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Turmeric: Nature’s Most Powerful Herb

TurmericBy Danni Coyote

Turmeric is arguably the most potent and powerful medicinal herb found in your pantry. If it isn’t in your pantry, it really should be. Turmeric is a plant native to Southern Asia, and is harvested for the medicinal properties of its rhizomes, or roots. It is in the same family as ginger, and of the genus curcuma. 

Science has recently started backing what Indians and Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries about this spice, thrusting it into the limelight of complimentary medicine and trendy nutritional supplements. Turmeric boasts a myriad of pharmaceutic and therapeutic properties, such as anti-inflammatory effects, powerful antioxidants, improved neurological function, relief from arthritis and depression, and may be linked to decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. This is due to the compounds found in turmeric, called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric, and can be extracted and effectively consumed alone for an amplified effect, since the curcumin content in turmeric is surprisingly not very potent.

Unfortunately, curcumin has poor bioavailability in the human body, because it is rapidly metabolized in the liver and intestinal wall. The good news is that you can combine turmeric or extracted curcumin with certain dietary additions to enhance the absorption by up to 2000%. Curcumin is a fat soluble compound, so taking it with a meal, especially one that contains healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado, is beneficial. Pairing turmeric with the flavonoid quercetin will also help to boost bioavailability. Foods rich in quercetin are dark fruits, like cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, and black plums, and dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale. The most effective way to amplify absorption of curcumin is to eat it alongside black pepper, which contains piperine, an alkaloid that inhibits the rapid metabolic function that destroys curcumin.

So, while turmeric can be hailed as a miracle herb, it can be fruitless to consume it alone, as it requires the synergy of other natural superfoods to truly be of service to the body.

L i q u i d G o l d

• 2 cups water
• 1 tsp cardamom
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp cloves
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 2 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 4 cinnamon sticks
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1 Tbsp honey
• 4 black tea bags
• coconut milk to serve

Mix all ingredients, except tea bags and coconut milk, and bring to a
light boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 8
minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep for 10
minutes. Strain the mixture into a container. This is your chai
concentrate. To serve, warm a half cup of the concentrate mixed with
the coconut milk. Froth with a whisk and serve with cinnamon sprinkle!

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