Herbs · Remedies

The Kitchen Pharmacy: Turmeric the Wonder Spice

The yellow wonder herb: turmeric!

Did you realize that your very own kitchen pantry contains potent tonics and remedies? No, not the red wine (though that’s potent in its own right).

Given that the bulk of what we take into our bodies comes in the form of food, it has the potential to transform and heal very quickly. Not only can food heal you, if you maintain a diet that is balanced for your constitution, food works better than any medicine.

One of the first healing herbs I learned about in school for Ayurveda was turmeric. You can find it in the spice aisle of any supermarket. I discovered that, aside from staining everything it comes into contact with yellow, turmeric can do some pretty phenomenal things. Not only can it protect our bodies from toxins, but it can purify our blood, help make skin radiant, and heal injuries after an accident.

Keep reading to learn about more benefits as well as some methods for using turmeric to heal a variety of ills.

Western medicine has only recently come to realize the benefits of curcumin (which turmeric is a source of) as an anti-carcinogen, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Doctors have also found that turmeric works to prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, and even as an aspirin. In India, most people eat turmeric daily and less than 1% of the world’s Alzheimers cases can be found there.

My husband always mocked me for putting turmeric in literally everything. (Hey, it goes great in cookies!) But when he realized just how beneficial turmeric is, I saw him sprinkling it in his morning oatmeal.

Turmeric has a mild, slightly bitter taste, but it’s almost imperceptible when you mix a small amount into food. The best way to eat it is just to cook with it – a little dash with some oil, ghee, or butter in your daily meals will do.

Aside from overall disease prevention, turmeric also works to treat a variety of maladies. It’s especially effective for reducing swelling and fighting infection. Here are some age-old remedies I learned from my teachers:

turmeric face mask
A turmeric face mask makes skin glow.
  • For healing skin: Take milk or cream, mix with ½ tsp turmeric, and use it as a mask; wash off after 10 minutes.
  • If you have edema, apply a paste made of water and turmeric to the swelling.
  • If you have a wound that won’t heal, make turmeric paste and leave it on for an hour.
  • If you have a sprain, mix turmeric with hot sesame oil and apply to the sprain.
  • Drink milk and turmeric after an accident as it helps heal muscles, tendons, and bone. Just boil ¾ cup milk, ¼ cup water, ½ tsp turmeric together, and drink.
  • For a dry cough, mix ½ tsp turmeric with warm milk and a little sugar.
  • After delivering a baby, drink turmeric milk on an empty stomach to cleanse the uterus.

Have you tried turmeric today? Let me know how it went.

Note these recommendations are not meant to treat or diagnose any disease and you should always see a doctor or practitioner if you’re injured or need to get treatment.

Photo credit: Steven Jackson Photography and Rabanito.

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