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Turmeric and Its Compounds
Golden milk is famous for the multitude of health benefits it offers. Turmeric is the primary constituent of golden milk, hence its more popular name, “turmeric milk.”
Turmeric milk is an old Ayurvedic drink that is used for treating a variety of diseases. Traditionally, it is consumed at night to facilitate sound sleep and promote general health.
The turmeric plant, or Curcuma longa Linn., belongs to the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family. The spice is a product of its rhizomes, which are underground stems that grow horizontally and give rise to both roots and shoots.
The plant is grown throughout the Indian subcontinent and in other parts of Asia and Central America.
Turmeric is also known as the “queen of spices” due to its golden color and sharp taste. It has a pepper-like aroma and is generally used as a spice worldwide. It has been a part of the Indian and Asian medicine systems for centuries.
Turmeric adds both color and taste to food. This spice is chiefly used in curry powder, in combination with other spices, for the preparation of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
It is also found in sauces, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, and chutneys. Turmeric can also be consumed in liquid form by adding fresh roots to tea, for example.
Curcuminoids are the biologically active compounds of turmeric and are responsible for its bright yellow to deep orange pigmentation. Out of these polyphenolic, fat-soluble molecules, curcumin is the principal molecule, the other two being bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin. (1)
Turmeric also contains volatile oils, including zingiberone, atlantone, and turmerone. All of these compounds contribute to the various health benefits of turmeric. (1)
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Numerous clinical studies demonstrate the beneficial health effects of turmeric and its compounds, especially curcumin.
The active compounds in turmeric also aid digestion by stimulating the production and release of bile. These effects further help in alleviating some gastrointestinal disorders and associated symptoms, such as gas and bloating. (12)(13)
A clinical trial demonstrated that oral administration of 500 mg turmeric, three times a day, for 8 weeks significantly improved the symptoms of uremic pruritus. The turmeric treatment was found to be 1.9 times more effective than the placebo in patients with end-stage renal disease. (16)
It is common practice to add honey and black pepper into turmeric milk for a depth of taste and also for additional health benefits of the added antioxidants. Piperine, the active compound of black pepper, assists in the absorption of curcumin. (23)
Although a few individuals experience diarrhea and nausea on taking high doses of turmeric, it is regarded as a safe supplement on the whole. Still, you must consult a medical practitioner before considering the use of curcumin or turmeric as a preventive or supportive therapy.
Be informed of its risks, side effects, and possible interactions with the medicines you are already taking.
Turmeric Milk Recipe Using Fresh Turmeric
Make delicious and nutritious turmeric milk using this simple recipe.
- 1-inch fresh turmeric
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 2 cups of milk
- Clean the turmeric with water and peel it.
- Grate it using a medium-sized grater.
- Heat the milk in a pan.
- Add the grated turmeric and black pepper powder into the milk.
- Leave it on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Strain the milk.
- Add honey to it and mix well.
- Consume while it is still warm.
You can replace fresh turmeric with 1 teaspoon of dry turmeric powder if this is what you have.
Warm Turmeric Cinnamon Milk
Turmeric milk with the added benefits of cinnamon and cardamom can be prepared this way.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- Fresh black pepper powder (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
- Heat the milk in a pan.
- Add the turmeric powder.
- Stir over medium heat and remove just before it boils.
- Whisk in the remaining spices and coconut oil. Mix thoroughly.
- Let it stand for a few minutes.
- Strain the milk using a fine-mesh strainer.
- Add honey to it and consume.
Tips: You can substitute cow’s milk with any plant-based milk if desired. Vegans may use almond or coconut milk and add natural sweeteners such as agave instead of honey. Cinnamon sticks may be used instead of powder.
Turmeric milk contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a diverse range of potential health benefits and, therefore, may be a valuable addition to a balanced diet.