Hello everyone and welcome to my very first World Wellness post! In this category I will be sharing different articles covering lifestyle tips, beauty care routines, physical and mental health, food tips and tricks, and cultural superfoods. Today we are going learn a wee bit more about that yellow stuff that most people only associate with curries: Turmeric.
Turmeric is a plant that dates back 4000 years where it was and continues to be used medicinally and as a culinary spice. This powerful plant that is high in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 is considered to be India’s “Mother Herb.” Aside from culinary and medicinal properties, turmeric also has a strong spiritual and religious representation in India. The golden yellow herb represents purity, prosperity, and fertility and is often used in spiritual ceremonies. In fact, it is even used to make a paste that is applied to both the bride and groom in the “Haldi” ceremony before a traditional Indian wedding. This enhances the couple’s glow and wards off the evil eye.
Many are unaware of the strong healing properties of curcumin which is the main ingredient in turmeric. The Indian culture has been using turmeric therapeutically for many different illnesses, injuries, and conditions. Turmeric is high in antioxidants and is well known for its anti-inflammatory powers. That being said, this superstar plant can help treat an array of health problems as all types of pain are caused by some degree of inflammation in the body. Studies show that curcumin is great to treat liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Turmeric helps to alleviate symptoms from all forms of arthritis, sprains and strains, and chronic inflammatory conditions. The immune boosting plant can also be used medicinally for headaches, coughs, throat irritations, and detoxifying treatments. It also promotes weight loss and helps maintain cholesterol levels. Tom Newmark, the chief executive officer of New Chapter (makers of organic, natural health supplements) says “I absolutely believe turmeric is the number-one most important healing botanical in herbal pharmacopeia.” Judging by how long cultures from across the world have been incorporating this ancient plant into their lives, I think it’s safe to say that many agree with him.
So aside from making a mean curry, what the heck do we do with turmeric? I think the question is more what don’t we do with it? Let’s look at some of the fun and essential ways we can incorporate this life enhancing herb into our daily lives.
FOOD-Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste and can be added to anything. I personally find the taste of turmeric to be quite neutral and therefore I sprinkle it on anything where I would with salt and pepper. It is great to add into sauces, spreads, and soups where you want a nice and rich yellow hue. I even go as far as adding it to my smoothies! Here is a fun recipe I tried out:
- Handful of leafy greens
- 1 cup of cooked and peeled sweet potato (pumpkin would also be great)
- ½ a banana
- Half an avocado
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/8 tsp. of each: allspice, nutmeg, and cloves
- ½ cup ice chips
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
TEA-Turmeric tea is a fantastic home remedy for a cough and/or throat irritations. It also promotes a healthy immune system and is a daily ritual for many of the Indian culture. The blend for what is known as the “longevity tea” is as follows:
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 4 cups of boiling water
*Let simmer for 10 minutes and add a dash of honey, ginger, and/or lemon.
*Sometimes I get all fancy and also simmer a cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, whole fennel and caraway seeds, and minced ginger root with the turmeric and water. After the 10 minutes, I strain the tea and add my pure honey and sometimes even a splash of unsweetened almond tea for a fabulous and tasty concoction of healing spices and herbs!
TOPICALLY-An ancient Indian remedy for sprains, strains, and arthritis relief is to mix 1 part salt with 2 parts turmeric powder and just enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected joint and wrap with an old rag. This paste will stain both the rag and your skin so make sure you are treating an area that is not visible. Leave the paste treatment on for at least 20 minutes for up to an hour and apply once a day.
Turmeric is also a disinfectant so you can apply the powder to any cuts, burns, or wounds to prevent infections from setting in.
A wonderful skin detoxifying remedy is to mix the powerful powder with castor oil. This combination releases toxins from the body. Women benefit greatly from applying this paste to their breasts and underarm area where toxins tend to lurk in the surrounding lymph nodes and fat cells.
We can even treat dandruff with this superstar superfood. Mix some turmeric powder with an extra virgin olive oil and massage into the scalp. Let those healing properties do their magic for at least 15 minutes and then you can return to your regular hair washing routine.
All natural beauty care products often contain turmeric for both its hue and skin loving properties. As I mentioned before turmeric gives the skin a healthy vibrant glow which is why Indian brides and grooms have a special ritual with it during their wedding celebrations.
SUPPLEMENTS-If all else fails and you cannot seem to incorporate this healing magical herb into your daily life as much as you would like to, you can always look into all natural powdered supplements. There is a small list of conditions that you want to proceed with caution when considering this route including pregnancy, so please speak to your health care provider before doing so.
Let’s have a Turmeric Talk party! What are your absolute favorite ways to use this superfood? What results have you experienced from adding it to your routines? What are your family’s cultural traditions involving turmeric? Tell me more, tell me all!