Turmeric Curcuma longa Turmeric is a tropical perennial plant in the same family as ginger, native to India, and cultivated throughout the tropics around the world. Growing to a height of about three feet, it bears pairs of lance-shaped leaves on alternate sides of the stem. At the base of the stem, there is a knobby rhizome somewhat resembling ginger. Other common names are Indian saffron & yellow ginger.
Many of the healing of benefits of turmeric have been attributed to curcumin, a group of antioxidant compounds found in the rhizome. Although curcumin is available as a standardized extract, the whole herb may be more beneficial for you than the curcumin extract: Only very small amounts of curcumin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Turmeric as a whole herb stays in the digestive tract longer than curcumin, releasing antioxidant curcumin along with other beneficial substances.
Turmeric root powder is a popular ingredient in South Asian cooking and adds a distinct flavor to many savory dishes, including stocks, sauces and curries. The root has a brilliant orange color and becomes very hard when dried. It is distinct and fragrant, with a scent that is mildly hot and gingery, but certainly unique to itself.
Teas and poultices with fresh turmeric are commonly used for it's anti inflammatory and natural antibiotic properties. It can enhance longevity, decrease chances of Alzheimer's and cancer, soothe skin conditions and protect the liver.
Turmeric Honey Paste Recipe
Ingredients: 1 cup honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp turmeric powder
Mix honey, turmeric, & coconut oil together in a resealable container using a spoon until thoroughly combined. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Add 1 tablespoon or more to a cup of hot water or milk (or milk substitute) for a lovely drink. Add lime, ginger, and cinnamon for a flavorful break from the usual tea. Always allow the paste to heat for at least 5 minutes in any of these before consuming.
Luna Wood is a graduate of the Sacred Journey School of Herbal Wisdom and currently practices herbal medicine in Austin and San Antonio, TX.