If I was moving to another planet or something equally dramatic and I could only take one liquid herb with me, it would be Turmeric.
Why? It’s amazing. And it would make me the best Naturopath in outer space.
There isn’t much Tumeric can’t support or improve. It quite frankly makes us as Naturopaths look good. It is well known as an anti-inflammatory, for its antioxidant and antimicrobial actions, as well as for its brain and liver protective qualities.
Clinical trials (Naturopaths love these) have shown Turmeric (or curcumin) to be beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis, postoperative inflammation, osteoarthritis, precancerous conditions, psoriasis, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Turmeric from your spice rack can be made up into a paste and applied topically for self-treatment of small infections or wounds that don’t require medical attention. (Keep your Turmeric in a dark place or in a dark jar since curcumin decomposes on exposure to light.)
You can pop Turmeric in your curries, on your meat as a marinade, or you can drink it in Turmeric milk (see below.)
Then there’s curcumin. Curcumin is the yellow pigment in Turmeric that is the key active component. So you’d think you could just buy a supplement with lots of curcumin in it and you’re set! This is where is all gets confusing.
The problem with Turmeric as a powder in your spice rack is that it isn’t very bioavailable. This means that a lot of the Turmeric ingested, isn’t absorbed by the intestines. If you’re having Turmeric regularly, and you’re lucky enough to be in good health, this is fine. You’ll be absorbing enough to support your good health.
The trick as a Naturopath is to enhance this bioavailability so that you get as much of the active ingredients as possible for your health. This is where we start throwing around terms like BCM-95, Curcumin with piperine and liquid herbal extract Turmeric.
So should you just run out and grab a curcumin tablet? After all, curcumin is the main active ingredient.
For some treatments, curcumin has been shown to be more effective on its own, especially where precancerous conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease are indicated.
But, curcumin isn’t the only active ingredient in Turmeric. In some cases, curcumin free Turmeric was even shown to have immune boosting benefits!
Like with many other extracts, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Quite often, whole Turmeric is winning out for health benefits. And for bioavailability? You can’t go past a liquid extract.
There are still incredible benefits to taking curcumin supplements and using Turmeric in your diet every chance you get.
This great recipe for Turmeric milk is a winter favourite for me. There are lots of different recipes out there, so feel free to experiment.
1/2 cup of milk (or almond milk)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Mixed spice to taste (or just cinnamon, or nutmeg, or a little black pepper)
A little good quality honey (not heat-treated) or rice malt syrup
I’m a lazy cook, so I pop everything in the saucepan except for the sweetener and bring it to a nearly boil. Then I pour it into mugs and add the honey or rice malt syrup.
That aside, if you want the kick-arse, punch throwing, no holes barred and occasionally bench top staining version of Turmeric, then I’m a huge believer in the liquid extract.
That liquid gold goodness just has to be doing good things for your insides, just don’t splash it around your kitchen.