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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Turmeric is Terrific

by Brenda Cobb

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]urmeric is an East Indian tropical herb of the ginger family. It flourishes in the rich, moist soils of Java, China, India, Bangladesh and many other tropical areas of the Far East as a valuable cash crop. Like ginger, it is the underground rhizome of the plant which is used, but it is both sweeter and more fragrant than ginger. This aromatic, vivid yellow spice is prepared by washing, peeling drying and grinding the thick root.

Turmeric is sometimes available fresh, but it is normally bought dried, either whole or ground. Eaten raw in southern India, the bright yellow, aromatic root has a delicate, buttery, slightly peppery and mustard-like taste some compare to horseradish, which is clean and refreshing.

One of the basic curry spices, turmeric gives a pleasantly warm and rich undertone to food, as well as adding its unmistakable coloring. It can be added to any curried dish, or used alone to lend color and subtle spice to grains, beans, chutneys and sauces. Turmeric may be used as a cheap substitute for saffron, but the flavor is stronger. If you wish to make your own curry powder, combine six parts turmeric, four parts cumin, and one part each of cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper, ground fenugreek and ginger. This combination will provide maximum flavor, but minimal heat.

Turmeric is noted as a blood purifier, has a soothing action on respiratory ailments, improves liver function, benefits the circulation, helps regulate the menstrual cycle and works as a restorative after loss of blood at childbirth. It also helps the body to digest proteins, and when combined with coriander and cumin, aids in the digestion of complex carbohydrates. It has antifungal properties and helps heal wounds both internally and externally. For abrasions, bruises or traumatic swelling, a half teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of Himalayan salt may be made into a paste with water or ghee and applied to the affected area.

The most active component in turmeric is curcumin, which is effective as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent, as well as a cardiovascular and gastrointestinal aid and is considered to have beneficial effects on the skin. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause. Turmeric is easy to use in many different recipes.

Turmeric Cabbage Salad

2 cups cabbage 1 clove garlic 1⁄2 cup red bell pepper 1⁄2 cup green onions 1⁄2 cup raisins 1/3 cup lemon juice 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp curry powder 1 tsp Himalayan salt

Chop the cabbage, garlic, pepper and onion into small pieces and combine with the lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, curry, salt, onions and raisins.

Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, offering Healthy Lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing and anti-aging including a therapy spa, offering treatments to help detoxify, nourish and relax the body. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876 and visit

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