7 homemade turmeric teas and elixirs

Here's how to work the wonder rhizome known as turmeric into your daily routine.

That turmeric has been considered holy and auspicious in India for millennia makes so much sense. The spice’s crazy color alone is enough to render it sacred – factor in its unique flavor and far-ranging health benefits and it’s enough to catapult this remarkable root into realms of the supernatural. It really is a special thing.

A member of the ginger family, turmeric has long been used as a culinary spice in Asian cooking as well as a coloring agent. But a slew of recent research has gone far to further bolster its reputation as a healing superstar. Although it has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for forever, western science has recently jumped on the bandwagon and deemed it effective for treating osteoarthritis – and early research indicates its potential for treating various issues surrounding dementia, eye inflammation, colorectal cancer, heart attack after bypass surgery, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, stomach upset, gum disease, stomach ulcers, skin rash, itchy skin, kidney inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, skin wounds due to cancer, surgery recovery, tuberculosis, and ulcerative colitis. Whew!

There are plenty of recipes that employ turmeric – especially curries – but in terms of getting some every day, where to start? Turmeric's intense, earthy, spicy, bitter flavor is an acquired taste for some, but when mixed into a flavorful libation it can become addictive. Given that turmeric is now, seemingly, the official It Girl of food trends, the spice is turning up everywhere. In my Brooklyn neighborhood, for instance, one can shell out $10 for a small bottle of the spice-spiked elixir. Which is crazy. Which is why I’ve compiled these simple recipes so that we all can put the power of turmeric in our own hands. Enjoy!

1. Turmeric ginger tea

This is a simple sweet and milky tea with warming spices. You can use regular milk, or the nut milk of your choice.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Maple syrup to taste

Bring water to boil with turmeric and ginger, turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in milk and maple to taste, serve.

2. Turmeric lemon tea

This one is sweet and tangy with a swift gentle kick from the cayenne.
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Cayenne
  • Honey to taste

Combine lemon juice, turmeric, ginger and cayenne in a mug, top with boiling water and sweeten to taste with honey.

Turmeric tea fresh© To use fresh turmeric, a two-inch root will yield about 1 tablespoon of fresh grated turmeric, which is roughly the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of dried spice. Photo: Melissa Breyer

3. Sweet turmeric black pepper tea

Inspired by the miracle worker Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks. She instructs to mash turmeric and honey into a paste and keep it in a jar to have on hand for whenever the need arises.

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For each cup, use a heaping teaspoon of the paste in a mug and top with boiling water. Add a squeeze of lemon and a few generous twists of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, drink.

4. Turmeric chai

If you like chai, this recipe will likely please you with its cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and, of course, turmeric.

5. Warm turmeric milk

This is like the world's most exotic version of hot cocoa ... sans cocoa. It's warm and creamy, sweet and spicy. It will soothe all that ails.

  • 2 cups of almond or hemp milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 piece star anise
  • Maple syrup to taste

Combine all ingredients except maple syrup in a small saucepan on low heat, stir and cook until warm. Sweeten to taste with maple.

6. Bright turmeric tonic

This is one to keep in the refrigerator and serves as a great way to start your morning or as an afternoon pick-up. You can add fresh mint leaves to brighten it further.

  • 3 cups coconut water
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger slices
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters and squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a sealable container, shake well, refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

7. Immune boosting turmeric elixir

Drew Canole of FitLifeTV presents this awesome elixir with all the fire and brimstone of a Sunday preacher. I believe! Seriously, though … it marries the all-important turmeric with lemon, ginger, honey, coconut water, and vanilla bean. Amen.

A final note on turmeric. That the spice boasts such potency means that it should be consumed responsibly. People with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, and GI disorders including stomach ulcers and hyperacidity disorders should consult with their healthcare provider first. See more on turmeric-drug interactions here.

Tags: Cooking | Drinks | Health | Wellness

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