Before I tell you everything you need to know about turmeric tea, I need to share a bit about turmeric itself.
Turmeric is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It is in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. The turmeric root has been used as an herbal ally for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
78 percent of the global supply of turmeric comes from India. While turmeric powder, teas and supplements are available in health stores or online, you can also buy turmeric root in most grocery stores (and you can even grow it at home!).
In this article, we look at some of the health benefits. I’m also going to share everything you need to know about turmeric tea! Why turmeric tea? Let’s find out…
What is Turmeric Tea and Why Drink It?
Turmeric tea is made by simmering grated turmeric or turmeric powder in water. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is fat soluble. This is why a little ghee or coconut milk is needed. To unlock the potential of the curcumin and improve bioavailability, we pair turmeric with a healthy fat.
There is no specific recommendation for daily intake of turmeric. Studies suggest 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric powder, three times daily, or 1 to 3 grams of grated fresh turmeric root is safe. Your trusted practitioner can help determine a good amount. Until then, a mug of turmeric tea daily can be an easy way to add a little turmeric goodness into your life.
Making Turmeric Tea
Turmeric tea can be prepared using fresh or dried turmeric root. Here is my easy recipe:
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric root OR 1 teaspoon dried, ground turmeric
- 4 cups water
- coconut milk
Add the turmeric to the water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Set the pan on low heat on your stove and bring it to a simmer. You want small bubbles, but not boiling. Simmer for 10 minutes and shut off the heat. Allow the tea to steep for another 10 minutes before straining. Pour into a cup with a splash of full fat coconut milk or a little coconut oil or ghee to improve absorption (because curcumin needs fat!)
- Add a little raw honey or a few drops of stevia or monk fruit, to sweeten the tea. Raw honey adds to the anti-microbial properties.
- Add crushed black pepper to the turmeric and water before simmering. Black pepper contains piperine, which also helps curcumin absorption.
- Add sliced or grated fresh ginger with the turmeric for a warming, spicy beverage.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor.
Some Benefits of Turmeric
A July 2017 review in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, can help in treating chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis (other autoimmune arthritis conditions likely too), Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. The review also found that turmeric may also help protect from cancers like lung, colon, skin cancers, stomach and breast cancer. And, curcumin looks promising for treating asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties; all are known to improve immune function.
- Curcumin helps reduce pain and inflammation.
Turmeric is a traditional Ayurvedic and TCM remedy for many digestive conditions. Several studies have found that curcumin reduces pain associated with IBS and improve the quality of life of those people with the condition.
For people with transit time issues, it is possible that turmeric tea can help. A 2012 study in rats found that curcumin helped with speed gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach to the small intestine). This may be beneficial for gastroparesis.
Who is this NOT good for?
Believe it or not, turmeric is not a good choice for everyone.
The National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network states no adverse effects are expected at doses of up to 8,000 milligrams per day.
Although turmeric is considered safe and non-toxic as a food, supplement and topical, there are studies that show turmeric can cause gastrointestinal issues in some people. High doses or long term use can cause stomach problems, according to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Because turmeric contains oxalates, people who need a low oxalate diet or who have a history of kidney stones may want to use turmeric more sparingly than others.
People who are anemic likely should not supplement with high doses of turmeric. If you develop symptoms of anemia while taking or eating turmeric, consult with your doctor. This study has more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414192/
Use of supplemental turmeric is contraindicated for people who are taking medications including:
- antiplatelet meds,
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
If you have stomach issues or take any drugs of these types or if you are unsure, talk to your doctor. These warnings only apply to the supplemental form of turmeric. Turmeric is safe to use in its natural whole food form in cooking or in skin preparations unless you are allergic!
A Couple More Things You Should Know
Turmeric is a dark yellow-orange colored root.
- When you work with the fresh root, your fingers and cutting board may be temporarily stained.
- Teeth staining may also occur, but swishing with water or brushing normally should remove it immediately.
- If you have a temporary crown or plastic aligners, turmeric may stain permanently.
- Turmeric makes a great yellow dye for fabric!
Now you know about turmeric, where it grows, what benefits it offers, how to make it into a delicious tea and how to figure out if it’s a good choice for you!
If you decide to make turmeric a regular part of your diet, consider using a food mood poop journal to document your experience and help yourself assess your body’s response.