This turmeric beverage, also known as Vedic or Ayruvedic golden milk, has been used for over 4,000 years to reduce pain and improve overall health.
Turmeric, a rhizome, contains curcumin which is a natural anti-inflammatory. There’s loads of information on the internet about the benefits of turmeric (I mentioned its benefits briefly here.).
Turmeric may be helpful in treating indigestion because of its ability to stimulate bile production (yummy). This helps speed along the digestion process. Turmeric has also been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen for treating pain, without the damaging side effects. Past, present and preliminary studies have centered around turmeric’s effect on cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, uveitis (inflammation of the eye’s iris) and bacterial and viral infections.
It should be noted that in these studies, it is likely that the concentration of curcumin is significantly higher than what you get from a sprinkle of turmeric on your eggs. Here are some studies to get your started:
Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials
Gastroprotective effects of combination of hot water extracts of turmeric (Curcuma domestica L.), cardamom pods (Ammomum compactum S.) and sembung leaf (Blumea balsamifera DC.) against aspirin-induced gastric ulcer model in rats
Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study
The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview
Now, it should also be noted that your body’s ability to metabolize and use turmeric is quite limited. Curcumin has very poor bioavailability. Noshing on roots of turmeric day in and day out really won’t help you unless you take the necessary steps to help improve its absorption. Fortunately, golden milk does just that!
Disclaimer: If you are taking blood thinners, it is best to avoid large amounts of turmeric because it can enhance the effects of these drugs. Same goes for diabetes medications; turmeric is great at managing insulin levels on its own but if combined with medication, the risk of hypoglycemia increases. Finally, turmeric can increase bile and stomach acid secretion, therefore don’t combine turmeric with anti-acids or other heartburn and acid reflux medications. Click here for more.
Curcumin, the powerful healing component in turmeric, is not soluble in water but is in fat. When combined with fat (either whole fat milk, or some flaxseed or coconut oil) it is believed that curcumin can more easily enter the lymphatic system and begin circulating throughout your body. Without the fat, curcumin cannot be utilized by your body.
Human studies have found that combining turmeric with black pepper extract (piperine) actually enhances the bioavailability of curcumin. This is because the piperine in black pepper inhibits glucuronidation in the liver and lower GI tract. Glucuronidation is a process that basically affects how well our bodies can metabolize drugs and other therapeutic substances. When this process is inhibited, the bioavailability of the substance, in this case curcumin, increases. According to NutritionFacts.org, adding just 1/20th of a teaspoon of pepper to your turmeric can increase curcumin blood levels by 2,000%!
In a glass air tight container, this turmeric paste will last 1-2 weeks in your fridge. Use ½ to 1 teaspoon to make golden milk. You can makes loads of golden milk from this one little jar of paste.
- ¼ cup dried turmeric
- ½ cup distilled water
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces milk of choice (plant or dairy based; I use unsweetened cashew milk)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon turmeric paste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or ghee
- Honey to taste
- Optional: a hefty pinch of dried ginger and some cinnamon
- In a small sauce-pan over medium high heat, bring turmeric powder and water to a simmer.
- Stir constantly for about 5 to 7 minutes or until a thick paste begins to form. You may need to turn down your heat a bit as you do not want to burn the turmeric,
- Add black pepper and transfer to an air tight, glass container.
- In a small sauce pan, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of your turmeric paste to the milk and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat just until fragrant, not boiling.
For another yummy beverage, check out my easy peasy homeade chai latte recipe over at Greatist!
University of Maryland: Turmeric http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
University of Maryland: Possible Interactions with: Turmeric http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb-interaction/possible-interactions-with-turmeric
I was just talking with a friend last night about cancer fighting foods and need to email her a link to this recipe. Thanks (yet again!) for sharing another great health-boosting recipe.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment! Turmeric is so amazing, isn’t it? Oh! I may need to pick your brain a bit about where to live in Portland 😉
Oops, just saw your response to that comment! There are tons of awesome little neighborhood pockets throughout the city and a few others that are a little umm… less desirable. We just moved out to the suburbs a few months ago in SW (Tigard actually) and like it but its definitely more suburban than city-like. I’ve always lived on the west side (John’s landing, Hillsdale area), but LOVE the inner east side these days. That side of the river is the new trendy area but it gets a little sketchy when you get too far east of the river. Shoot me any questions you have! I’ve lived here for over 10 years and know the city pretty well at this point.