Queen of all medicinal plants, fresh turmeric root and its antioxidative ingredient, curcumin, is thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, strengthen the immune system, and support overall health and wellness. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to heal wounds, strengthen digestion, support liver health and detoxification, and lower inflammation, and is an important sattivic herb in ayurvedic medicine for its purifying and balancing properties. Turmeric strengthens the stomach and promotes healthy digestion, thanks to its cold, sweet, and sour properties.
In order to reap all of turmeric’s benefits, you must consume it in a way that makes it bioavailable. Studies have demonstrated that curcumin, the yellow pigment that gives turmeric its characteristic hue and most of its health benefits, is not easily absorbed. Fortunately, following a few simple guidelines will help you maximize absorption:
- Consume black pepper along with turmeric. This increases bioavailability by 2000%.
- Consume turmeric with healthy fats.
- Consume turmeric in whole-root form rather than powdered; in its fresh form, the bioavailabilty of curcumin is increased.
Try this recipe for Neka’s take on a traditional Indian Ayurvedic hot drink, Warm Turmeric Milk, using cashew milk instead of cow’s milk. It is soothing and great for boosting the immune system, helping address symptoms of colds, flu, and sore throats.
Warm Turmeric Milk
2 cups (16 fl oz / 500 ml) Cashew Milk
1-inch (2.5 cm) knob turmeric, finely grated
1-inch (2.5 cm) knob ginger, finely grated
Small pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon local honey
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cashew milk. While it is warming, add the turmeric, ginger, and pepper, stirring well. Let cook on low heat until simmering. Let cook on low heat until simmering, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10-12 minutes. Strain the mixture into a mug and stir in the honey.
Makes 1 serving.
Source: Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers