Turmeric is a traditional healing herb in many countries– Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic (Indian science of healing) and Hawaiian practitioners rely on turmeric for its myriad healing properties.
Curcumin, one of the oils found in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, “In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.” Turmeric is also a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal conditions, and has been shown to be beneficial for treating cancer, especially of the colon, breast, lung and prostate. It works by increasing acting against transcription factors for cancer cells and aiding in detoxification systems for the whole body. But it does so much more too! According to Dr. Mercola, turmeric can also help:
• Supports your antioxidant protection against free radicals
• Promote your healthy skin
• Support overall eye health
• Provide you immune system support
• Aid your skeletal system and joint health
• Encourages your healthy liver function
Living in Hawaii, it’s easy to find local, organic turmeric. If you are not here in the islands (!), turmeric might be grown in China or India, so be sure to choose organic turmeric to find the cleanest product. You can find turmeric near the ginger at your local health food store or well-stocked grocery store. Look for roots that are firm and not at all mushy; turmeric is often smaller than ginger roots, so don't worry too much about the size. The skin is brown and might be a little gritty from the soil– simply give it a good wash before eating! Store turmeric in the fridge in a small bag to keep it fresh. If it gets moldy just break off the moldy parts and keep the good stuff. Turmeric is in the middle of the photo below, between garlic and ginger.
Fresh turmeric has a pungent, slightly bitter, earthy flavor without the spicy zing of ginger. You can use minced fresh turmeric in soups, sauces, stir-fries and curries or simply use a microplane grater to add a bit to your salads or meals. Turmeric can also be made into a simple tea to help boost your immunity and make you feel better during a cold or flu. Simply slice 1-inch turmeric and ½-inch ginger thinly and cover with boiling water. Let steep 10 minutes, then sweeten with honey and lemon. You can also juice turmeric to make a potent medicinal juice. This is my new favorite juice! Bright orange and delicious!
2 oranges or tangerines, skin removed
2-inch piece of turmeric
½-inch piece ginger
1 lemon, skin removed
- Juice oranges, turmeric, ginger and then lemons in a juicer. Drink immediately, adding water if needed for a milder flavor. Makes 2 servings