Turmeric Root

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. This is one of my top 5 herbs that I use daily and prescribe widely to my students.

Every person should consume this herb as a food and supplement daily. It has so many wonderful benefits. Current studies have confirmed its cancer reducing, anti inflammatory effects, along with its use in thetreatment of benign tumors.

It is pharmacologically safe and has been consumed at doses of up to 1,000mg daily for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and cooking. Its also one of the most widely researched herbswith well designed clinical trials.

I like the powder as its cheap and easily available. Make sure to buy wild crafted or organic from reputable herbal companies like ;

www.mountainroseherbs.com

www.banyanbotanicals.com

www.starwestbotanicals.com

www.organicindia.com

If you decide to use the whole herb, choose from either the fresh root orthe powder. By using the whole herb you get all the available constituents the herb has to offer. Taste can be an issue and I have found that adding coconut water in the summer and honey and hot water in the winter to my turmeric paste makes it very palatable. I love the turmeric paste, but then again as I say, I have drunk the Ayurvedic coolade!!  My husband, on the other hand prefers the turmeric pills that I make for him. For me, its whatever works so that your consumption of this amazing herb becomes a daily habit.

In order to enhance Turmerics bioavailability its best mixed with Black pepper or Pippali (Long pepper) The chemical compound found in this herb, piperine is a powerful bio enhancer of curcumin. In studies , piperine has been shown to improve the absorption of curcumin from Turmeric by an astounding 154%. The ratio of Turmeric to Piperine is 10:1Taking Turmeric with some sort of fat further enhances its bio availability. (1)Have a look at the recipes provided below.

Common name: Turmeric

  • Scientific name: Curcuma Longa
  • Ayurvedic Name: Haldi, Haridra
  • Parts Used:  root
  • Dosha effects: K-VP+ (in excess)
  • Tastes: Bitter, Pungent (mildly), Astringent
  • Tissues: Works on all tissues
  • Channels: Digestive, circulatory, respiratory, female reproductive

Actions:

Stimulant, carminative (dispels gas), alterative (purifies blood),  blood tonic, anti oxidant, anti carcinogenic, vulnerary (heals tissue), anti-bacterial, analgesic
Precautions Acute jaundice and hepatitis, high pitta, pregnancy.

Contraindicated if taking anti-platelet or blood thinners.

Some Benefits:

  • Its nourishing to the heart.
  • Helps with blood circulation and stops the formation of new plaque.
  • Reduces existing plaque in the arteries.
  • It protects the liver by increase bile flow.
  • It normalizes cholesterol and has been used in the treatment of diabetes.
  • It strengthens digestion & helps to restore intestinal flora.
  • Used for inflammatory skin diseases as diverse as carpel tunnel syndrome and gum disease. Curcumin treats pain directly and has been shown to improve osteoarthritis .
  • Historically it has been used as a poultice for sprains and sore joints.
  • Turmeric curbs inflammation. One of the active ingredients curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow color has anti inflammatory effects similar to cortizone withoutside effects.
  • It promotes proper metabolism in the body and aids in the digestion of protein.
  • Body weight and appetite will respond to turmeric.
  • In Asia it is used to treat obesity and anorexia ( low appetite).
  • It helps to strengthen the ligaments and is therefore good for the practice of asana.
  • As a paste it is great for sprains, strains, bruises or itch.
  • Can be applied to wounds to speed up healing.

Its a natural antibiotic.  Its great to use as a gargle at the onset of a sore throat or mixed with honey to form a paste when you are feeling a little under the weather.

And you thought it was just used for curries!!!

My herb teacher KP Khalsa has converted me and I take 1 Tablespoon of turmeric paste daily

If you have not used turmeric before, then my advice is to go slowly.  

  • Start with 1/4 teaspoon daily for one month
  • 1/2 teaspoon the second month and
  • 1teaspoon the third month.
  • You have to acclimatize the body to the bitter taste.

Turmeric Recipes:

*To get more turmeric into your diet, consider some of the following:

Turmeric Tea

The recipe is simple, and you can experiment with the ingredients and flavorings until you find a combination that suits your taste.

  • Bring four cups of water to a boil.

Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and a couple of shakes of Black Pepper. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.  Some people like to add a teaspoon of ginger along with the turmeric. While ground powders are more convenient, it's worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor.!

Turmeric Paste    

  • adapted from notes by KP KHalsa- www.internationalintegrative.com
  • 1/4 cup turmeric powder (equivalent to 2oz or 56gms)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper or approximately 12gms
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until a thick paste is formed. Keep adding water if it gets too thick. After the paste is made, store in an airtight container and refrigerate. You may store this for up to forty days. If you wish, you may add some honey and cinnamon and cardamon to taste.

Golden Milk

  • 1 cup milk, rice, almond or soy milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric paste
  • 1/4 tsp almond oil
  • Combine ingredients in saucepan, on low heat, bring milk to boiling point while stirring
  • Add honey to taste. The mixture may be blended in a blender to make a foamy drink.

Golden Yogurt

  • Take 1-2 tablespoons of paste, mix with a little yogurt or cottage cheese and eat.
  • Follow with a glass of water.
  • Golden Rice
  • Take 1-2 tablespoons of paste and add it to your rice as it is cooking.
  • Or just drink down 1 teaspoon daily with a glass of water.
  • Sources: 1. “Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism” D.Yance 609-62

“Ayurvedic Medicine” Sebastion Pole:

“The way of Ayurvedic Herbs” KP Khalsa& Michael Tierra.

The yoga of herbs,Dr Da Frawley and Dr Vasant Lad.