recipes that incorporate turmeric (we use it whenever we make our curry dishes at home), but the way we use this spice the most is the way the Okinawans do it – in tea (note, Okinawans have one of the longest life spans in the world).We like to look for ways to simplify our lives and consuming turmeric in tea form is easier, less costly, and less time consuming for us than in any other way.
This is the simple turmeric recipe we created: after you’ve boiled your hot water and poured it into your mug, just put about two dashes of ground turmeric into the water, put about four or five dashes of cinnamon, add one large spoonful of honey, and stir well. Things to remember – you’ll want to add more cinnamon and honey than turmeric because turmeric has that sort of medicinal taste and the sweetness is necessary to balance that taste. Plus, honey, and especially cinnamon, have health benefits as well. You’ll want to keep a spoon next to your mug because the turmeric and cinnamon will coagulate and you’ll need to keep stirring as you drink.
The tea’s not as scary as it sounds. Since I was a child, I’ve utterly despised the taste of medicine, and this tea actually works for me. But like with a lot of things, there’s precautions. It’s been said that people with gallstones, blood-clotting disorders, and women who are pregnant should be cautious of this spice. So do your own research and talk to your go-to health person first.
And beware of spilling this spice – it stains. I bought my mom turmeric in hopes she too could start incorporating this into her life. The result – after the first try, she said she would never use it again since it turned her dentures bright yellow. So cinnamon will have to do for her.