We all know turmeric as the bright yellow spice that gives curry dishes their inviting colour; and as South Africans we most commonly think of it as the key ingredient in traditional yellow rice. What you might not know however, is that turmeric is also loaded with amazing medicinal properties. This precious golden spice can be used for so much more than its warming taste!
Turmeric really is a natural health and beauty superstar – here’s a look at the key benefits you can enjoy by adding more turmeric to your daily diet and skincare regime:
- Antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal
- Strengthens the immune system
- Eases digestive problems like gas
- Protects the liver and heart against disease
- Helps to lower cholesterol levels
- Anti-inflammatory: Relieves the pain and swelling of arthritis (without the side-effects of medication)
- Moderates insulin levels and improves glucose control; beneficial for diabetics
- Full of antioxidants that fight free radical damage and cell ageing
- Anti-carcinogenic: Protects against the formation of tumours and cancerous cells
- Controls breakouts and cleanses excess oil
- Softens and hydrates dry skin
- Soothes itching, irritation and inflammation
- Reduces pigmentation and skin tanning
- Smoothes away wrinkles and combats the signs of skin ageing
We’ve put together a list of three recipes – culinary, medicinal and beauty – using pure organic turmeric. You can also supplement your diet with natural turmeric capsules to enjoy all the health benefits of this magical spice.
1. Recipe for Traditional South African Yellow Rice:
This is a simple, wholesome and delicious Cape Malay dish.
- 1 cup long grain white rice (or basmati rice)
- 1½cups water
- 1½tsp ground turmeric
- ½cup raisins & sultanas
- 3tbsp sugar
- ½tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 cardamom pods, shelled & crushed
- 1tbsp unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
- Soak the raisins and sultanas in a bowl of water overnight, to soften them.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Once the mixture boils, reduce heat, cover the saucepan and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes (until all water is absorbed and the rice is light and fluffy).
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork; serve warm with your favourite meat or veggie dishes.
2. Recipe for Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk):
An ancient Ayurvedic remedy that eases indigestion, gas and heartburn, as well as aches and pains.
- ½tsp turmeric
- 4 cups unsweetened almond milk
- A dash of nutmeg
- A dash of cinnamon
- 2 drops of vanilla extract
- 4tbsp raw honey
- Boil the turmeric in 1 cup of water, stirring with a wooden spoon. The mixture should thicken after about 10 minutes, making a paste.
- Reduce heat and stir in the almond milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the honey. Serve and enjoy!
3. Recipe for Radiant Turmeric Facial Mask:
Brightens and beautifies the skin.
- ½cup chickpea flour
- 1½tbsp ground turmeric (Note: Test the mixture on a patch of your skin first to ensure the turmeric won’t stain)
- 5 drops of your favourite carrier oil (eg sweet almond oil or avocado oil)
- 1-2tsp filtered water
- Mix the flour and turmeric. (Place in an airtight container until you’re ready to use the mask.)
- Mix 1tbsp of the turmeric and flour blend with 5 drops of your carrier oil, and enough water to make a smooth paste.
- Apply the mixture to your face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Relax for 10-15 minutes until the mask dries, then rinse it off in the shower.