“Time is an herb that cures all Diseases.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard's Almanac
Ben Franklin was thinking more about the passage of time than natural healing when he wrote this quote. Yet there is a spice that does as least as well as the passage of time, a spice that is able to help with so many diseases: turmeric.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is known as a sacred herb with remarkable healing properties since its first mention in the Atharvaveda 6000 years ago. Today, India’s Ayurvedic healers consider it to be a profoundly balancing and deeply purifying spice.
A World Wide Healing Tradition
From Hawaii to the rain forests of Central & South America, in China, Africa, Jamaica, Japan, Thailand and South East Asia-turmeric has been used as a valuable traded good for dyeing cloth, flavoring food and as a soil building crop. Healers applied it to the body for itching, skin ulcers & wounds as well as to keep the skin youthful looking. It has been consumed for headaches, inflammation, weight loss, jaundice, fluid retention, diarrhea, eye conditions, ringworm, fertility issues, flatulence, colic, colds and fevers, parasites, leprosy, cancer and respiratory problems, as a children's remedy and to ease childbirth.
Today its use is widespread and now includes treatment for cataracts, liver diseases, atherosclerosis, Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis. Numerous studies have confirmed it’s value as a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.1
Turmeric Is Unique
Turmeric blocks the inflammatory enzymes that produce pain, swelling and inflammation as effectively as today’s hydrocortisone. It can actually slow the brain changes of early Alzheimer’s disease. As it moves through the blood stream turmeric normalizes insulin levels in type 2 diabetes and helps to balance blood lipids.2
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, vitamin B6, iron, potassium and manganese. Combining turmeric with black pepper, ginger or garlic enriches it’s ability to support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Start Out With a Great Curry
Indian curries flavored with turmeric, ginger, black pepper and other spices are delicious and can be a fun way to enjoy turmeric. By itself it can taste a little bitter if you are not used to it.
At home - you can use also use turmeric for musculoskeletal pain, feeling run down or to soothe your digestive system. It is considered very safe but if you are taking any prescription medication check with your MD before you try turmeric. Also its brilliant yellow color can stain your clothes so be careful with it.
How Much Turmeric to Use?
Drink 1-2 cups of Turmeric tea a day-it’s similar to chai in flavor but does not contain any caffeine. Or you can use 400 mg of powdered turmeric in capsule 3 times a day. These two tea recipes are wonderful:
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea
32 ozs boiling water
½ Tbsp turmeric powder or 1 thumb size piece of grated turmeric root
1 handful of cilantro chopped
1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed
1TBSP olive oil
2 lemons juiced
5 peppercorns whole
10 drops stevia or 1 2/2 TBSP raw honey
Cayenne pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes then strain and enjoy.
1 cup almond milk, rice milk or Silk Coconut drink
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric powdered
¼ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp honey or a few drops of stevia
Whisk the powdered ingredients thoroughly into to your liquid. Bring it almost to a boiling point- then turn off flame and let steep for 2 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
So whether you try a healthful Indian meal, add turmeric to your cooking or drink some turmeric tea…. I invite you to check this out for yourself. Give it a try for a few weeks I‘d love to hear about your experiences.
1.James A. (Jim) Duke.“The Garden Pharmacy:Turmeric, the Queen of COX-2 Inhibitors: Alternative and Complementary Therapies. October 2007, 13(5): 229-234. doi:10.1089/act.2007.13503.
2.Skulas-Ray AC, et al "A high antioxidant spice blend attenuates postprandial insulin and triglyceride responses and increases some plasma measures of antioxidant activity in healthy, overweight men" J Nutrition 2011; DOI: 10.3945/jn.111.138966.