I have been drinking Turmeric Tea recently. I started because of the hype around its potential to kill cancer cells. I continued because it tastes like the perfect thing to chase away winter ills.
Not that I’ve had any winter ills – merely a snuffle shared with us courtesy of a grandchild.
Turmeric tea is quite unusual compared to other teas in that it contains a lot of herbal material in the typical turmeric colour – orange yellow. When water is added it looks like a bit of a vegie stew. The teapot needs a few minutes steeping until you achieve a strong tasting infusion that warms the back of the throat.
The hot and peppery taste takes some getting used to, but if it does as it is claimed: benefits your health and protects you from all those nasties, then get used to it, I say.
Turmeric comes from the rhizome (rootstock) of the Curcuma longa plant. The rhizome looks similar to ginger. To manufacture it, the roots of the plant are boiled, dried and then ground into a powder. Traditionally used in Chinese and Indian folk medicine and, of course, curries.
According to Dr Axe, “the powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities of turmeric have made it a precious commodity for ages! Referred to as “Indian saffron” in medieval England, turmeric wasn’t understood or valued for a long time. People used it as natural food dye instead of as the unbelievable healing agent it really is.”
Claims for turmeric benefits include killing lung and bladder cancer cells and lowering blood cholesterol. Considering how prevalent these dis-eases are, turmeric should be prescribed in general medicine.
Known as Curcumin in scientific studies, turmeric tablets have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. Yet it has been found to be totally safe. One study that explored its potential to cause harm found it to be “harmless” in doses up to at least 8000 mg/day.
Harmless but powerful
”/HUMAN EXPOSURE STUDIES/ Twenty-five patients with conditions indicating a high risk of malignancy were given diferuloylmethane (purity, 99.3%) for 3 months. The starting dose was 500 mg/day, which was increased stepwise to 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000 and finally 12 000 mg/day. The patients received regular follow-up, including physical examination, weekly hemogram, and measurement of blood electrolytes and biochemistry parameters every 2 weeks. No adverse effects were reported at doses of up to 8000 mg/day.
[WHO ; WHO Food Additives Series 52 Curcumin (addendum); Available from, as of November 6, 2013: http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v52je04.htm”
Turmeric/curcumin up with the best
Another study compared the efficacy of “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” (e.g. asprin, ibuprofen, plus others) in their ability to suppress tumour cells. Curcumin (alias turmeric) was included in the study. The scientists’ conclusion was that: “Overall these results indicate that aspirin and ibuprofen are least potent, while resveratrol, curcumin, celecoxib, and tamoxifen are the most potent anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative agents of those we studied.”
Dosage is a challenge I often ponder. How can I be sure i’m consuming enough? This webpage has some useful information about a number of supplements. Well worth putting in your favourites.
Other helpful herbal teas
The next most popular studied herbs include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, and ginger, all of which are reasonably accessible plants that can be added to the diet. Cinnamon is a great choice on top of the cream for a cappuccino, though I do wonder if the amount you’d consume in any one day would be sufficient to make a significant impact on your health.