The herb of the month for August may not need any introduction, as I would bet that you already have this herb sitting in your kitchen! I may even be so bold as to bet that you can name this herb without doing any research. Let me give you a hint… the root is widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties, it stains your tupperware, and it’s delicious in some frothed milk with spices.
If you’re thinking of curry leaf, good guess! Although, I’m not sure about a curry drink personally ;) If you guessed Turmeric root, congratulations! You either are already incorporating this “cure-all” herb into your diet, or you got lucky! (Maybe it's a good day to purchase a lotto ticket?)
Turmeric root, also known as Curcuma longa, is native to Southeast Asia with medicinal use dating to over 4,000 years ago in India. This plant grows to around 3 feet in height, adorns sturdy green leaves, and blooms stalky pink and white flowers. However, the medicine of the plant lives underneath the soil in the rhizome. Rhizomes function like an underground stem. Turmeric root is similar in appearance to its cousin Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in that it has a thin tan skin that protects the inner part of the root. Turmeric root is bright orange in color, making it a popular component in natural dyeing and culinary art.
Turmeric is sort of like an herbal superhero. In its small little body, Turmeric holds over 300 nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, niacin, and very importantly, curcumin. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound that helps the body fend off foreign invaders and repair damaged cells. (See what I meant when I said Turmeric is a superhero?) Studies show that curcumin may also assist in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, though, curcumin is poorly absorbed by the human body on its own, so it is best used medicinally when paired with other supplements or herbs such as black pepper. Turmeric primarily functions as an anti-inflammatory but is also recognized as an antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic. It boosts overall immune function, decreases inflammation, and helps to prevent the onset of chronic illness.
We can thank Ayurvedic medicine for our in-depth knowledge of Turmeric, and for its common use all over the world today. For thousands of years, Turmeric root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for skin conditions, the digestive system, joint health, and respiratory function. With great success, this warming herb has made its way across the world and has increasingly become a common go-to for many people. Today, Turmeric root is also used for purifying the bloodstream and eliminating toxins, acid reflux, regulating blood sugar, soothing polluted lungs, and promoting a healthy gut and gastrointestinal tract. Turmeric has been nicknamed a “cure-all” in some cultures and is truly a magnificent herb for those suffering from chronic inflammation.
Even more, Turmeric actually tastes delicious. And if you are a foodie like me, this is a very important factor when looking for herbs to incorporate into everyday use! It has a mild flavor, yet gives any dish warmth, a touch of color, and (most importantly) nutrition! You can seriously add Turmeric to pretty much anything and it will taste good. Or, you can try it in one of our specially formulated blends here at The Herb Shoppe! You can find Turmeric root in many of our blends, such as our Turmeric Tango tea blend, Immune Boosting soup base, Lemon Pepper Turmeric seasoning, Prostate Nourishment tincture, Fire Elixir, Body Boost tincture, and Tame the Flame powder and capsules.
Turmeric Tonic Recipe
Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Strain, and enjoy!