Herbal Ally Series: Why Should I Take Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
The incredible turmeric root is an adaptogen- adaptogens are a particular class of herbs taken consistently over time that provide stabilization of physiological processes that promote homeostasis within the body. That’s a fancy way of saying, adaptogens help us establish our set point of balance.
A member of the ginger family, this vibrant golden orange spice may be thought of as foreign by some. It’s predominant in Eastern medicine and food traditions, but it is an important herbal ally to know intimately and have on hand for both cooking and daily wellness. It has been used widely in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric has a long history as an herbal ally. This fragrant rhizome is, perhaps, best known for its ability to support gastrointestinal relief and anti-inflammatory relief. However, it is antimicrobial, cardioprotective (heart), neuroprotective (nervous system), hepatoprotective (liver), carminative (warming). Additionally, it has been found to decrease blood cholesterol and to relieve allergic and asthmatic responses associated with airborne irritants such as hay fever, pet dander, pollen, and dust.
Because turmeric is known to have so many molecular targets within the body, it is a special plant to call upon when inflammation and stagnancy is problematic. Whether it’s an upset stomach, rheumatic joints, or skin flare ups, turmeric truly is my go-to herb for just about everything, including exhaustion, general achiness, or being energetically low and melancholic.
Furthermore, it is regarded as an important pharmacological adjunct (to be used in addition to) to cancer and cardiovascular treatments. Turmeric has extensive research behind its usage and has full support in the herbal community as well as the street cred of the conventional medicine community. It is not uncommon for western medical doctors to encourage patients to supplement turmeric in their diet for inflammation support.
I have had many customers tell me they take turmeric for rheumatoid arthritis, edema, bursitis, sleep, and Covid-19 recovery and our Golden Milk is their favorite way to take it.
When to reach for Turmeric:
- With the onset of achiness that accompanies cold/flu/illness; can continue through convalescence
- Can be helpful with an upset stomach if the active inflammation isn’t too extensive
- To help reduce pain associated with arthritis, bursitis, and other joint inflammation
- Can help reduce swelling and edema where poor circulation causes pooling of fluids
- Can act as a gastric stimulant (help with underactive stomach secretions)
- With the onset of an airborne allergic reaction
- Before bed to help calm the body and prepare for a restful sleep
- To promote and boost milk production in lactation
Turmeric is generally thought to be safe across all age groups and health identities and can be taken consistently without adverse effects. The exception is that turmeric should be avoided if there is an active inflammation of the stomach; it can be resumed once the irritation resides to help stabilize.
As always, though, check with your care provider about taking turmeric with prescription medications.
How to use Turmeric:
Tea/food Preparation: blend 1-2 tsp into foods or drinks. It can be taken in tincture form, as pill (my least favorite way), cooked into foods or added into drinks.
Our number one suggestion for how to take turmeric for inflammation or other ailments is our best-selling item, Golden Milk. Golden Milk can be added to your milk of choice and a bit of honey for a delicious warming drink. Blended with a few additional spices to promote assimilation (black pepper help activate, ginger/cinnamon/cardamom help with blood flow) into the body, we see over and over from our people that our blend helps calm hyperactive immune systems. We love that our Golden Milk can be used in stews, smoothies, even added to coffee.
For recipe ideas, check out our blog post: Immune Boosting Recipes: Golden Milk 3 Ways