I attended sessions on a wide range of diverse topics from "Dietary Triggers of Pain and Inflammation" to "Nutrigenomic Regulation of Adaptive Stress Response" to "Fermentation Around the World" and I was struck by the fact that one word kept coming up over and over again. Turmeric. It truly was THE word, not just of the day, but of the weekend. One seminar that I took with Agnes K. Green of The Healer Within Us even referred to turmeric as a "major mojo" herb. I think she's right; examining all the wonderful benefits of turmeric it's easy to see why it is gaining such popularity.
Made from the root of the Curcurma longa plant, turmeric is a power anti-inflammatory herb. It has uses ranging from treating flatulence, colic, jaundice, and bruises to being helpful for IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, and is now being researched as a powerful anti-cancer ingredient. High in manganese, B6, iron, and potassium it gives a pleasant kick to recipes with it's warm, distinctive flavor. Although most commonly thought of for curries, it goes well with many dishes, such as egg salad, rice salads, lentils, soups, pickles, and relishes.
Some folks even use turmeric to make a tea. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Okainawans, noted for being remarkably long lived, "drink copious quantities of turmeric tea." In addition to the other health benefits mentioned above studies are showing that turmeric has some effect on reducing the inflammation of brain tissue associated with Alzheimer's. Major mojo indeed.
Although I like turmeric and use it in my cooking, I'm beginning to believe I may not be using it nearly enough. I've added the following books to my wish list:
and plan to start experimenting more in the kitchen.
If you've got any particularly tasty recipes that you'd like to share, please feel free to pass them along, we could all use a little more of this beneficial herb in our diet.
photo courtesy of Sanjay Acharya | Wikimedia Commons