Get to know the history and modern context for using this time-honored plant medicine for both nutrition and health.
Vibrantly golden, warming, and delicious – what’s the deal with turmeric, the ingredient getting so much attention in health circles lately? Turmeric has exploded on the health scene in the past 10+ years and gained serious (and certainly not unearned) popularity in the alternative health arena. The internet is overflowing with research, data, and fad blog posts on this powerful rhizome. For thousands of years, turmeric has been used as a food and also a coloring agent (and if you’ve seen the spice, you’ll know why!) and has a long history of use in India and Asia.
Food First, Medicine Second
Turmeric is one herb that is both largely food and medicine together, and has been for generations and generations in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, used to support digestion and inflammatory conditions. It’s the vibrant yellow cooking spice popular in curry dishes, Golden Lattes, delicious herbal teas, and the healing dish, Kitchari. Commonly purchased in powder form, Turmeric is an herb used in almost every single meal in Ayurvedic cooking, not just for its rich flavor but medicinally to cleanse the blood, strengthen digestion, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and protect the liver.
Benefits of Turmeric
Some of the many ways turmeric can support overall health include:
- Hepatoprotectant (liver protector)
- Immune system support
- Blood sugar support
- Improves joint health
The Many Ways to Enjoy Turmeric
So how can you get more of this incredible ingredient in your diet? I encourage many of my nutrition clients to consume turmeric regularly in their foods. You can also drink turmeric in a warming, caffeine-free Turmeric Golden Latte mixed with hot milk (dairy or non-diary) before bedtime, or steep it in an herbal tea like Numi Three Roots or Amber Sun. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric powder in your morning smoothies or hot cereals for a warming kick, add to salad dressings and nut butter balls, or try it in traditional Ayurvedic recipes like kitchari, dahl’s and slow cooker curry dishes. My personal favorite way to enjoy turmeric is in Numi’s Turmeric Cocoa with cinnamon and cardamom – the perfect way to imbibe nourishing turmeric in the fall and winter time!
Explore More: Recent Turmeric Research & Resources
The Use of Curcumin in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells
Turmeric as Adjuvant Therapy in Type 2 Diabetes
Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin via Clinical Trials
Turmeric, The Golden Spice
Principles & Practices of Phytotherapy by Mills & Bone (2000)
Herbs & Natural Supplements; An Evidence Based Guide by Braun & Cohen (2007)