Turmeric is a popular spice that comes from the rhizome plant. Native to Southeast Asia, the plant has bright orange roots that are boiled, dried, then ground into a powder that is used as a spice. Because of its bright golden color, turmeric has been dubbed “Indian saffron,” and continues to be used as an inexpensive alternative to saffron.
Turmeric holds an important place in both culinary and healing traditions that go back as many as 4,000 years in Southeastern Asia. In Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used for immune system support, respiratory health, skin health, digestive health, and liver health. Currently, it’s a culinary staple in many if not most kitchens, and a nutritional supplement used widely for its health promoting properties. It’s even become popular as a tea.
Turmeric tea is a liquid beverage made from either grated turmeric root, pure turmeric powder, or store-bought turmeric tea, which is sold in either loose-leaf or tea bag form. Like any tea, It is made by steeping the main ingredient (turmeric) in boiling water for about 5-10 minutes, or as preferred. The result is a yellow, orange, gold cup of tea with a bittersweet flavor and lightly spicy kick.
You might want to try mixing your tea with other beverages, such as milk, milk alternatives, green tea, orange juice, or pineapple juice. Many enjoy honey, lemon, or lime with their turmeric tea, and some include black pepper, which helps your body with absorption of curcumin, the powerful antioxidant found in turmeric. It’s also not unusual to see turmeric tea and turmeric drinks such as lattes and chais served at almost any coffee shop.
Turmeric is a powerful root with antioxidant-like properties with several additional properties that make it an excellent immune booster. If you want to make it an even stronger health boost, combine it with ginger, which is from the same family as turmeric and known to support digestion ; or, to up the curcumin bioavailability, enjoy your turmeric with black pepper. And keep in mind: the more ginger and turmeric your tea absorbs, the better, as the health benefits tend to be proportional to the tea’s level of absorption.
Curcumin, which is the main ingredient in turmeric, is believed to support overall cognitive function in a number of ways. It boosts the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is an important protein for memory and learning. The absorption of curcumin can vary and would benefit from the addition of black pepper, if maximum absorption is the aim.
There is some research to suggest that turmeric has a positive relationship with improving mood, though the improved mood may be related to the overall improvement of health and wellness resulting from the curcumin found in turmeric, as opposed to any immediate effect from turmeric itself. More clinical studies need to be undertaken to confirm these results, but early clinical data is promising.
Turmeric is a root that contains powerful antioxidant-like properties that helps combat oxidative stress. Proponents also contend that curcumin helps to boost nitric oxide levels. Both may contribute to supporting cardiovascular health, though more research is required.
There is some evidence to support curcumin’s positive impact on joint health, though more research is required.
While the powerful antioxidant-like effect of curcumin on exercise-related muscle soreness has been observed, supporting research to date has been limited. More controlled trials, especially with human subjects, is required.
Turmeric tea is a warm, spicy, drink with a bit of an earthy flavor, and a lightly bitter aftertaste. If the bitter taste is too much, it can be balanced out with sweet ingredients, like cinnamon, coconut milk, honey, or maple syrup. If you’re looking to amp up the warm, bold flavor, add some thinly sliced fresh ginger, which is part of the same plant family as turmeric. Or, for a more calming drink, try adding a few sprigs of fresh mint. As an accent, garnish your tea with a slice of lemon or orange. The color is perfect, the flavor is nice, and the extra vitamin C never hurts. Turmeric tea can also be used to make a delicious tea known as golden milk. Add milk or any milk alternative to make a rich, smooth drink, or even a latte or turmeric chai tea.
A bit of fresh ground black pepper gives turmeric tea a nice kick and it also improves the absorption of curcumin, the antioxidant-like polyphenol in turmeric.
Turmeric tea is safe for most people to consume in moderate amounts. If you experience any allergies after handling turmeric, you should avoid drinking turmeric tea. Pregnant and lactating persons, and anyone taking medications on a daily basis should consult with their physician before drinking turmeric tea.
Neither turmeric tea without any additives, nor a tea that you make from fresh turmeric contain any caffeine. Turmeric tea also pairs well with other caffeine-free teas, such as chamomile and ginger, though if you purchase it in blends with other types of tea, there is a good chance it is caffeinated. If you want to enjoy your pre-packaged turmeric tea without the caffeine buzz, check the labels when you buy it.
Freshly made turmeric tea is caffeine-free and makes an excellent late day, early evening, or bedtime tea. If, however, you are mixing it with other teas, you may get an unwanted jolt and an interrupted sleep cycle from caffeine.
Turmeric tea is low in calories, caffeine free (unless otherwise stated), and rife with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s warm, inviting, and perfect early morning until bedtime. It is generally considered safe for most people to drink daily.
Turmeric tea is often combined with green tea, black tea, and a variety of other teas and spices to create a number of flavor options. The only potential issue with green tea is that it contains caffeine, so your caffeine-free turmeric tea will turn into a caffeinated beverage by mixing the two. Green tea does contain antioxidants and the amino acid called L-theanine which can balance out the stimulating effects of caffeine present.
The basic ingredient of turmeric tea is either a 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric peeled, and sliced thin, or 2tsp of ground turmeric. Add the turmeric to 2 cups of boiling water and steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on your preference. Strain into cups, add honey or other ingredients to sweeten, garnish with lemon or orange slice, and serve. You may also add items like cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, or lemon zest when you steep the turmeric.
To make a golden milk latte, follow the above recipe and substitute milk or any alternative dairy for water. You will get a rich, smooth consistency and a delicious tea beverage that will require an entirely different sweetener, if any. There are many different recipes for turmeric tea. Try them all, or come up with your own favorite.
Turmeric tea is a warm, earthy flavored tea with a spicy kick and a deliciously bitter aftertaste. You can also turn it into a latte, a chai tea, or even an iced tea. Drink it morning, noon, or night, whatever your preference. It’s low in calories, packed with antioxidants, and a perfect bedtime beverage. The choice is yours.
There is no consistent data to substantiate how much turmeric tea you should, or could, drink on a daily basis. There are recommendations like two cups per day, or 2,000mg of turmeric, but there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA). You will likely experience some discomfort if you are drinking too much, though what constitutes too much is different for every individual.
Typically there are only a few potential minor side effects from consuming turmeric tea. If you overdo it, you might experience digestive distress, nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you are allergic to turmeric, you may experience skin rash, or other allergic symptoms that may require medical attention.
There is one side effect that is unique to people using fresh turmeric root. Everything it touches, including your hands, may turn a beautiful shade of golden yellow.