By Miwa Hiroe
The Root of All…Goodness?
Turmeric root, adaptable and multifaceted. It’s like the Apple Cider Vinegar of South Asia. While edible, raw turmeric is also used as a culinary spice, in beauty products, as a dye, and in both oral and topical medications. The beauty of this root is that it seems to have benefits for nearly everything (aside from your heirloom white linens) – an ingredient that epitomizes food as medicine.
Comfort For The Cold Days Ahead:
Curcumin, the chemical compound in turmeric, is a high powered combatant for a plethora of winter related ailments. Its anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, circulation enhancing, astringent and mucus tackling properties are both remedy and prevention for the flares of arthritis, coughs, colds, flus, and sinus infections.
This golden ingredient has a warming effect and finds itself in cozy, welcoming dishes – perfect for winter. If your imagination gets stuck on “curry” and you’re craving an inspirational nudge in the kitchen, try a soothing cup of
A hearty bowl of winter vegetable stew: http://ohsheglows.com/2016/11/23/cozy-butternut-sweet-potato-and-red-lentil-stew/
Or these easy and versatile savoury wraps: www.alpenglownutrition.ca/recipes/2017/2/23/cumin-turmeric-chickpea-wraps
Turmeric can taste bitter in excess, but is otherwise fairly subtle. If, however, you just can’t learn to enjoy the taste (or for the convenience of kitchen free traveling) it can be taken in capsules.
On The Topic of Topicals:
I had a friend from India stay with me for a month last summer. She said they used turmeric on their skin while bathing but admitted that North America’s indoor showers would be a grievous place for the colourful cleanser. Instead, let’s talk local application.
Turmeric is a great home remedy for minor sprains, burns, cuts, insect bites and itches. It’s antibiotic properties prevent bacterial infection; anti-inflammatory properties relieve inflammation, analgesic properties relieve pain, and on top of all that it supports the formation of new skin cells. It can be added to salves, pastes, ointments, and poultices.
If you like wearing food for a Do-It-Yourself spa, turmeric is an antioxidant which helps reduce the effects of aging. It also benefits an array of skin conditions, from oily to dry and itchy. I haven’t tried a turmeric mask yet, but if you see me at the store with exceptionally glowing skin or a yellowish looking tan, feel free to approach me about its effectiveness.
Tips on Using Turmeric:
- Turmeric is fat soluble. Try taking it with ghee (clarified butter), coconut milk or a nut milk.
- It is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten with black pepper (which contains piperine)
- Be careful when/if adding it directly to hot oil, it burns easily.
- Do a patch test or use less than the recommended amount of turmeric if you are using it in a homemade skin product and have fair skin.
- If a turmeric stain occurs, try using lemon juice for skin, or baking soda for fabrics. Hydrogen peroxide can be added to a washing load. If all else fails, the long lost art of embroidery and patching can hide almost any accident.