Natural Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief with Turmeric
TUR-MER-IC (‘ter-ma-rik or tyu-ma-rik)
Turmeric is derived from the underground stems (rhizomes) of the Curcuma plant, a member of the ginger family. A well-known spice in Indian cuisine, it is responsible for the yellow color of curry dishes and also of American mustard. This knobby root is warming and slightly bitter, and its most active constituent, curcumin, has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many of us in the holistic wellness and whole health food professions have known for several years what many cultures have known for centuries of the numerous therapeutic benefits Turmeric yields, and now, this spice is steadily gaining popularity among those who want to benefit from its powerful properties, especially as an alternative to over-the-counter NSAIDs.
Studies have discovered many conditions curcumin may help; below are just five.
Top 5 Health Benefits
- Anti-Inflammatory (internal & joint/muscle & acute injury)
- Help in Reducing Pain
- Anti-Cancer Properties
- Gut Health – from aiding with digestion to helping repair damage and calm inflammatory conditions like IBD and colitis.
- Skin – can speed up wound healing, reduce psoriasis flares, calm pores, and decrease acne
Ways to Get the Benefits
- Cook with it! No need to limit to curry dishes – add to soups, vegetables, and spice rubs for meats.
- Add it to smoothies.
- Drink Turmeric Tea
- Best Way: To ensure consistency with a therapeutic punch, take via tincture or capsules daily as directed.
Most Important and Most Missing Tip
Add black pepper to flip the therapeutic switch. The compound piperine (Piper Nigrum L, trademark name “BioPerine”) in black pepper boosts the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by 2,000% and together is a powerhouse of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re considering adding Turmeric in supplement form, be sure it includes piperine/BioPerine.
As always, check with a medical professional before adding a supplement, especially if you take regular prescription or over-the-counter medicines, supplements or herbs. Possible interactions include blood-thinning medications, acid reducers, and drugs for diabetes. More information about interactions from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Additional sources for more information on turmeric: National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
GOLDEN MILK (Turmeric Tea)
There are MANY variations of how to make Golden Milk. Experiment and see how you like it best!
- 1 – 1.5 cups plant-based milk such as coconut, almond, ‘Ripple’ (pea protein) – I like to use a combination.
- 1 Tablespoon peeled, grated fresh turmeric -or- 1 rounded teaspoon ground
- 1 – 2 slices of fresh ginger
- A couple cranks of freshly ground pepper (to flip the therapeutic switch!)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper if you like a bit of heat
- Pinch of non-processed salt – try Himalayan Pink Salt
- Raw, local honey to taste
- Strain before serving
‘Drinkers of Golden Milk can also reap the benefits of ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory that can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, bursitis and other musculoskeletal ailments. Additionally, Golden Milk is flavored by black pepper, whose sharp taste comes from the alkaloid piperine, which enhances the absorption and the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. Plus, black pepper contains a number of essential nutrients, including manganese, iron and Vitamin K, and is commonly used to calm digestive issues.’ – Andrew Weil, MD