Have you heard the buzz in the holistic health world about turmeric or curcumin? Turmeric is the bright yellow-orange flesh of the Curcuma longa plant. The root is ground into a powder and used as a spice in curry and many other dishes and is also what makes mustard yellow.
Recent research shows that turmeric has some pretty amazing health benefits so I’ve been trying to find a way to get it into my family’s diet. There are lots of articles online about this research but here is a little summary. Turmeric relieves symptoms for both rheumatoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis suffers and irritable bowl syndrome, prevents cancer and actually slows the growth of cancer cells, reduces the risk of childhood leukemia, improves liver function, protects your cardiovascular health, reduces cholesterol, and both prevents and teats Alzheimer’s disease. More practically speaking, turmeric has been shown in clinical trials to be equally effective as an anti inflammatory and pain reducer as the popular over the counter anti-inflammatory ibuprofen! My hubby has had amazing, nearly instant results using it for sore muscles and joints.
Until I found the turmeric milk recipe that follows, I was just turning everything we ate yellow and only managing to add a little of the spice to things like chili or soup. I noticed that to get a real pain relief effect, we needed to get a large amount of the spice all at once, so sprinkling a teaspoon into our food wasn’t going to cut it. This recipe contains a more generous does of turmeric, plus the chili looks red again which the children really like.
If you look online for Ayurvedic turmeric paste recipes, you will find more traditional preparations of turmeric tea. As I’ve played with these and made them my own over the last few weeks, I finally arrived as this one. I make the paste and refrigerate it when I have a little extra time. Then when we need the turmeric milk or tea, it’s very fast to prepare. Be careful with the turmeric when you are making this paste. It will stain your hands, clothes, dishtowels, and pets if they are close by. Rinse everything off and wash your hands well so you don’t end up with a mess.
1 can coconut cream, coconut milk is also OK
3 Tablespoons ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger
2 Tablespoons local honey
a tiny pinch of sea salt
Use a rasp or cheese grater to grate about a 1 inch knob of fresh ginger. No need peel the ginger in this case.
Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and stir over medium heat. The spices will combine with the coconut cream and begin to thicken as it comes to a gentle simmer. Use a small whisk to break up clumps. The combination, most unfortunately, looks like what I find in the diaper of a breastfed newborn when I’m wearing my midwife hat. If you’ve nursed a baby, this will crack you up every time you make this paste!
When the paste is smooth and thick, store it in a clean mason jar. Now you can make turmeric milk or tea easily whenever you would like to have it. The traditional Ayurvedic suggestion is to drink it each night before bed.
To make the drink, add a heaping tablespoon of your paste to 8 ounces or so of liquid in a small saucepan. If you use black tea, the result will be a lot like a chia latte. You can also use dairy, almond, cashew, rice, or hemp milk. Whatever you choose, bring it to a gentle simmer and stir well to combine. You may want to add a little more honey to sweeten the final product or leave it as is. Pour the drink into a mug and serve it with a spoon. Stir the drink as you go so that you don’t get a big gulp of spice powder at the end!