Fresh turmeric is readily available in Melbourne stores at the moment and it feels like a good time to take advantage of its innumerable health benefits (more info on that below). Ive made a deliciously warming and uplifting tonic loosely based on Indonesian traditional herbal medicine tonics called Jamu that really helps to improve circulation in the body and reduce systemic inflammation.
So whether you're feeling a little deflated by covid anxiety, school/work stress, too much netflix and comfort food or just the plain old winter blues, this will help to put a little pep in your step and get you feeling more lively.
50g Fresh turmeric (no need to peel)
100g Fresh galangal/ginger or half of each (no need to peel)
1 tsp Black peppercorns
1 tbs Tamarind pulp (no seeds) or lemon/lime juice
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
4 cups filtered watered
Optional: Many people choose to add a couple of tablespoons of sweetener but I quite like the sourness. This feels like a comforting medicinal tonic to me but feel free to add whatever suits your palate.
Wash and slice the roots and add to blender with rest of ingredients and enough of the water to cover.
Blend until smooth and then pour into a saucepan. Use the rest of the water to rinse out any remainder from the blender into the saucepan.
Place the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain through a sieve, pressing out as much liquid from the pulp as you can, bottle and refrigerate. Use within a week.
Waste not want not, so put the remaining pulp back into the saucepan and cover with 1-2 cups fresh water. Resimmer and strain and drink this as is. If the pulp still seems potent, try adding it in to a soup or rice.
This is concentrated jamu that can be taken as a daily shot or mixed with hot water for a warming pick me up. I like to have 1/4 - 1/2 cup topped up with hot water to get my day started. In the summertime, I imagine this would also be lovely mixed with sparkling water.
I started in on this tonic when the second round of lockdown commenced in Victoria and was frankly feeling a little despondent about the state of the world. I was struggling to stay motivated and some days I just did not want to get up and face it. I could go into specifics about the shocking situation residents of the North Melbourne commission flats suddenly found themselves in, or the ongoing mistreatment and violence against people of colour around the world, or the woeful mishandling and politicisation of the pandemic health crisis in the US, or the horror of being or having a loved one in a nursing home at the moment, or a plethora of other things but instead I will say that where ever you are when you are reading this, I sincerely hope that you are safe, healthy and getting the support you need.
This tonic is by no means going to change any of those things, but it might give you the little lift you need to keep going; to look after yourself and continue to be able to look after those around you. I am finding it to be so warming and energising, and perhaps just the little self nurturing ritual that I was needing.
Please be warned though that this tonic put so much zip in my step that I was suddenly energised to get up and start doing all the exercises 🤸♀️! My husband was in stitches to discover me doing an exercise routine consisting of exercises that I simply made up 🤣. That would have been all well and good, but unfortunately I went too far and put my back out. I'm fine now, but please do be careful 🙏. If you haven't been exercising regularly, please ease yourself into it.
So let's have a look at the ingredients and why they are so great.
Turmeric is a member of the Ginger family, native to Indonesia and southern India. It has been and still is a key component in traditional Indonesian herbal medicine (Jamu), traditional Indian herbal medicine (Ayurveda) and traditional Chinese medicine, where it is used as an anti-inflammatory agent in a variety of conditions. It also often applied locally as a poultice to relieve inflammation and pain. Numerous studies have shown turmeric to have considerable anti-inflammatory effects comparable to Hydrocortisone, phenobutazone and over the counter NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) without any of their considerable toxic effects. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect healthy cells from cellular damage, making it useful in protecting against heart disease, neurological diseases and cancer. Turmeric is always best taken with black pepper and some kind of fat to improve its bioavailability, which is my why I have added black pepper and coconut to this recipe. You can read more about the bioavailability of turmeric in my delicious Anti-inflammatory Golden Milk recipe.
As a side note I watched the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric in action in a remote Thai village, when a man had a motorbike accident that left a deep and sizeable gash in his leg. It was cleaned with water and alcohol, then a poultice was made by crushing turmeric, ginger, chillies, salt and other local herbs in a mortar and pestle and applied to the wound. It would have hurt like hell, but it certainly did speed up the healing process. The redness and swelling went down within days!
Ginger is native to southeastern Asia, India and China but is now commercially grown in Australia, Fiji, Jamaica and Indonesia. It is renowned throughout the world for its ability to effectively alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal distress; particularly nausea associated with pregnancy and motion sickness, but also for its ability to ease menstrual cramping and digestive discomfort associated with flatulence. Ginger also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that are believed to be responsible for reduced pain and increased mobility in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that consume ginger regularly. To find out more, head over to my winter warming Ginger recipies and remedies or my delicious Spiced Fresh Ginger Cake recipe
Galangal is also a member of the ginger family and like turmeric and ginger is also a powerful antioxidant with many similar health benefits.
Tamarind is native to Africa but grows throughout India, Pakistan and tropical south east Asia. The tropical trees bear pods that contain largish seeds and sour pulp that become more sweet sour as it matures, and whilst the leaves and seeds are also edible, it is the fruit pulp that is more widely used. It has traditionally be used to treat constipation and diarrhoea and used as poultice on the forehead to treat fevers. Tamarind is a nutrient rich fruit that contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols that can also help to reduce high cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
Lastly, you can find the step by step photos below. But first let me take a moment to send you out lots and lots of love 😘 with a little reminder that it's important to stop and take time to look after yourself xoxoxoxo.
Step by step:
Give all the roots a little scrub. They don't look like much till you cut them open.
Before you slice them up, remember that turmeric will stain everything it touches.
Put the roots together with the rest of the ingredients and as much water as will fit in your blender.
Blend until completely smooth, then pour into a saucepan. Use the remaining water to rinse out the jug and pour that into the saucepan too.
Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on. It will look like pumpkin soup. Remember, this liquid will stain, so strain and bottle it over the sink. Bottle it up and enjoy.