Lots of people have their go-tos when feeling out of sorts. I have my teas. I got a little experimental adding a massive dollop of turmeric to my spice tea. It seemed to do the trick and given the amount of this sweet ambrosia I have been drinking all week, it is shocking that I haven't turned completely yellow. Turmeric tea, however, is here to stay.
Over the years I have been enjoying a turmeric tea, if not daily, definitely a few times a week. I love loading my teas with loads of anti-inflammatory herbs to keep inflammation down and the immune system healthy.
One of the most popular posts and recipes I've ever written (besides the ditty on Arbonne), is this one. I had been to introduced turmeric as an herb in tea while running a retreat in St. Lucia and have been hooked since.
Inflammation is running wild in our bodies these days, leading to all kinds of seemingly disconnected symptoms, from joint pain to food allergies to digestive troubles. Turmeric's active ingredient curcumin is one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs.
12 Health Benefits of Turmeric
- Antioxidant: Curcumin has the ability to quench free radicals that can cause mutation in our DNA.
- Cancer Preventative: The cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoke, barbequing, and smoke of any kind are suppressed by curcumin.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory powers are as effective as many anti-inflammatory drugs, including effective as phenylbutazone and cortisone without the side effects.
- Liver Protective: Curcumin has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver and is incredibly effective at increasing bile release, which helps with fat digestion.
- Wound Healing: Natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties to keep the infection away from cuts and burns.
- Super Brain Function: Curcumin greatly reduces the rate of mental decline. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
- Kills the Bad Guys: Curcumin has anti-microbial properties that fight the nasty guys such as Clostridium, Streptococcus, Entamoeba histolytica, and several pathogenic fungi.
- Natural Pain Killer: Helps reduce sensations of chronic pain. Yay more of this!
- Promote Weightloss: Helps manage weight, and aid in fat metabolism.
- Reduce Depression: A staple in Chinese medicine for helping lift mood in cases of depression.
- Boost Effectiveness of Cancer Drugs: Studies have shown that turmeric can boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
- Skin Healing: Can help internally and topically with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Most often, we enjoy turmeric when flavouring (and gorgaliciously colouring) our favourite Indian curries. Turmeric is what gives these dishes that orange glow (and it unfortunately stains your counters and blender). You can also find it as a whole root, if you're lucky to live somewhere where that's available, but most often I use the dried, powdered version.
Basic Turmeric Tea Recipe
This is my original turmeric tea recipe and it makes an excellent jumping off place if you're just starting to experiment with turmeric in your beverages. This one is very simple and very effective. As you acquire a taste for turmeric tea, you may find you can tolerate and enjoy increasing the amount of turmeric you use.
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of clove
- pinch of nutmeg
- tsp fresh ginger (optional)
- pinch of fresh ground black pepper*
- As much turmeric as you can handle! Start with a teaspoon and go up from there.
- 1-2 cups of water
- Raw honey to sweeten
- Milk sub of choice (I went with fresh coconut milk, but almond and hemp would both be delicious)
- Simmer herbs and water together for 10 mins.
- Strain out and add honey and milk.
- Boil water in your kettle and add to blender (a blender with gradual speed increase will reduce likely hood of pressure from steam of boiled water exploding out of your blender).
- Add in spices and blend until smooth and unified in colour.
- Strain out tea and add milk and honey.
Make It A Turmeric Tonic
The difference between a straight-up tea and a tonic, is that we're now introducing a few additional herbs along with higher amounts of fat.
To craft up this powerhouse drink, I added some other top notch anti-inflammatory herbs to the mix including cloves, cardamom seeds, goji berries and a pinch of cayenne. I tossed in the power fat hemp seeds for their anti-inflammatory omega 3s, as well as organic clarified butter (also known as ghee) for its gut-healing and nervous system-fueling medium chain saturated fats.
Fat is a pretty important part of any herbal tonic. See, herbs have different medicinal components to them, some of which are water soluble and others that are fat soluble. When you add a shlop of fat to your herbal bevvys, you're getting the best of both worlds - the full medicinal kapow. And you could always use coconut oil if you kick it vegan.
I sweetened the brew with a little dollop of raw honey. This is truly culinary nutrition at its very, very best - something that tastes super amazing, and fuels every cell of your body with bullet proof health.
And this, my friends, is the next level, bullet proof Turmeric Tea Tonic recipe. Drink it in the best health ever!
Yield: 1 serving
- 1½ cups hot water
- ½ tsp up to 1 tsp dried turmeric powder (work your way up!) or 1 inch fresh turmeric root, peeled and chopped
- ½ tsp cardamom seeds
- ½ tsp whole cloves or ¼ tsp ground
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of black pepper (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Goji Berries
- 2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Ghee or Coconut Oil
- 1 Tbsp honey, or to taste
- Place all ingredients in your high speed venting blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour through a fine mesh sieve and enjoy.
- Place water, turmeric, cardamon seeds, cloves, cayenne and goji berries into a pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain out liquid and allow it to cool, then blend with hemp seeds, ghee and honey. You may choose to put this back on the stove to heat to desired sipping temperature.
See, we Culinary Nutrition Experts all have our faves.
As these recipes have become increasingly popular over the years, your questions have continued to roll in. I have put together an FAQ to hopefully help get you on your Turmeric-Tea Loving way!
FAQ On Turmeric Tea
(Turmeric root in abundance!)
What kind of turmeric do you use. Is it the same one as the turmeric in the spice section of the grocery store?
It is! I always choose organic, non-irradiated spices. Frontier Organics is a great spice brand.
I only have ground spices, not whole. Can I use them in the same quantity that you have in your recipe?
Yes, you can absolutely use pre-ground spices! You would likely want to use slightly less, and may be able to skip the 'straining' step if they are ground very fine.
Is it possible to make the tea with fresh turmeric?
Absolutely! And it's even better with fresh in my opinion. You'll likely want to start with 1/2 to 1 inch of fresh ginger, scrubbed and chopped fine.
Should I add black pepper to my tea concoction since they say that it boosts the effects greatly?
I have added black pepper to the recipes as options. Piperine, an active ingredient in black pepper can make the curcumin more absorbent when curcumin is taken in supplement form. As a whole food, as we're using it here, the naturally occurring oils and addition of fat in the tonic version, many of the fat-soluble properties will be readily absorbed.
Can I empty out a couple of turmeric/curcumin capsules into the tea in place of the turmeric seasoning from the grocery store?
You can, but it might be little bit of a waste. I have personally never tried the capsules but they are a concentration of the active component. When using in culinary applications, I typically recommend sticking to a whole food form and saving the capsules for therapeutic dosing.
Does a supplement (pill) of turmeric have the same effect? I don't like tea.
You will get some similar benefits from a turmeric supplement. There is also a lot of benefit to the synergistic effects that happen when you combine these spices- not to mention the lifestyle benefits of sitting quietly and sipping a cup of warm, homemade herbal tea.
I notice you say to add as much turmeric as you can handle, but how much is too much per day?
There aren't really limits as we're using it in culinary uses, not therapeutic doses. One or two cups of this tea a day is no problem, unless your natural health care provider has advised of a potential contra-indication. Typically with natural foods, your body and taste buds tell you when you have had enough.
Could I get same results placing the ingredients in an empty tea bag rather than having to strain the water every time?
You could definitely simmer all of the ingredients in a large tea bag, or even a small sack made from cheesecloth. However, placing the ingredients in a tea bag and letting them steep in a hot water as you would a for a green tea, wouldn't get out all of the medicinal constituents.
Why do have to use milk in the recipe?
You don't have to use anything you don't want to! The milk is nice as it adds a creaminess that balances the flavour, and the fat in the milk can also help increase the absorption of the fat-soluble constituents.
How much milk substitute do you use?
Is a glug a technical term? Usually just enough to mix in and make it creamy looking and tasting- maybe 1/4 of a cup?
Why does your recipe say to strain the tea? And how do you do it?
I include straining the tea in the directions as if you are using whole spices, even after blending, they are likely going to be a little chunky. I love straining my teas that use whole herbs to ensure a smooth consistency. I use a small mesh strainer like this one.
Could turmeric tea make your skin yellow? I've heard about people who drink too much carrot juice and their skin turns yellow.
Turmeric tea will make your skin yellow if you apply it yo your skin. If working with fresh turmeric, it may turn your fingertips yellow as you cut it. I have never heard of anyone turning yellow from drinking too much. In fact, I have heard of people using it as a tooth whitener, but I've never been brave enough to try.
This tea turned my blender yellow! What do I do?
Celebrate that you're putting your new appliance to great use. Turmeric may stain the inside of your blender yellow but it will fade over time. Some have said leaving your blender out in the sunshine will help remove the yellow. I just let mine go in the cycles of yellow to not yellow depending on what I am making.
After boiling the root, can it be used again as in smoothies? Will there still be nutritional value left in the root?
Similar to juicing, or making nut milk, after you have cooked the turmeric, what is left behind is mostly just fibre. You have pulled out all of the magic so there isn't a huge nutritional benefit to eating roots after they've been boiled out.
Is anything lost by not stovetop-ing or blending the mixture? Couldn't someone just microwave the water, and (tenaciously) stir the mixture after it is placed in?
I don't ever recommend microwave use. The simmering and/or blending helps break down and draw out some of the medicinal constituents. If you really, really, really don't want to bother, your best bet is to boil a kettle of water and stir in the spices that way, but you won't be getting as much benefit.
Can a make a pot of this in advance and store it in my fridge?
You sure can! It is best fresh or consumed in 2-3 days. And when you are reheating, do it over low heat on your stovetop.