Have a cold, or just near someone who has one? Headache? Aches and pains? Digestive problems? Here is a simple and very delicious East Indian recipe that mothers give their children when it is cold season. It contains some powerful anti-inflammatories, namely turmeric and ginger. I’ve written about how taking turmeric daily has kept my arthritic hands mobile and virtually pain-free. Look up the health uses for turmeric and you will be amazed. Black pepper helps activate turmeric, and since turmeric is fat-soluble it is best taken with a little fat in your meal. The following recipe can be made in a few minutes and feels wonderful going down. It was inspired by a post on Journeykitchen.com. I used organic vanilla soy milk, because that is what I had. You may use any dairy substitute that you want, but not non-fat. If it is non-fat, then add a half teaspoon of oil (such as coconut oil) to the drink, or eat some on the side.
I make a big pot of this in the morning, strain it and then rewarm it during the day as I need it. The longer you simmer the spices, the stronger they become. The ginger becomes a little hotter, and the others more bitter. For children or those new to these spices, heat the spices in the milk 3-5 minutes before straining unless they like it stronger.
Turmeric is a bitter yellow root that can be cooked with, or more commonly is found dried and ground to use in curries and as a colorant. Where do I even begin to list its benefits? As I previously mentioned turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn , stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas and bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders. It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems. Turmeric can be applied to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, eyeinfections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds. It is used as a facial to help skin and give darker skin a glow (I used it on my pale face and came up yellow for a few washings, but with nice skin!).
Ginger helps with the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, cough, menstrual cramps, arthritis and muscle pain, but is especially known for relieving nausea. I ate a lot of ginger during my pregnancies, and now we have some in the car to treat motion sickness.
Adding organic honey as a sweetener really boosts the healing power of this drink. Honey – and not the processed mass-produced kind, but unheated organic honey – has anti-fungal, anti-septic, and anti-microbial properties that really help soothe a sore throat and kill germs. The glucose and fructose are absorbed by the body at different times so that the energy they provide is slow and long-term -not the high and low that granulated sugar provides.
Cloves are anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic. They’re packed with antioxidants and are good sources of minerals (especially manganese), omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamins.
Peppercorns help turmeric work, are anti-inflammatory, carminative, and aid digestion. They are also an excellent source of many B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin, and are a good source of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A, and in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants that help the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.
Cinnamon has been used to reduce inflammation, it has antioxidant effects, and fights bacteria, and may lower cholesterol.
Cardamom is rich in nutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium, potassium, manganese, many vitamins such as C, and is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, a very powerful free-radical scavenger.
Cayenne is rich in capsaicin. The pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids (anti-oxidants), and has long been used to ease pain, headaches and to increase circulation. If you don’t use hot peppers regularly, please add just a few grains to the milk and work your way up.
If you are recovering from stomach distress and need some bland, comfort food, please investigate this recipe for jook, a wonderful cooked rice dish.
My best wishes for a healthy and happy day!
- 2 cups whole or low fat (not non-fat) organic soymilk, rice milk, nut-milk, or other non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 black peppercorns
- 3 cardamon pods, cracked
- 3 whole cloves
- ½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or a fingernail-sized piece of cinnamon stick)
- Pinch of saffron (optional)
- A couple drops of vanilla (opt.)
- Cayenne to taste (opt.) (start with a few grains and work up)
- Organic honey, brown sugar or other sweetener to taste (opt.)
- Lightly crush the peppercorns, cloves and cardamon pods
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except for sweetener.
- Gently heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add sweetener to taste. If adding organic honey - which is a healing force on its own - stir it in as the milk is off the boil. Boiling will kill the beneficials in the honey.
- Strain into cups and serve.