Kitchen Pharmacy: Turmeric

Turmeric—a beautiful yellow-orange spice that turns ordinary white rice into a work of art. If you’ve ever eaten a curry dish or other Indian dish, chances are, you’ve tried turmeric. This exotic root is used in a multitude of dishes and has fantastic healing benefits.

Science has long known that plants could be used to promote healing and prevent disease. Many of our modern medicines are derived from plants. Ancient written records show that our ancestors used plants for healing; animals did the same. Some of these same plants and spices are used in modern kitchens, and to most, their healing properties are largely unknown.

Western Medicine

Turmeric is one of those incredible spices. It has historically been burned to relieve congestion, turned into a paste to help heal skin conditions, and even worn to ward off evil spirits. Turmeric’s vibrant color comes from curcumin, which is jam-packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is known to attack cancer cells and protect healthy cells from cancer-causing agents. It also helps to lower cholesterol, aid in digestive balance, ward off Alzheimer’s, and prevent heart disease.

Eastern Medicine

From a TCM perspective, this earthy, peppery root supports the function of your Stomach and Spleen. TCM believes that warming foods such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger help to heal and nourish the body, keeping your organs and entire system functioning properly. While certain foods may have more healing properties than others, no one food is a miracle cure. Turmeric has definite healing benefits, and when paired with a healthy, balanced lifestyle of little stress, happiness, meditation, and foods for healing, turmeric can provide your body with a good, healthy boost.

Chefs also love working with turmeric because it is packed with pungent flavor. So, let’s get cooking!

Follow these tips:

1. Fresh is best! Use a mortar and pestle to mash fresh turmeric root into a paste.

2. If you cannot find the fresh root, buy turmeric powder. Store it in a tin in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

3. A little goes a long way! Just a dash of turmeric will perk up a bowl of soup or a spinach omelet.

Go Beyond!

Try some recipes using turmeric, such as Spiced Cauliflower.

Hurry! Our next Dragon’s Way Qigong session starts Monday, January 24! In this (virtual) 6-week program, you’ll learn 10 Qigong movements, and will begin to incorporate eating-for-healing and TCM guidance into your daily life. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind program, and register today! Space is limited.