“Bleurgh!” I hear you say, but wait, there’s more to this cousin of ginger root than just curry! Check out some of the benefits of turmeric, make yourself a cuppa as per below and then you can decide whether it’s “no thanks, mine’s a builders brew” or, “do you do a turmeric latte?”…

Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow colour, has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb.

It contains compounds called curcuminoids with medicinal properties, the most important of which is curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric and, has both strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Unfortunately, the curcumin content of turmeric tends to be quite low but it’s absorption is dramatically increased when it’s consumed with black pepper and a good fat, as it’s fat soluble. Alternatively, turmeric extract is available as a supplement and contains significantly higher amounts of curcumin but you should always seek professional advice prior to commencing any supplementation.

So what are the ‘health benefits’ of this ocherous spice?

Anything that fights chronic inflammation, which plays a part in most Western diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, some digestive disorders, arthritis and Alzheimers, can only be a good thing in terms of treatment and prevention and curcumin can inhibit many molecules known to be major factors in inflammation.

Curcumin also has powerful antioxidant effects helping to neutralize free radicals (which cause oxidative damage – think ageing and other degenerative diseases :-0), and then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and have discovered that it can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Whether high-dose curcumin can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be tested properly but there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system (like colorectal cancer).

Studies have also found it to be effective in reducing cholesterol, and improving blood sugar levels, which would be good news for diabetics.

Finally, there is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine which could spell hope for those suffering from depressive disorders.

Quick, how do I make myself a cup of this golden elixir?

¾ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger root

1 tsp honey

pinch of black pepper, although apparently you can just swallow a few black peppercorns at the same time as you drink your tea :-0 which will aid in the absorption of all that curcumin goodness.

1 cup water 

⅓ cup almond, oat, coconut or whatever kind of milk/mylk takes your fancy

I make mine in a very large mug or a teapot and love to sup it in the arvo whilst I’m writing, but it makes a great bedtime drink too as it aids relaxation and boosts your immunity while you sleep apparently…

I either boil the kettle and mix all the ingredients together with the hot water, or if you don’t like bits of ginger floating in your drink, you can also blend all the ingredients in your juicer before heating in a saucepan over a low heat.

Mmmmmellow yellow turmeric tea – deeeelishous…