Ah, turmeric. It’s the color of a glorious sunset. And although the flavor is slightly bitter, honey and other ingredients tame it into a flavor you’ll want again and again. It brings me back to my 20s when, as a new vegetarian, I was willing to try anything and everything I thought would revitalize me and restore natural health. My vegan guru at the time made me a home remedy when I had a sore throat and had lost my voice. It made me feel about 50 percent better within a few hours. I was amazed at how quickly my body assimilated it. Little did I know it could also make me feel happier.
You may already know it as the ancient remedy used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. But it’s also popular in Chinese herbal medicines---Xiaoyao-san and Jieyu-wan---traditionally used to manage stress and depression-related disorders, hypochondriac pain and mania.
Also known as curcumin, turmeric comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant with tough brown skin and deep orange-colored flesh. It’s been called the Indian saffron because of its color. If you’ve had Indian or Chinese food chances are good, you’ve had turmeric. In curry, perhaps? This dark yellow spice is often used to add spice to curry. It’s a rather distinctive flavor that isn’t just popular because of what it does to food.
According to Power-Of-Turmeric.com, a website out of India, recent studies have shown that stress-induced damage to hippocampal neurons may be depression’s culprit. Turmeric (also known as curcumin) has been shown to affect neurogenesis.
The site also says, “Reductions in neurogenesis in the hippocampus and concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) generally result in stress, anxiety and depression.” It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power has been touted for years as an ingredient with medicinal properties. Need manganese or extra iron in your diet? Eat turmeric, which is also a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, potassium and copper. Not sure how to eat it? Add it to rice dishes, curry dishes, anything made with beans, cauliflower, macaroni and cheese, or egg salad.
If you mix it with honey like my friend spoon-fed me for my sore throat, it becomes edible and is also helpful for the flu and inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis, among other things. Studies have shown the relief it also provides for people who suffer from cystic fibrosis, liver disease, heart disease, and also can protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
If you put the mixture on a wound, it might heal faster. Whatever you do with turmeric, you can’t go wrong.