Not all supplements were created equal; some are in a league of their own with their holistic healing properties. Initially it was matcha, spirulina and baobab that stood out in front - however, with Ayurveda principles becoming more mainstream, turmeric has been stepping into the spotlight as the new flavour of the month - and it's no wonder why.
Originating in South-East India this bright yellow spice comes from the rhizome (roots, to you and I) of a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant and calls ginger its less exotic younger sister. While it may be a growing trend amongst wholefoods fans and fitness foodies, the wonders of turmeric are far from a recent discovery. Indeed ancient civilizations were quite literally thousands of years ahead of us and had been boiling, brewing and bashing this sunny spice into their diets for centuries.
“Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4000 years and in China from 700 AD,” says Naturopathic Iridologist and Herbalist, Rachel Boardman . “It has many names in Sanskrit, but mainly it is known as Haldi in Northern India, which translates as ‘drawing attention to its bright colour’.” And draw attention it does with it’s well documented ability to aid a variety of human ailments.
The brains behind turmerics success is curcumin - the rich anti-oxidant compound that gives this spice its intense fiery shade and its powerful biological properties. Most notably these include turmerics ability to be used as both an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial substance. “In Western herbalism as well as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory for those suffering arthritic conditions,” says Rachel - (a recent study showed that it’s anti-inflammatory properties are so strong that turmeric extract supplements worked just as well as ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis).
A dose of the yellow stuff can also be used also as “a remedy for digestive and liver disorders, while its microbial properties lend itself to working well as a wound healer and a blood purifier for skin diseases,” says Rachel. In fact, turmerics potential medicinal reach is held in such high esteem that it’s currently being used in a number of clinical trials to test its efficacy against severe human illnesses, including alzheimer's, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
So, with the evidence irrefutable and a flavour that’s pretty darn delicious, here are Rachel’s eight different ways to use or eat turmeric to ensure you’re getting your hit of this one spoonful heals all spice.
1. A super smoothie
For a get up and go boost in the morning, blend together:
- Half an avocado
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup of berries
- 0.5 teaspoon of Turmeric
- 0.5 teaspoon of Ginger
- 1 tablespoon of flax oil
2. A tasty tincture
A preparation of alcohol & herb in a cup - a simple shot that does the world of good. Simply mix 10-15 drops in a little water and take three times a day.
3. A nourishing cuppa
For the perfect pick-me-up brew, mix together:
- 1 dessert spoon of grated Turmeric
- 0.5 grated unwaxed lemon skin
- The juice of half a lemon
- 1 dessert spoon of grated ginger
Place in a pot and let it steep for 10 minutes. Then add a little more hot water and a dash of honey to taste. Drink throughout the day. “In Okinawa, Japan, they have the longest average life span of 81.2 years and they drink copious of turmeric tea a day,” says Rachel.
In a rush? Try Pukka's Turmeric Gold tea along with their Turmeric Brainwave supplements in their 7 Day Kit , £7.99.
4. A sprain soother
To aid injured joints try this Ayurvedic remedy - mix a teaspoon of powdered turmeric with a little high grade honey and rub on the sprain twice a day.
5. A winter warmer
Combine the following ingredients for a cup of gloriously exotic golden milk:
- 200 ml of almond milk
- 0.5 teaspoon of powdered Turmeric
- 1 tsp almond oil
- A splash of honey
Mix the Turmeric in a pan with the oil and honey until it forms a paste. Then add a little of the almond milk to dilute and heat gently. Finally add the rest of the almond milk and heat to just below boiling.
6. A flu fighter
This is a great home remedy for when a nasty bug strikes. Mix together:
- A quarter cup of cider vinegar
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- A quarter cup of grated fresh horseradish
- 2 teaspoons of powdered Turmeric
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of honey
Combine the vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch or two of cayenne together in a jar or bowl - cover and let it sit in a warm place for three weeks. Then strain the mixture, add the honey and re-bottle and keep in fridge. Take one-two tablespoons at the start of a cold and repeat every three hours.
7. A wound cleanser
Especially perfect for boils and abscesses, mix equal parts of turmeric & ginger powder together and combine with enough warm water to make a paste and apply to injured area. Cover with lint and a cloth and add heat such as a hot water bottle. Keep heat on the wound for five minutes and leave paste on for half an hour.
8. Comforting curries and delicious dinners
Due to the mild and fragrant flavour, a dash of turmeric blends beautifully within dishes such as braised greens, scrambled eggs, roasted veg and rice. In particular, a pinch added to scrambled egg or a frittata is ideal for those new to turmeric, because the color is familiar and the flavor subtle.
For the perfect Friday night meal why not try this cauliflower curry recipe - a light and tasty way to get your daily dose of turmeric.
Find out more about how to use turmeric for skin, hair and health here
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