Turmeric teas, turmeric lattes, turmeric “golden” milk, and turmeric elixirs are trending in America these days. This is a good thing. But what makes the consumption of turmeric root meaningful to me is its incredible history as a natural medicine.
Ayurveda, which is a 4,000-year-old holistic medical system, reveres turmeric. Ayurvedic doctors use it most frequently to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma, liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, turmeric has a long history of use in treating abdominal pain.
Actually, the list of ailments turmeric helps would be enough to fill a thick book. The benefits of turmeric are vast. I believe it is very fitting to call it a cure-all.
Benefits of turmeric
Turmeric is unique in that it is one of the few food-as-medicine foods to be studied extensively by modern scientists.
Scientists’ interest is primarily in curcumin, the primary active ingredient in turmeric.
There is substantial proof that curcumin is effective in reducing inflammation. This is very good news, since inflammation happens to be rampant in the world today.
I believe this property is very, very important, and reason enough to make this turmeric elixir recipe and enjoy more turmeric.
Inflammation is a factor in allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and many, many more conditions that ail us.
The second major property in turmeric is as a cholagogue. This property stimulates bile production in the liver and encourages excretion of bile from the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
Since the average modern diet tends to be high in fat, this is a much needed medicine.
Turmeric’s third major property is as a potent antioxidant, which helps to protect cells from damage and keep us healthy.
The golden root also has antimutagenic (read anti-tumor), antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. Also much needed.
If you are interested in pursuing turmeric as medicine for a specific ailment, you should consult with a doctor before ingesting large amounts of it in capsule form.
In the meantime, you could test the effect of turmeric on your health by trying my turmeric elixir cure-all recipe, or by adding it to your food.
Benefits of turmeric
In India, where 80 percent of the world’s turmeric is consumed, people mainly consume it in their food.
You can read my post about how I followed my father-in-law’s advice to this effect, and about how I have learned to love turmeric in food.
Many of the recipes on Buttered Veg incorporate turmeric. I like to think of turmeric as a canvas that supports other flavors.
Turmeric is a root belonging to the same family as ginger.
It is golden orange in color and tastes mildly pungent and bitter. In my opinion, the bitter flavor is so mild that you hardly taste it.
In food and drink, turmeric generally improves digestion and reduces gas and bloating. What is not to love?
Why you should make turmeric elixir
When I drink turmeric elixir cure-all, I experience it as clean, balancing, and cleansing to my mind and body.
The elixir feels like it is healing my every cell. It is the most refreshing thing after being outside in the garden and feeling hot.
It is my go-to drink when I need nourishment and a pick-me-up.
In addition to turmeric, which is the main ingredient, my recipe includes fresh ginger, black peppercorn, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, fresh lemon, and raw honey.
Each of these ingredients add to the gentle healing properties of the elixir, and turn it into a general cure-all.
Ginger: In the same family as turmeric, ginger adds pain relieving qualities to the drink.
I think most people know that ginger is great for alleviating nausea, but it is also helpful for headaches, upset stomach, and chronic pain.
Black Peppercorns: The addition of black peppercorns aids the body’s absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, by 2,000 percent.
Coriander and Fennel: Both of these spices are cooling, and fennel has a sweet anise flavor. Including them in the turmeric elixir helps to balance out the warming qualities of the turmeric, ginger, and peppercorns.
These spices also boast some of the same anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits as turmeric.
Lemon Juice: Both fresh, and mouth-puckering, this ingredient adds dimension to the overall flavor of the elixir, and adds a host of beneficial healing qualities, most notably as a digestive aid.
Raw Honey: I am a firm believer in raw honey, and Ayurveda also supports its use.
I believe that honey obtained locally is a great way to taste your floral environment, and perhaps attune to it. Some people say it helps with seasonal allergies.
Honey is also a powerful source of antioxidants, with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is helpful for digestion and to sooth the throat.
Just make sure to never cook honey, as it destroys the beneficial qualities and makes it toxic to the body. It is okay to add honey to hot water and dissolve it, which is what we do when making the turmeric elixir.
Ready to elixir?
I bet you won’t find an easier, or more delightful way, to add this much healing power to your diet in one shot.
Are you ready to give it a go?
When it’s done you’ll have a jar of golden goodness in your fridge to enjoy as you wish.
It is a gentle enough medicine that you do not have to worry about serving it to friends and family. With this recipe, you can treat them to something wonderful.
I would limit a single serving to half a cup to start though, just in case, until you know how the body handles it.
I also suggest making a double-batch, since you are going to want to drink lots of this.
Fresh turmeric root is increasingly available. I get it at an Asian supermarket, but places like Whole Foods also sell it.
Turmeric is a powerful traditional medicine that is generally considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin for up to 8 months.
However, people with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, bleeding problems, diabetes, or stomach problems should consult a doctor before taking turmeric.
I would just like to say here that drinking turmeric elixir or consuming turmeric as part of your regular diet should never be a problem. This is the historical use.
Problems are more likely to occur when you try to take large amounts of turmeric as a supplement.
Recipe for Turmeric Elixir ‘Cure-All’
- 1 cup fresh turmeric root, sliced (see notes for powder substitution)
- ¼ cup fresh ginger root, sliced
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- ½ tablespoon coriander seed, (see notes for powder substitution)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 10 cups water
- ¼ cup plus one tablespoon raw honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Bring turmeric, ginger, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and water to a boil and reduce to a rolling simmer.
- Reduce liquid by half. It takes about 45 minutes.
- Strain and discard (or compost) the boiled herbs and spices.
- Allow turmeric elixir to cool slightly, and dissolve honey into it. Finally, add the fresh lemon juice. Taste, and add more honey or lemon if you like.
- Stir well and transfer to a glass jar. Elixir keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Whenever you need a shot of antioxidants, and a potent pick-me-up, measure out your desired amount of elixir, and enjoy.
- You could take your elixir in a small amount, straight up, like a shot, or mix it with cold water.
- I love my elixir diluted to about a quarter-cup elixir to one-and-a-half cups water, but my husband likes his straight up. There is a lot of room for experimentation in between.
- Enjoy it how you like it!
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Hi, how long does the elixir last for stored in the fridge ?
It will last about 3 weeks in the fridge since it has some natural preservatives from the lemon and honey.
This is some kind of delicious! My gym sells a cold version over ice for $8.50 a glass. Yours is so much better. I made a batch yesterday and I added a chopped up apple and carrot (like my gym does). I see you recommend a quarter cup mixed with 1 1/2 cup water. Would your nutritional info apply to the quarter cup? I've been having mine in a double shot glass. So good! Thank you so much for this recipe.
Hi Ellen, Wow! You are set now with a fantastic healing drink. Very cool. I have adjusted the serving size to 1/4 cup. So from 5 cups of Elixir, you get 20 servings, and the calories are just 37 calories per serving. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. — Andrea
Should the turmeric be chopped roughly before boiling? or grated?
Yes. You want to slice it the way it's shown in the picture. Enjoy! — Andrea
As soon I make it tonight!
Amazing! Did you make it?
Hi, I have a bag of turmeric powder. How would I use the powder in place of the fresh turmeric?
Thanks for the comment. I would suggest halving the amount of turmeric to half a cup of powder, and then follow the recipe in the same way. The qualities of the turmeric powder will transfer to the water. To reduce the amount of powder in the final elixir, try running the boiled decoction through a cheesecloth set into a sieve. Good luck, and do let me know how it goes!
Thank you for the quick reply and suggestions. I'll let you know if I did it right