Q. We've heard a lot about turmeric. How can it help us heal?
A. Ancient plant-medicine traditions encouraged students to meditate on, and with, the plants that made up herbal medicines. In this way, the student could identify her "spirit plant," or "plant ally." Think of your plant ally as a Guardian Plant Angel. I’ve got one -- and her name is Turmeric. I positively adore this plant (my close friends know that I may stain their homes in golden-goddess yellow). I use it, particularly, when:
• I’ve worked out hard or feel physically over-taxed in any way. Even working out can cause inflammation in the body, and turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatories on the planet.
• I feel toxic from too much stress, unhealthy foods, dining out, or from overindulging in sweets, alcohol, breads, cakes, or other delectables -- turmeric is great for digestion.
• I have a cold.
• I’m in pain (turmeric is great for muscle pain, headaches and strain).
From an Ayurvedic perspective, turmeric is used to reduce inflammation in the skin, clear excess fat from the digestive tract and boost the body’s natural immunity. You can throw half a teaspoon of turmeric into smoothies, add it to a veggie stir-fry or put it into the cooking water for rice or other grains.
Ayurvedic Hot Toddy recipe
This Ayurvedic Hot Toddy leads to great morning meditations, better sleep, and a clear mind upon waking. It's also a great, antioxidant-rich remedy for anxious sleeping and a proven beauty tonic for the skin.
1/2 tsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 – 2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
a few strands of saffron (optional)
1 cup whole milk (you can replace with almond, soy, or hazelnut milk)
Put the ghee in a saucepan and heat on low with all of the spices except for the saffron. Once you begin to smell the aroma, add the milk and saffron and whisk until hot. Or, add a fresh hunk of ginger, a small handful of almonds and goji berries (or a date!). Throw everything in a Vitamix (or regular blender), and blend on high for about a minute for a frothy-hot elixir!
Katie Silcox is the author of the upcoming book, "Healthy, Happy, Sexy - Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women." She's a vinyasa yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, contributor to Yoga Journal, and a senior teacher within the Sri-Vidya ParaYoga lineage under Yogarupa Rod Stryker.