Bon Appetit Wednesday! The Magic of Ancient Turmeric

turmericIf you love curry, you’ve undoubtedly tasted turmeric and loved its unique, taste-infused flavor. However, you may not know much about this amazing spice. Well it’s time to change that and become familiar with an ancient ingredient that possesses incredible healing properties. Today’s recipe is for Turmeric “Golden Milk,” an extremely simple but fantastically powerful drink. Also, it’s National Dairy Month in the United States, so you can celebrate the goodness of dairy while enjoying the health benefits of turmeric.

Turmeric has been used for over 4,000 years as an ingredient in a wide variety of recipes as well as an effective treatment for numerous ailments. Pots found in New Delhi dating back to 2500 BCE were found to contain residue from turmeric, as well as ginger and garlic.[1] During the Vedic period (circa 1750-500 BCE) turmeric became important in the Hindu religion.[2] To this day, it is considered sacred and is used in weddings and worship ceremonies. Beginning around 500 BCE, turmeric emerged as an integral element in Ayurveda medicine, a system of natural healing that originated in India and has devotees around the world.[3] According to ancient Ayurveda medicine, “inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds and bruises, and turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox to blemishes and shingles.”[4]

Of course, turmeric isn’t just a religious symbol and medicine. It is a flavorful spice used widely in South Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. As turmeric’s popularity traveled the ancient world, most likely reaching “China by 700 CE, East Africa by 800 CE, West Africa by 1200 CE, and Jamaica in the eighteenth century,” people marveled at the spice that so closely resembled the much more expensive saffron (click here to read our Bon Appetit Wednesday post on saffron).[5] It made an especially big splash in the creation of curries. In fact, it is the ingredient that gives curry its distinctive yellow-orange color.

Today, turmeric is enjoying something of a resurgence. Modern doctors and naturopaths are rediscovering its benefits. The active substance in turmeric that gives it such powerful healing properties is called curcumin. Below are some of the numerous medicinal applications of curcumin used today via turmeric:[6]

  • Fighting skin cancer.
  • Building heart health.
  • Treating wounds.
  • Reducing depression.
  • Relieving arthritis pain.
  • Reducing the formation of scar tissue.
  • Protecting against inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Treating colds and the flu.

The recipe we’re bringing you today is especially helpful in fighting respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. It can ease symptoms of congestion, headache and sore throat. It is also delicious. Even if you’re not feeling under-the-weather, “Golden Milk” is a fast, healthy and yummy treat for kids and adults.

Golden Turmeric Milk

Gluten Free buttonRecipe courtesy of AntiquityNOW Staff

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of milk (coconut, almond, dairy, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or dried cinnamon (use both if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Honey to taste

Instructions

  1. Place milk and spices in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer while whisking to combine. It is important that you let the milk heat to a full simmer so the turmeric will be less bitter.
  3. Turn off the heat, cover and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or so in order to aid infusion of the spices.
  4. Add honey to taste and serve warm!

[1] Avey, T. (2015, March 9). What is the History of Turmeric? Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-kitchen/turmeric-history/

[2] Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. (n.d.). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/

[3] Avey, T.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Prasad, S.

[6] Turmeric Benefits, Uses: The weird and the wild and the really orange…. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2015, from http://www.freshbitesdaily.com/turmeric/

2 responses to “Bon Appetit Wednesday! The Magic of Ancient Turmeric

  1. Pingback: Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Dairy Month | AntiquityNOW

  2. Pingback: Bon Appetit Wednesday! Cook the World’s Oldest Curry Recipe | AntiquityNOW

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