Herbal Allies: Turmeric for Inflammation

"The more I use this yellow wonder, the more uses it seems to have. I call it 'the medicine cabinet in a jar'."

-Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Herbalist and Author of The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs.

 
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  A powerful herb with a long list of benefits, turmeric has become a household name for many. Originally from Southeast Asia, turmeric is praised around the world for its ability to decrease inflammation, and therefore pain. Often we hear about the negative effects of inflammation, however, inflammation can be a healthy bodily response. Acute inflammation is a necessary tool the immune system activates to heal bruises, abrasions, and wounds. However, problems arise when acute inflammation develops into chronic inflammation.   

What makes turmeric special is its ability to modulate inflammation in addition to supporting the body's natural capacity to heal. Some of the ways it does this is by increasing glutathione production (necessary for detoxification), decreasing free-radical damage and blocking specific inflammatory enzymes. All this in one special plant!

Additional benefits of turmeric include...

  • supports digestion and liver health
  • facilitates the healing of wounds
  • promotes heart health
  • improves memory function

Turmeric is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. One of the constituents that make this plant so effective is curcumin- a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. However, curcumin is not readily absorbed by our digestive system. The key to increasing bioavailability of curcumin is by incorporating it with fat and a small percentage of black pepper. One of our favorite recipes for doing this is by making golden milk, a delicious chai-like beverage.

 
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 Golden Milk Recipe

  • 2 cups of organic milk containing fat (cow or dairy-free)
  • 1 tsp. of organic dried or  2 tsp. fresh grated turmeric
  • 1 organic cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. of organic dried or fresh ginger root
  • A small pinch of black pepper
  • A pinch of any additional organic spices of choice (ground clove, cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp. of organic coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp. of honey or to taste (optional)
  1. Combine ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan.
  2. Turn stove to medium or medium-low and consistently mix ingredients until mixture is warm and frothy (about 20 minutes. Do not let mixture boil.
  3. Pour and enjoy immediately. (Strain any spices if necessary).

Purchasing organic, high-quality turmeric is essential for ensuring safety & therapeutic potency.  All turmeric should be a bright orange, never brown. Fresh turmeric is delicious and can be added to any meal. I especially love adding it to my stir-fry and soup stock recipes. 

Please note: Turmeric is contraindicated in individuals currently taking blood thinners, people with blood-clotting disorders, known gallstones, and pregnant or nursing women. 

Disclaimer: The posts in this blog are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before using any herbs, check for appropriate dosage, drug interactions, and contraindications. The information contained herein is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. Please consult your primary care physician regarding your specific health concerns.

Questions? Comments? We'd love to hear from you!