It is the middle of January. Usually a grey time of the year. A long, sometimes rather depressing month. We are feeling the aftermaths of Christmas. Perhaps both in the form of tighter jeans and an emptier wallet. If this is you, then I’m positively confident that this warming, nourishing, golden liquid is just the thing to lift your spirits. If you could drink sunshine, then a cup of turmeric tea would be just that. You can feel how this tea invigorates your cells from the inside out, just as the first warming rays of sunshine awaken the seeds in the ground, nourishing and nudging them to grow and eventually flourish into beautiful flowers.
In the last couple of years I have begun to appreciate the different season more. I also have started to look at them as part of the cycle of life. Winter is the time for rest and recuperation. Spring is the time for growth and development. Summer is the time to flourish. Autumn is the time were we finally reap the rewards of the work we have done, before it is time to slow down again. The winter solstice has been and gone and the days are gradually getting longer. One of the good things about living in Ireland is that you notice “a stretch in the evenings” quiet quickly. I felt a whiff of Spring the other day. But, let’s not get carried away. It is still only the middle of January..
Turmeric is a super food. There is no two-ways about that. It is most commonly used in its powder form. Fresh turmeric is a root and grows freely in countries such as India and Indonesia. It is one of the main ingredients in curry blends. Turmeric is also often used as a natural food colouring. Be aware, it does tend to stain everything!
Turmeric is still used a lot in Indian cooking. But it also heavily used for its medicinal properties. The spice is one of the most researched natural compounds in modern time. Some studies has shown the most potent part of Turmeric, Curcumin, to be as potent as NSAID – drugs, when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation. Other studies has shown a marked effect on cancer due to its strong antioxidant capacity. As a spice it has many positive effects on our immune system, so we are doing ourselves a huge favour by including some more of its goldilicousness in our lives.
When I was studying nutritional therapy in college a few years ago, I remember my lecturer suggesting adding about a teaspoon to a little yoghurt and eating it, as a medicinal way of using the spice. Perhaps not the most palatable way as it turned out. Of course you can add it to all your curries and soups where the yellow colour will work. Turmeric has an earthy, slightly bitter flavour, that is quiet easily masked, but not by natural yoghurt! I came across the original version of this tea when researching on of my favourite blogs for a recipe for an entirely different ingredient. The headline caught my eye and of course I had to try it out. After testing out the original version, I made my own flavour combination. The use of honey to blend the spices is really clever as it makes them dissolve a lot better in the warm water. My mix with cinnamon and cardamom, seem to neutralise that earthiness form the turmeric so it will suit even those with a slightly sweeter palate. These spices have add their own health benefits. See more here. The cayenne pepper will help the body absorb the goodness from the turmeric better. Don’t leave out the lemon juice at the end. It is key for balancing the flavours and offers detoxing support for the liver. So go on, drink some sunshine! And beat those winter blues.
Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea
Makes enough for 7-8 cups of tea
4 tbsp quality honey, preferably local
2 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
Add the honey and all the spices to a small glass jar. Stir until well combined and a honey-spice paste is formed. To make the tea add a heaped tsp of paste to a cup. Add hot water (off the boil) and stir. Squeeze some lemon juice into your warm golden liquid. Keep stirring your tea in between your sips as the turmeric tends to sink to the bottom. Enjoy the nourishing feeling of doing something good for yourself.
This is the original recipe but using fresh turmeric root instead. You can of course add a slice of fresh ginger too.
Turmeric Tea – using fresh root
1/2 fresh turmeric root, sliced
1 tsp honey, preferably local
fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
Finely slice the fresh turmeric root and add to a mug. Add the honey. Pour some warm water over the fresh root and honey. N.B. it is important that the water is off the boil as otherwise it will destroy the nutrients. Add the lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. The black pepper will help with the absorption of nutrients. Cover your cup with a small plate and let the tea properly infuse for 4-5 min before you drink it.