Also known as “Indian Saffron,” turmeric is made from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, a perennial plant native to the tropics of South Asia. While the plant root itself is dark orange in coloring, turmeric becomes bright yellow after it is dried. Turmeric is known worldwide for its distinctive golden coloring and robust, earthy flavor. The majority of the world’s turmeric is produced in India, where it has played a vital role in the local culture for thousands of years. Turmeric has a long record of medicinal, culinary, and spiritual use, even in modern times.
Turmeric has a long and rich history of use, dating back nearly 4,000 years to Southeast Asia and the Vedic culture in India. The plant had many uses in these ancient cultures, ranging from cooking to religion to healing. In 500 BCE, turmeric emerged as a key component of Ayurvedic medicine in India, a natural healing practice which translates into “science of life.” Ancient healers used turmeric to treat a wide range of maladies, and called the plant by the name of jayanti, or “one who is victorious over diseases.
In India, turmeric has also played a sacred role in the Hindu religion. Modern day practitioners of Hinduism continue to use turmeric in wedding day traditions and as protection against malicious spirits. In many Buddhist cultures, turmeric is used as a dye, and is what gives a Buddhist monk’s robe its traditional golden color.
Eventually, traders began to introduce turmeric to China, East Africa, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Today, turmeric is used around the world for culinary, medicinal, and other practical purposes.
Uses in Cuisine
Though it originated in India, turmeric is used globally as a cooking spice today. Turmeric has a strong and distinctive flavor, which could be described as pungent, musky, bitter, and earthy. It is one of the primary ingredients used in making yellow curry, and is used extensively in a variety of Indian, South Asian, and North African dishes. In many cultures, turmeric is used to create a desirable golden color for products like butter, cheese, and mustard.
Turmeric has been used as a powerful healing agent around the world for thousands of years. It is known for its ability to soothe stomach pains and promote healthy digestion. Turmeric also has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and has been used as a substitute for ibuprofen by patients with joint pain.
Turmeric shares many of its healing properties with other herbs and spices, such as ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and black caraway. For this reason, combining turmeric with these and other spices in cooking or in tea blends may provide additional benefits.
Golden milk is a rich beverage created by combining turmeric with coconut oil, almond milk, and a variety of other spices like ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. Although Ayurvedic healers in Asia have been using golden milk for centuries, it has recently grown in popularity among health-conscious consumers around the globe. Golden milk is rich and creamy, with a hint of spicy, earthy flavors. It is thought to boost the body’s immunity and digestion, while reducing inflammation.
Ready to be introduced to the hearty aroma and ancient healing benefits of turmeric? We have a satisfying recipe for a Golden Milk Tea Latte. We also recommend some of turmeric blends including Biodynamic® Turmeric Cinnamon Herb Tea, Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea, and Get Limber® – Herb Tea for Flexibility.