Taking care of nature allows it to keep taking care of us. Recap from last week — Part 1: Everyday Plant Medicine at Home:

Food is medicine; Medicine is food
Healthy planet = secure food and medicine supply
Majority of the world still relies heavily on traditional botanical medicine
Almost half our prescription medicines come from plants in one way or another
Plants in their whole from (dried, ground or crude extracts) are often more effective and less toxic than their synthetic counterparts

Pharmaceuticals are designed largely to provide symptomatic treatment, not treat the root cause of disease. When a plant has root rot, what you do above the ground is cosmetic, it won’t fix the problem. While a plant needs water, how you give it (frequency, quantity, quality, etc.) matters more than the fact that it is given. The same goes with food / medicine and our bodies due to factors such as absorption, individuality, and the microbiome.

We use the rhizome of turmeric and ginger for culinary and medicinal purposes. They are modified horizontal stems rather than true roots. Their aromatic and anti-inflammatory properties are relatively well-known, but there’s many more ways to use and benefit from them. Cozy up to these herbal facts and perhaps a warm mug of Golden Milk or Ginger Turmeric Tea (recipes below)!

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Energetics Mildly pungent: warming, bitter, astringent More pungent: spicy / hot, warming, sweet
Standout constituent(s) Curcuminoid (curcumin) Oleo-resin (gingerols), volatile oil (zingiberene)
Main Actions
  • Alterative (restores function, enhances metabolism, increases vitality)
  • Anti-inflammatory, Anti-microbial, Anti-oxidant, Anti-thrombotic
  • Carminative (reduces gas)
  • Cytotoxic (anti-cancer)
  • Liver enhancing (protects organ, increases bile production)
  • Hypolipidemic (reduces fat / cholesterol in blood)
  • Anti-emetic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmotic, anti-thrombotic
  • Cardiotonic (increases heart rate and contractility)
  • Carminative (reduces gas)
  • Diaphoretic (promotes sweating, warming)
  • Liver enhancing (protects organ, increases bile production)
  • Peripheral circulatory stimulant
Medical uses Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, pain, menstrual difficulties, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, respiratory conditions, liver and digestive disorders (detoxification, gas, protects stomach lining), cancer Motion sickness: cramping, gas, nausea, vomitting; rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, and muscle sprains
Other uses Dye, prepared mustard, curry powder, preservative, poultice Fragrance, baking, confectionery, foot bath
Cautions Staining

Use with caution: pregnancy, bleeding disorder, biliary obstruction, gallstone or stomach ulcer / hyperacidity

Irritation with external use

Use with caution: sensitive stomach, bleeding disorder, peptic ulcer disease, heartburn, GERD / acid reflux, gallstones, kidney disease

Interactions None known. Not well absorbed orally; best taken in a lipid (fat / oil) base Increases absorption of all drugs. May reduce absorption of iron and fat soluble vitamins

Golden Milk Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker

Makes 2 servings

Whisk to combine the following, with 3 cups of dairy or alternative milk (e.g., almond, cashew, coconut, soy, etc., in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat for ~ 5 mins, whisking occasionally:

1.5 cups coconut milk and 1.5 cups almond milk recommended
~1.5 tsp ground (or ~1.5 tbsp fresh grated) turmeric
~¼ tsp ground (or ~1 tbsp fresh grated) ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
~1 tbsp sweetener of choice (e.g., coconut sugar / nectar, stevia, maple syrup, honey)

Ginger Turmeric Tea adapted from IBD News Today

Makes 2 servings

Steep the following in 2 cups freshly boiling water:

~2 tsp fresh grated (or ~⅔ tsp ground) turmeric
~2 tsp fresh grated (or ~⅔ tsp ground) ginger
2 tsp coconut oil
Sweetener of choice (see above)
Fresh lemon wedges

In health,
Dr. Vanessa