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I am back from a summer sabbatical and having fun being with my family. I’m excited to begin my emails again, and I hope that we’ll have lots of great information for you to jump start and inspire you into an even better life!
So, today I am answering your questions about turmeric. I get at least 8-10 emails a week asking about how to prepare and consume turmeric. I thought that I could send out one mass email and hopefully answer a lot of questions. My disclaimer is that I don’t know everything there is to know about the spice. There is lots of information available, and every time I look online, I find out something new. I encourage you to also look around and see what you can find. I found some interesting information in research websites that might be of interest to you. Researchers are putting a lot of energy into looking at the benefits of turmeric, so you might be surprised at some of the health benefits that they are finding.
Here are the questions that I receive, most commonly:
You can purchase turmeric almost anywhere. However, I suggest that you look for an organic source and to buy it in bulk, if you are planning on using that a lot. You may purchase it from me, as I have 2 very good sources that I get mine from for my office. Or, you can set up an account with Frontier Co-op. This is the company that Wholefoods gets their bulk herbs from. I also get my turmeric from Banyan Botanicals. This is Dr. Vasant Lad, the renowned Ayurvedic doctor’s herbal company. I actually prefer their turmeric over Frontier’s.
You can also get turmeric from your local grocery store, but it will be in a small spice bottle, will be very expensive, and will, most likely, not be organic. You may also purchase it from Asian grocery stores, if you happen to be lucky enough to have one near you. Again, this will probably not be an organic source. You just decide what is important for you and how you feel about organic versus non-organic.
While I don’t have personal experieince using the root, my friend and owner of ‘Dr. Dharma Herbs’, Guru Darbar Khalsa (he’s a wealth of information about food and nutrition, and I’m planning on having an interview with him within the next couple of weeks that we can record and post for all of you) has told me that, in Japan, they slice up the root and boil it in water to make a tea. You could give that a try, if you have it available to you. I cannot attest to its’ effectiveness, since I haven’t tried it myself. The recommended dose of fresh turmeric root is 60 g.
Can I take capsules rather than making the paste?
Yes, you can take capsules. Usually people take them when they are trying to get in very large doses of turmeric and its’ active ingredient, curcumin. Typically, they extract the curcumin and put this into the capsules for a higher dose that would be difficult to get with just taking the spice, on its own.
I don’t have a particular dosage recommendation for everyone, in general. I can tell you that a yogi friend of mine was taking 6-9 capsules per day to alleviate some moderate-severe shoulder pain that he was experiencing. This is a high dose, and I don’t recommend people, who have never taken curcumin, to start at this high of a dose. I would start with maybe 3 capsules per day and then increase, to body tolerance. Turmeric is very detoxifying so start slowly. I have had people, not under my supervision, tell me that they had an uncomfortable reaction to turmeric.
I get the question pretty regularly about what kinds of milk are okay to use with the turmeric paste. Really, it’s about your personal preference and what your body does well with. Remember, that we are working on bringing down inflammation. If you use a milk that your body has a reaction to, you’re offsetting the response that you are looking for with the Golden Milk.
When I talk about a ‘reaction’, I am referring to the possibility of the milk creating an inflammatory response in your body. This could manifest in several different ways but the most common response would be congestion, either in the throat or in the sinuses. In addition, a response that might not be as immediate but could be a response to food, would be: joint pain, muscle pain, tiredness, tightness anywhere in the body, stomach or digestive problems, eye strain, headache, itchy spots, an increase in pain anywhere in the body. I’ve presented the concept of food allergies and inflammation in my facebook posts. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, take a look at the post in there. It explains a little more about food sensitivities. I can spend more time on this in a later post.
There is lots of controversy about the use and intake of soy milk. I had someone recently reprimand my having suggested using soy milk in my video. I completely agree that soy, when taken in excess, may have a negative impact on the body. I think that, most things, when taken in moderation, are okay. The problem is that, in America, we tend to jump on every health band wagon that enters into the mainstream. Soy had its’ debut probably 10 years ago as the ‘cure all’ for every health problem from breast cancer to heart disease to balancing hormones. The pendulum swung so far that people were eating soy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. This, in turn, began creating a whole other set of hormonal issues for women. That pendulum has now swung the other way and research is now saying to consume only fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso maybe only 2-3 times per month.
So there you have it. I’m not heralding or demonizing soy. It’s important for you to feel your own body and decide what is best for you. Talk with your doctor about it.
Moving on… I tend to stay away from soy milk altogether, but, if I am getting a coffee or tea out somewhere, once every 4 months and dairy milk and soy milk are the only options, I opt for the soy. I have less of a reaction to the soy than to the dairy. My choice of milk is always almond milk. I like it because it is less refined, has some good protein in it, and it has the same consistency as regular milk. Coconut milk is a good choice for some people, as is goat milk, cow or sheep milk. The original recipe calls for cow milk. Rice, oat and hemp milks are fine to use, as well. I encourage you to feel and be sensitive to your body. I personally get congested and get stomach pains when I drink cow milk, so I tend to stay away from it.
Yes. To get the effects for which we are recommending it for here, it should be cooked. Boil it in water for at least 7 minutes. This converts the turmeric into a form that the body can easily absorb and use (what we call ‘bioavailable’).
People ask me all the time if they can sprinkle the uncooked spice onto food. What I know is that, cooking it is the best way for it to be used by the body. In Asian cooking, it is always cooked. They use it in curries, daals, rice, and Golden Milk (or, in India, the call it ‘Haldi Milk’)
You can start with 1-2 teaspoons per day. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can slowly increase the amount. If you are really suffering with pain and inflammation, you can increase your dose and just keep an eye on how your body responds.
In animal studies, no acute or chronic toxicity has been shown, even at high doses. In humans, several studies have shown minimal toxicity with moderate doses of curcumin, even at doses as high as 12 grams.
I get lots and lots of questions from people asking if they can take turmeric for this ailment and that ailment. What I would suggest is to look online. I’ve found that, with almost every ailment and disease process, when I google turmeric and a specific disease process, there is almost always positive accounts of turmeric helping with that particular ailment.
Specifically, I am suggesting it for people who have any kind of joint pain or inflammation. That encompasses a large group of problems. We also use it for cuts and is part of our emergency kit at home.
In addition, turmeric has been reported to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antineoplastic, antimicrobial and boosts the immune system.
It has been specifically researched and found to be effective in cases of: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, a variety of premalignant malignancies, and Inflammatory bowel disease, among many other illnesses.
This all being said, I would like to make a disclaimer that none of the above information is intended as medical advice or to cure any illnesses. Please consult your own healthcare practitioner or physician before starting anything new.
The only contraindication for taking turmeric that has been found is for those people who are susceptible to gallstones.
I hope that this helps to answer some of the questions for you all. It’s a great little spice that can do a lot of good for your health. I hope you try it and pass this along to others.
With many blessings and warm regards,
Dr. Arjan Khalsa
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