Turmeric is a spice that grows in India and other Asian areas and is primarily used to flavor curries. It has a distinctive gold color and tends to stain things easily (so much so it was used as a yellow dye for centuries), thanks to the antioxidant curcumin. If you haven’t heard of this little gem, curcumin is currently being tested on humans for preventing and curing cancer. According to The American Cancer Society, curcumin can kill cancer cells and also slow the growth of the surviving cells in laboratory dishes as well as in some animals. In fact, Dr. Bailey includes turmeric regularly in her diet to up the odds that she stays free of cancer after being diagnosed with BRCA related breast cancer this last year.
Obviously more studies need to be done, but in the world of Eastern medicine, turmeric has been used for centuries to cure ills. Now Western medicine is focusing on the medical benefits of this spice, too, and what we are learning is fascinating. It just might motivate you to find ways new ways to use turmeric in your daily diet.
What are some of the potential health benefits of turmeric?
Up until now, turmeric was mainly used for its anti-inflammatory properties before there were NSAIDs (and their nasty side affects.) Indian and Chinese folk medicine have a much longer list of conditions that can be treated with turmeric including diarrhea, fever, arthritis, jaundice, hemorrhaging flatulence and colic, just to name a few. Today, studies such as this one from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have proved that curcumin (in turmeric) exhibits “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer activities.” That’s a lot for one little root! In fact, in a study in Japan at the Ehime University, they discovered that turmeric may help prevent some of the UVB damage in skin. Of course, there are still studies being done, so don’t go out and buy a tub of turmeric roots and start rubbing them on your skin. We can, however, say these studies are very promising for the future of skin care!
In any case, whether you are in the Eastern medicine camp or the Western medicine camp, there is no disputing one important fact – turmeric is good for a lot of things that ail you.
Here’s an easy way to add turmeric to your diet – in tea! We’ve found the perfect recipe you can use, a paste you can store in your refrigerator. Take a few minutes to sip and enjoy, knowing you’re doing something good for your body.
1/3 cup good, raw honey
2 ½ teaspoons dried turmeric
lots of freshly ground pepper
Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand in a jar whenever you’d like a cup.
For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling) water into the mug and stir well to dissolve the paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon and a good amount of black pepper. Enjoy! Stir now and then as you drink so all the good stuff doesn’t settle to the bottom, or top off with more hot water as you drink it.
Recipe taken from 101 Cookbooks