By now most of us are pretty aware of the healing benefits of turmeric. An amazing anti-inflammatory, studies have shown that taking turmeric can be just as effective as ibuprofen for relieving symptoms of inflammation.
As a treatment for arthritis, or as relief from inflammatory skin issues, the list of conditions that curcumin can treat is plentiful. Supplement manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon and you can now buy curcumin in capsules, for a hefty price.
It has shown as effective in the treatment of cancers and it is a powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant.
But other research has brought into question the bioavailability of curcumin in capsule form by itself, and while more research is needed, it seems as though that turmeric is most effective when taken in food, but less so when taken separately by capsule. One of the reasons for this might be the combination of spices that usually come with turmeric when it is eaten in foods, such as curry.
Piperine, in particular, a component of black pepper, has been found to increase the bioavailability of turmeric and one study showed that the bioavailability of turmeric increased by 2000 percent in humans when taken with piperine and that curcumin stayed longer in body tissues and intestinal absorption was higher when taken together.
There are other ways of taking turmeric and black pepper together besides eating curry. Just by adding the two to any soup or stew will not alter the taste significantly and will add healing benefits.
Another way that is become popular over the past few years is by making “golden milk”, a cozy winter drink that includes turmeric and ginger and is kind of like a yellowy, creamy chai. I highly recommend it!
I’ve concocted my own recipe for a healing turmeric paste than can be made into a tasty drink whenever the mood hits you. Containing antibacterial coconut oil, maple syrup and spices, the paste will last on the counter for ages.
With each ingredient containing its own set of healing properties, my spicy turmeric elixir can be taken hot in a tea with water, with the non-dairy milk of your choice or cold as a refreshing, spicy Indian inspired lemonade.
Unlike chai, this recipe contains no black tea, so no caffeine. It can be enjoyed at night before bed and the anti-inflammatory properties of the ingredients will help you relax.
My recipe contains:
Turmeric: Healing properties mentioned above and you can also check out this article here. Amazing stuff. Anti-inflammatory, kidney cleaner, cancer fighter, it does it all.
Cinnamon: Great at reducing blood sugar levels and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Increases blood circulation.
Ginger: Effective at increasing blood circulation, reducing nausea and aiding digestion. An immune system booster.
Black Pepper: Partners with turmeric as mentioned above to increase bioavailability of curcumin. Antibacterial and contains iron, manganese, potassium and Vitamin K.
Cardamom: Cleans kidneys, aids in digestion and can help with heartburn and constipation. Used in Ayurvedic medicine as a mood booster.
Cloves: Antiseptic and analgesic, can help with pain relief and digestion.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is incredibly rich in minerals. It contains “calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc.” It also contains Vitamin B6.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is considered a healthy fat, rich in MCFA’s or medium-chain fatty acids. It helps to convert bad into good cholesterol. It is antibacterial, and antimicrobial. From cancer preventing, to weight loss, the health benefits of coconut oil are massive.
But enough about this! It also tastes great so let’s get on to the recipe!
3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. turmeric powder
8-10 whole cardamom pods
1 tbsp. cinnamon powder
1 tbsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. cloves
2 tbsp. maple syrup
If you live in a cold area, like me, you’ll have to melt the coconut oil a bit in order to be able to mix in the powdered ingredients. Once the coconut oil is liquefied but not hot, mix in other ingredients well. Add the cardamom pods whole and leave ‘em in there. If you get one in your drink, consider it a lucky bonus! Put into lidded jar and store on the counter for up to a week.
To prepare hot spicy turmeric milk:
Heat about 250-350ml of non-dairy milk of your choice and stir in 1 tsp of elixir or more to taste. Mix in with spoon and consume warm.
To prepare spicy refreshing turmeric lemonade:
In a heatproof glass, add 3 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tbsp. maple syrup. Add 1 tsp of turmeric elixir or more to taste and about 250 ml of hot, boiling water. Mix thoroughly and add about six large ice cubes or more to cool down drink.
Note: The spices in the turmeric elixir are not water soluble as you will notice in the photos. That means that they will float to the top in the hot beverage and sink to the bottom in the cold lemonade drink. It doesn't matter! As long as you get the spices in you, so I recommend drinking the lemonade with a straw or mixing with a spoon frequently as you drink.
And finally, please be careful with your clothes. Turmeric will stain!
Caveat: I am not a doctor and I have no certificates in natural medicine or nutrition. The information contained within this article are from my own interest in natural health and my own research. Find what works for you and be aware of allergies and sensitivities that you may have.