Often hidden deep in the recipes of curries and complex dishes, this spice is a real gem.
It's actually a rhizome much like ginger (it's of the same family) and as such grows underground. Botanically known as Curcuma longa (there are other species) it's flesh is yellow to almost fluorescent saffron orange in colour courtesy of it's highly healing ingredient Curcumin. When fresh, the rhizome has an refreshing zesty scent. I love it grated into scrambled eggs or in the juicer making green smoothies. In dried form it is more bitter and looses the wonderful aroma.
Turmeric is an amazingly healing food and definitely qualifies as a superfood. It is:
Latest biochemical research lists that curcumin enhances the biosynthesis of the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in rat species which would make it very important for brain health if these findings also translate to humans. DHA deficiency is quite common and can have a range of effects such as anxiety, Alzheimer's, major depression, schizophrenia, psychosis and impaired attention. DHA is most common form of omega 3 fatty acid in brain tissue. Humans and other mammals must either obtain it by eating meat or in the human species from other vegetal sources (via the synthesis of its precursor, α-linolenic acid in the liver) as they do not show cognitive decline. This reasearch has very important implications for cognitive disorders and understanding of vegetarian and vegan vegetal diets.
I love fresh turmeric grated into scrambled eggs or in the juicer making green smoothies. In dried form it is more bitter and looses the wonderful aroma but importantly not the benefits. It is generally available in fresh form from quality green grocers or dried from where you typically get your herbs and spices.
The whole foods directory may be of help if you are still having problems finding it fresh.
3 eggs, medium size 700-800g
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 2cm length of fresh turmeric, grated roughly
1 tbs water
1 tsp coconut or olive oil
2 leaves of favourite leafy young lettuce, washed
slice of of rye bread, toasted
pinch of salt to taste
In a small bowl break 3 eggs, add chopped parsley and whisk with a fork. Add a tablespoon of water, grated turmeric and whisk to incorporate. You should have a mixture of evenly distributed ingredients. Put a medium sized saucepan on low heat, add oil. Bring to mild heat and add egg mixture. Keep covered. Stir often until mixture is just starting to clump but is still moist. Toast your bread and drizzle with a little olive oil. Shake off as much moisture of the lettuce leaves and place on top of toast followed by the egg mixture. Enjoy. Serves 1.
Should you have concerns about your digestion, liver or other ailments please raise it at your next shiatsu consultation where I am happy to answer any questions.
* UCLA Study into anti-cancer properties of turmeric. The inhibition of the cell signalling pathway also correlated with reduced expression of a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, or signalling molecules, in the saliva that promote cancer growth... http://www.cancer.ucla.edu//Index.aspx?page=644&recordid=507
* Dorai T, Cao YC, Dorai B, Buttyan R, Katz AE. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Prostate. 2001;47(4):293-303.
* Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. II. Curcumin inhibits tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptor and depletes the protein. Mol Urol. 2000;4(1):1-6.
* Curcumin inhibits telomerase activity in human cancer cell lines. Int J Mol Med. 2006 Aug;18(2):227-31.
** University of Tucson study of anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric on rheumatoid arthritis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17075840
*** Phan TT, See P, Lee ST, Chan SY. Protective effects of curcumin against oxidative damage on skin cells in vitro: its implication for wound healing. J Trauma 2001;51(5):927-931.
*** Suryanarayana P, Satyanarayana A, Balakrishna N, Kumar PU, Reddy GB. Effect of turmeric and curcumin on oxidative stress and antioxidant enzymes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13(12):BR286-92.
*** University of Maryland overview of Turmeric http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
**** Traditional Chinese Medicine terminology and diagnostic methods.
***** Nutritional breakdown http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/turmeric.html
****** Turmeric may make 14 pharmaceutical drugs obsolete - http://www.healthyaeon.com/2013/08/sacred-herb-turmeric-may-make-at-least.html
 Study shows Turmeric boosts vegetarian brain omega 3 levels http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/why-turmeric-may-be-vegetarians-best-friend