Turmeric—that 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.
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 sprits. 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, and prevent heart disease.
From the chef’s perspective, turmeric is packed with pungent flavor. This earthy, somewhat bitter, peppery root supports the function of your Stomach and Spleen. TCM believes that warming foods such as turmeric help to heal and nourish the body, keeping your organs and entire system functioning properly.
Now that you know the benefits of turmeric, let’s get cooking! Follow these tips:
1. Fresh is always best! Use a mortar and pestle to mash fresh turmeric root into a paste that can be used in a multitude of savory dishes.
2. If you cannot find the fresh root, buy dried turmeric powder. Store it in a tin in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
3. A little goes a long way! Use just a dash of turmeric to perk up a bowl of soup or a spinach omelet.
Take this recipe for a spin: Spiced Cauliflower