Valerie Lull, MH
There are many spices that come from India. One very popular spice is turmeric, Curcuma longa. It is used extensively in Indian cooking and healing. Turmeric has been used in Indian culture for thousands of years and is called “holy powder”. Old legends tell us that the ancient Polynesians sailed with it to Hawaii where it is known as `olena.
Turmeric is used for both culinary and healing purposes. Turmeric is best known as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a beneficial occurrence that happens when bacteria and viruses enter the body. This is good as long as the inflammation does not get out of control. When the inflammation is triggered and there is not a real threat it forms excessive low-grade inflammation in the body and this can contribute to allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. This irritates the tissues and can cause chronic pain, swelling and redness.
Studies have been done in India regarding the consumption of turmeric. India has a low rate of Alzheimer’s disease and this is thought to be because of the high amount of turmeric they use in their diets.
Turmeric contains a number of constituents. Perhaps the best known constituent is curcumin. There is a controversy over whether it is better to use turmeric and get the full benefit of all its constituents or if it is better to separate the curcumin from the turmeric and use that alone.
Turmeric has 71% carbs, 23% fat, and 6% protein. it contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Turmeric has 1.76 mg of vitamin C, 2.6 mcg of folate and traces of other B vitamins. It also contains g-3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Here is a recipe for hot turmeric milk from our friends at allrecipes.
1/4 t ground turmeric
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/8 t black pepper
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch allspice
1 C milk
3/4 t honey or sweetener of choice
1/8 t vanilla extract
Heat milk 3-4 minutes
Wisk turmeric, cardamon, black pepper, ginger, cloves and allspice together. Add sweetener and vanilla to milk and stir. Wisk in spice mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook till the flavors blend, 2-3 minutes. Pour through a strainer and serve. If you are vegan you can use soy milk or almond milk.