There’s a “new” rhizome on the block that is catching everyone’s attention – turmeric. As a native of South Asia, it has been cultivated as a spice and medicine for nearly 4000 years, which hardly qualifies as “new.”
However, just as everything old is new again, part of its popularity is stemming from trendy new health beverages and hip chefs.
Rhizomes is a term derived from the Greek meaning “mass of roots”. They are exactly that – plants that have evolved a specific root structure that acts as seeds. The roots can be broken into pieces, individually planted and will grow into new plants.
Other rhizomes include asparagus, hops and, the most famous rhizome of all, ginger. In fact, turmeric is also referred to as Yellow Ginger.
Long revered in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, turmeric (Curcuma longa) has received more attention lately as many studies are confirming the healing properties for which it has been held in high esteem.
While it has a rich history of use in a variety of Indian, Asian, African and Middle Eastern dishes, Americans are most familiar with turmeric in curry powder.
The health benefits of consuming turmeric are numerous. As previously mentioned, both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the classical Indian medical system, use turmeric for a variety of ailments including:
- aid and warm digestion
- reduce inflammation throughout the body
- heal various skin disorders and wounds
Western scientists have shown that turmeric is a strong anti-oxidant, which in conjunction with its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, it is little wonder that it is affectionately referred to as the “queen” of spices. Due to these properties, scientists are investigating turmeric’s possible benefits as a both a cancer preventative and a secondary treatment to help counter the strain on the body from chemotherapy.
Turmeric is also good for heart health, as it helps thin the blood to reduce blood clots and may help keep cholesterol in balance. Research is currently being conducted into how it may help with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes and eye inflammations. Overall, turmeric is a boon to human health!
The recipes below are approximate for a 16oz bottle. Scale up or down depending on your taste preference and bottle size. You can try drinking these right away or for even better results, allow to second ferment for a day or three. (don’t forget to burp your bottles!)