By now, the secret is out. Everyone loves, loves, loves turmeric.
It’s the newest old superfood.
Turmeric, part of the ginger family, has long been used in Indian cooking. It’s one of the spices that make up curry powder and gives it the familiar gorgeous yellow colour. This root is also used in a traditional Indonesian remedy called jamu.
For many people, turmeric is used fresh to kick up their smoothie a notch, as a spice in cooking or as a higher-dosed capsuled supplement for pain. This super root is not just for humans either and turmeric is prescribed for our animal companions as well.
A natural remedy, turmeric has been shown to have a long list of benefits. It is certainly the subject of thousands of trials and studies. We see turmeric as a super star in fighting inflammation, providing relief from arthritis, psoriasis, and bowel disease.
Studies now show that inflammation is involved in a spectrum of conditions including cancer therefore focusing on minimizing this condition and finding the underlying cause is foundational to health.
What in your life is getting you inflamed? Contemplate and see what is triggering you. How do you actually want to feel?
More Benefits of Turmeric
This beautiful yellow spice has 300+ components! The most active ingredient and beneficial polyphenol that has been studied is called curcumin. With just a teaspoon of turmeric, we get 200 mg of curcumin that enhances overall bodily function. For inflammatory conditions, higher dosages, even doubling that, is required. When consuming fresh or as a spice, add a dash of fresh ground pepper to boost its efficacy and to make it even more bioavailable. Take it with cold-pressed olive, coconut oil, or another healthy oil.
Turmeric boosts digestion by stimulating the gall bladder and reducing bloat, helps depression (better than Prozac without the side effects!), regulates insulin secretion, helps with pancreatic function by improving beta cell function, post-workout recovery…the research continues in multiple directions.
In Power Up Your Brain : The Neuroscience of Enlightenment Dr David Perlmutter writes that curcumin (turmeric’s medicinal ingredient) is a key factor in the activation of a protein vital for neurogenesis.
This protein is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It is involved with promoting neuroplasticity by making new brain cells and protecting existing ones from environmental toxins, trauma, and other factors. We can increase BDNF in a variety of ways in addition to taking curcumin. This includes voluntary physical exercise, calorie reduction, intellectual stimulation, and taking a omega-3 fat known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
It is mitochondrial DNA that directs the production and utilization of your life energy. It determines the fate of every cell, tissue, and organ in your body and the energetic fate of your being as a whole.
Dr David Perlmutter, Power Up Your Brain
Curcumin also turns on the Nrf2 pathway, a “genetic switch”, that signals production of antioxidants, including the powerful glutathione. These antioxidants protect the mitochondria, our cellular energy factory. Poor mitochondrial activity is seen in brain health decline. Dr Perlmutter sees illness as a crisis in energy and disrupted mitochondrial function. As part of The Power Up Your Brain Program, 200 mg of curcumin taken morning and night is recommended along with other supplements that promote brain health.
How to Use Turmeric
Amber Sawyer of Satsanga has turmeric in her first-aid kit. This “magic herb of Ayurveda” as she calls it is a natural antibiotic. It is also “effective at cleansing the blood, purifying the subtle channels of the body, and can be used externally for healing bruises, cuts, sprains, and strains.”
She makes a paste by boiling equal parts of water and organic turmeric for eight minutes. She then stores the paste in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
She uses this paste or organic turmeric powder for conditions from wound healing to digestive ails. To stop bleeding and to use as an antibacterial agent, Amber applies turmeric on a cut. She also uses it on bruises and sprains and for skin conditions such as chicken pox, poison oak, eczema, and scabies. She applies a thin coating of the paste before covering with a loose gauze.
To help improve digestion, Amber adds turmeric or some of the turmeric paste to her dishes. It is best to first cook it lightly in ghee or coconut oil or your own preferred healthy oil.
How to Cook with Turmeric
Made in India by Meera Soda is a collection of easy-to-make family recipes, food she grew up eating. Indian cooking, with all the different spices, can be daunting; these recipes are accessible partly because only a few spices are used for each.
Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin
- 1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 5 tablespoon healthy oil
- 1 lemon
Wash the cauliflower with filtered water, removing the leaves. Break the cauliflower into the smaller florets and steam in boiling water. Drain well and let dry.
Grind the cumin seeds with the salt using a mortar and pestle or a spice/coffee grinder, before adding the chili powder and turmeric, and then the oil.
Drizzle oil over the cauliflower making sure it is well-coated and place on the sheet pan. Roast for half hour and shake the pan regularly to get the cauliflower evenly cooked.
This dish can also be done with broccoli.
What is Jamu?
Jamu is traditional Indonesian herbal medicine.
The material used is plant-based and includes the roots, bark, leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers. Many culinary herbs like ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass are also included in Jamu tonics.
It is an age-old practice with roots in Javanese folk medicine, like so many South Asian cultures that looked to nature for cures.
Early evidence of plant medicines and the practice of Jamu can be seen on stone reliefs at the famous Buddhist monument Borobudur, where carvings depict plants being grounded for medicines.
Jamu collectively is a pharmacy that includes powerful plants that help one to maintain good health and offers protection from common ailments and diseases.
from Ajuntha Anwari, Medicine Woman Asia
The Longevity Drink
Dr Theresa Ramsey of the Centre for Natural Healing shares an old recipe using turmeric and ginger. This is a recipe she got from one of her clients who drinks it every day. Dr Ramsey discovered this “ancient Chinese secret” because she was impressed with her client’s test scores such as cellular hydration (two to three years faster than that for her chronological age) and cellular age (seven years younger).
Here’s why she loves these ingredients – increased turmeric (aka curcumin) intake decreases arthritis, cancer, and alzheimer’s; ginger is a “GI herb” and great as a cold and flu remedy; lemon helps with “bioflavonoids that stabilize mast cells preventing histamine release into the body”; and pepper works with turmeric (curcumin specifically) and boosts its actions by 2000%!
- 1 organic lemon, including rind
- 1/2 to 1 inch of fresh turmeric root
- 1 inch of ginger
- 1 dash of black pepper
- 5 tablespoon healthy oil
- 1 lemon
Juice all the ingredients and add to warm filtered water.
* This recipe is rather bitter and sharp for some people. You can mix with more water or add raw honey to sweeten to taste.
Turmeric stains yellow! Ajuntha the Medicine Woman Asia uses a separate container for juicing her turmeric. For all those stains you may find on the counter, try a baking soda paste. This non-toxic recipe is a great general householder cleaner for all sorts of stains. Mix 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water (to the consistency of toothpaste) and apply to the stain. Wipe with a wet cloth after an hour. Older stains may require a longer working time.