Every so often I come across an herbal medicine recipe that knocks my socks off because not only does it work, but it's delicious.
The current research on turmeric as kitchen cabinet medicine is backing up what herbalists have known for generations - it stops pain, is highly anti-inflammatory, promotes digestive health, detoxifies the liver, and boosts the immune system.
In Asian medicine, it's an herb known as Jiang Huang and is used clinically to:
- Invigorate blood and promote the movement of Qi
- Relieve pain associated with menstruation
- Relive pain and swelling due to trauma
- Promote digestion and relieve epigastric and/or abdominal pain
- Promote the movement of blood and relive joint pain
Turmeric is both anti-inflammatory AND a natural pain reliever that works as well as many over the counter drugs but without the side effects.
Turmeric Milk, Golden Milk, or Haldi Doodh – whatever the kids are calling it, is an Ayurvedic recipe that mixes turmeric, milk (either animal or plant), and oil that contains essential fatty acids. Different recipes will call for different oils: sesame, almond, black cumin, or coconut. I've tried them all and have found the most delicious and invigorating to be Udo's 3-6-9 oil. It's a blend of plant based oils with the ideal balance of Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids (2:1) - something your body needs but can't make on its own. Udo's oil is vegan, delicious, and something I often recommend in private practice to patients who not only need help with increased immune function, but to individuals looking to decrease joint pain and gently improve circulation.
Who Should or Shouldn't Consume Turmeric
Turmeric is loaded with protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. However, at the end of the day herbal medicine is just that - medicine. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it can't hurt you, so one needs to exercise caution and know when herbs create health or harm.
What is it good for specifically?
Arthritis Relief. The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells.
Diabetes Control. Can be used as adjunct therapy to help to moderate insulin levels, improve glucose control, increase the effect of medications used to treat diabetes and aid in reducing insulin resistance.
Wound Healing. Turmeric is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial and can be used as an effective topical disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. It's known to help repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Improves Digestion. Turmeric is helpful in treating most forms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis. However, it's important to bear in mind that people suffering from any kind of gallbladder disease should not take turmeric as a dietary supplement as it may worsen the condition.
Natural Liver Detoxifier. Turmeric increases production of vital enzymes which break down and reduce toxins in the body. It's also is believed to invigorate and improve blood circulation.
Boosts Immune System. Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs.
Who Should Avoid It
- Turmeric should not be used long term or used medicinally by those with congestive heart failure.
- Those prone to kidney stones, gallstones, or bile duct obstruction should not use large amounts turmeric.
- Because turmeric is considered a blood moving herb, it's contraindicated in pregnancy - especially in large doses. However, it's FANTASTIC for women within the first few weeks of giving birth postpartum.
- One should stop using turmeric about two weeks prior to surgery; however, it can help manage inflammation and pain following an operation.
Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe
If you simply dissolve turmeric powder in the milk of your choice (animal or plant), the end result is gritty and overly bitter. By creating the paste, the end result is smooth as silk and super tasty!
Yum up your cup by adding a little black pepper to the recipe! It will enhance the curcumin’s bioavailability due to an alkaloid in black pepper called piperine which increases your body’s ability to absorb the turmeric by 2,000%!
- 1/4 cup Organic Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 cup Good Old Fashioned Water
- 1/2 tsp of Organic Black Pepper
- 1 cup Milk (Cow, goat, coconut, almond, rice, hemp, etc.)
- 2 tsp Maple Syrup or sweetener of your choice
- 2 tsp Udo's Oil
- Spoon or spatula that you don't mind staining
- Glass jar or ceramic container with a lid
Step 1: Making the Paste
When mixed with the milk of your choice, turmeric paste dissolves much more easily than turmeric powder - which means your Golden Milk will be smooth rather than gritty. The paste will keep in the fridge for upwards of a month; however, if it starts to smell metallic, the paste is turning rancid and needs to be thrown out.
- Mix 1/4 cup turmeric powder with 1/2 cup water in a pot on the stove.
- Use a low heat setting while mixing the turmeric and water.
- Be sure to stir the mixture at all times, if it gets too thick you can sprinkle in extra water. The paste should be the consistency of mustard sauce. The paste will firm up when it cools down, so make sure that it's fairly creamy.
- Stir the mixture for about 5 - 8 minutes to ensure the powder dissolves into the water - the smoother the paste, the smoother your Golden Milk.
- When finished, put the paste into a glass jar or container and place in the fridge. You will want to avoid plastic since warm mixture carries a likelihood of leaching chemicals out of the plastic into the the paste.
- The paste may start to separate a little in the fridge; simply stir the mixture before using it to ensure consistency when cooking.
Step 2: Making the Milk
This recipe is made to taste, so the proportions are suggestions more than a strict recipe.
- Mix 1 tbsp of the turmeric paste with 1 cup of milk in a pot on the stove.
- Use a low heat setting to gently warm your mixture; be sure to stir occasionally.
- Add your sweetener of choice to the pot so that the heat dissolves it into the mixture.
- Pour 2 tsps of Udo's oil into your mug first.
- Pour the warm Golden Milk mixture into the mug on top of the oil so that they get a chance to mix well.
- Feel free to add a bit of ginger, cardamom, clove, nutmeg or any other warming spice that you enjoy.
- Bon appétit!