While turmeric is not a plant that I can grow in my backyard or house ( I did try some tubers in pots), it is an herb that I use frequently in both food and medicine. Thankfully fresh turmeric is easy for me to buy in the grocery store. They look a bit like small, scaly, knobby carrots. It is also very cheap and easy to buy as a powder.
This “immune aid” is one of my favorite things to prepare all year round. I love it ice cold in the summer after a hot day in working in the garden. It is also nice served hot with a bit of honey after a winter hike. The ingredients in this drink are known to reduce inflammation, increase blood and Qi circulation, support the immune system, fight infections, clear phlegm or heat, and may reduce the formation of blood clots. If you wanted something that is easy to make, inexpensive and could serve as a safe, daily preventative for many things you might consider trying this recipe. It is not suitable for individuals on blood thinners or with a clotting disorder.
1/4-1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger root
One 1-3 inch piece of fresh turmeric root grated or 1 tsp of dried powder
Juice and peel of one medium lemon
1/2 cup of fresh feverfew leaves loosely packed. Or 1/4 cup dried.
Fill a large saucepan with a generous quart of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and add your ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. remove pan from heat and strain out the solids. Store “tea” in the refrigerator until you wish to use it. Reheat if desired. Add honey or other sweetener if desired.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It is not native to the continental US. It is the aromatic rhizome of a perennial plant that grows in the tropics. It is very common and easy to find in most grocery stores worldwide. It can be cultivated or found in the wild. It has leaves that extend upward from erect, thick stems arising from the a 2 foot rootstock (really a network of underground stems). These are firm, thick, fibrous, fleshy and oblong rhizomes. Each about 2–3 inches in length, close to 1 inch wide and tapered at each end. The outside skins can can be yellow, tan, or olive-green. The interior of the rhizomes can be orange-brown or deeply rust-colored, with transverse resinous parallel rings. The plant’s leaves are divided, blade shaped and narrow at the end. They are close to 2 ft long and a deep green. The flowers are a pale yellow color, growing in groups of three to five on a spike. It has a warming, somewhat bitter and peppy taste that might remind you of ginger.
This plant is known for removing stagnation and increasing blood flow. Turmeric has a history of treating gallstones, water retention, pain, poor circulation, cramping, colic, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, bloating, gas, colds, nausea, fungal infections, bacterial infections, jaundice, menstrual issues, insomnia, restless mind, and cancer. It is thought to increase the flow of bile, protect the liver from absorbing toxins, to be an anti-inflammatory, control blood sugar levels, stimulate the immune system and prevent the formation of blood clots. With external use it may treat psoriasis, eczema, thrush, athlete’s foot, bruises, wounds, and swelling.
Family:Zingiberaceae (not related to ginseng)
Part used: the rhizome
Energetics:pungent, sweet, warm, dry
Contraindications:avoid medicinal use in pregnancy. Do not use if you are on blood thinners , have a clotting disorder or ulcers. May cause a dermatitis or photosensitivity in some people.