By Farhana Rahman
Throwback to my wedding in 2014 at the Gaye Holud – an informal party where the bride/groom is covered in turmeric so that the skin is glowy and fresh for the big day!
So we all know that turmeric is the golden root, the elixir of youth and the source of all goodness in the world, right? In short: TUMERIC IS LIFE. Except…it's probably not, let's be honest. Like all things, some balance is good and so perhaps we should take a pause from the Turmeric Hype and get some perspective. For centuries, swathes of people across Asia have been consuming it on a daily basis, and whilst there is undeniable benefit from this, people there still get sick and still have chronic health conditions.
However in the West, there’s been a recent awakening to this Eastern culinary staple and it seems like everyone’s lost their marbles. Turmeric in your dessert! Turmeric in your coffee! Turmeric cleans your teeth! Wait…what’s that I hear? Why, that’s the distant roar of laughter of my ancestors, watching us bemusedly until we run out of bonkers ways to use turmeric and move on to the next health kick of the moment.
Don’t get me wrong. Turmeric is great. We were raised on the stuff. My mother will put it in all her curries and daals and so we grew up eating it everyday. And now, I put it in (virtually) all my cooking, even if it’s just a pinch to add some colour. I also buy the root, grate it and keep it in the fridge. In winter, I’ll swallow a teaspoon of it with water along with some ginger on a daily basis to help keep colds at bay. If I can be bothered to clean up the inevitable mess afterwards, I’ll put some of the root on face – it’s great for skin and makes you glow golden rather than jaundiced, although FYI your face will stink so I wouldn’t recommend it before a date. Luckily no one smells your face at your wedding so that worked out fine. My Indian friends grew up drinking warm milk with a pinch of turmeric whenever they got sick, and I’ve added this to my turmeric bag of tricks. It’s been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine, so it seems that we in the West are just a little late to the party.
In Part 2, I’ll be breaking down some facts from studies looking at the golden root. Sign up to the newsletter for more!