Remember Mary Poppins? Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…
There have been a lot of recipes for Turmeric Tea swirling around lately. It’s great to see Ayurvedic wisdom going mainstream, and to see people getting relief from various kinds of aches and pains, as well as colds, congestion, sore throats, skin problems, not to mention turmeric’s reputation for reducing tumors, diabetes, inflammation and Alzheimer’s.
But to me, Turmeric tea is astringent and too drying. It needs something to balance its astringency, something grounding, moistening, and sweet.
This is where the wisdom of Ayurveda really shines. Brilliant for its herbal wisdom, such as the benefits of turmeric, Ayurveda’s genius is in combining. Making dishes, tonics or formulas to create a balanced, whole, all-six-tastes intelligence that super charges healing is a unique forte in Ayurvedic medicine, and one of the many reasons I love it – Ayurveda is a science of relationships!
That is why this ancient and popular Ayurvedic recipe for Golden Milk is so effective – Ayurveda knows that turmeric’s potency is enhanced when its bitter taste is balanced by the sweet taste. Bitters help the body detoxify, while sweet increases the bio-availability to carry the medicinal qualities of bitters well into your deeper tissues.
Can you hear the song? Mary Poppins was right – sweet does help the medicine go down, and be optimally effective.
Only when Ayurveda speaks of the sweet taste, it means foods that are naturally sweet, sometimes almost bland – like rice, wheat, potatoes, parsnips, milk, butter, but also delicious like bananas, berries, almonds, coconut.
Because it is so healthy, I add turmeric to ghee whenever I cook, and stir it into milk whenever making a tea or smoothie. In winter, on any given day, you will find in our kitchen a teapot full of steaming hot water colored deep yellow by generous slices of turmeric and ginger. But I would never have the tea on its own. There’s always some type of milk, usually coconut, and often a spoonful of ghee. For me, turmeric is just too light and drying without the heavy, unctuous, hydrating benefits of the sweet taste.
If you look at traditional India, you see this medicinal relationship embedded in the cuisine: curries, yellow rice and golden milk are common in Indian kitchens, where golden milk was made fresh and served piping hot the minute anyone complained of a sore, an ache or an illness.
Last week I served it with goat’s milk to a friend, but I personally prefer it with homemade almond or coconut milk. What is it about Ayurveda and milk? You can read about Ayurveda’s love of dairy here, which is perhaps not what you think… Anyway, I give you both ways to make it – and hope you enjoy it, for goodness’ sake!
2 c fresh Milk
2 t Turmeric powder, or a 2-inch coin of fresh Turmeric root, peeled
A dusting of fresh cracked Pepper, or a small pinch of ground Cardamom, or both
Put the ingredients in saucepan. Whisk the milk while bringing to a gentle boil. Serve and drink warm.
Warning: Wear an apron. Turmeric stains!
Dairy Free Golden Milk
2 t Turmeric powder or a 2-inch coin of fresh turmeric root, peeled
2 c fresh Almond milk* or Coconut Milk
2 t raw Honey, optional
1 t Coconut oil, optional
Add the ingredients to a blender on high speed and mix for a few minutes to heat the drink. Enjoy it warm.
For Vata: Blend in a date and skip the honey. Add a shake of ginger and a dash of cardamom
For Pitta: Replace the honey with maple syrup
For Kapha: Add generous shakes of ginger, black pepper and cinnamon
*How to Make Almond Milk
Makes about 2 cups
1 c raw Almonds
4 c Water
2-3 Medjool dates, chopped
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
In two cups of water, soak the almonds overnight, for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 2 days. Drain and rinse. Pour your almonds in a high speed blender and cover with two cups of water. Slowly turn your blender from low to the highest speed and blend for two minutes. By the time you are done, it should be foamy and very well blended, with the almonds broken up into a fine meal. Pulse a bit longer if needed to get it completely smooth.
Place a nut bag or a generous strip of cheese cloth into a strainer and put the strainer over a large bowl, or a 1 quart Pyrex. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer. Lift the nut bag or cheese cloth and twist to squeeze all the liquid into the bowl.
Pour this liquid back into your blender and add the dates, vanilla and salt. Blend again on high speed until no bits of dates remain. Drink immediately, or store in an airtight jar up to two days in your refrigerator.
Turmeric is said to balance all doshas, be cleansing to the blood and lymph, helping to dissolve tumors and blood clots, improving circulation, promoting healthy menstruation, strengthening muscles, healing soft tissue injury, decongesting the liver, aiding in the digestion of sugar, fats, and oils, and supporting those with diabetes and hypoglycemia. (NCBI: Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin)
Since turmeric is such a hard worker, I leave you with a little food for thought ~
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
Find the fun… and snap, the job’s a game!
And every task you undertake
becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree,
It’s very clear to see!”
~ Mary Poppins
May all your days be golden ~