It's winter, y'all. The days are (finally) getting a little longer, but it's still dark and cold more often than it's not. If you're like me, this is the time of year when I become a veritable tea-drinking machine. Sometimes I need it to help me wake up in the mornings (so hard to get going when it's dark and cold outside!), and sometimes I need it to help me drift off to sleep after a long day. Other times, I drink herbal infusions as tea to help me with a particular ailment, like a cold, anxiety, or a stomachache. To start us off in this very first blog post, I'm sharing a recipe for a sweet, creamy tea drink that is also packed with beneficial plant medicine. Add some sunshine to your winter days with this Turmeric Almond Milk Latte!
First, some phytochemistry (plant chemistry) to explain what makes this tea so great. You've probably heard of turmeric, and if you haven't heard of it by name, you've certainly seen it in action. It's a relative of ginger, and looks pretty similar- a knobby-looking root, but where ginger is yellow underneath the skin, turmeric is carrot-orange. It's sold as a powder in the spice aisle of most grocery stores, but some markets carry it fresh and whole. If you've ever had an Indian or Thai curry that was yellow-colored and had a rich, warm flavor, you've had turmeric.
Turmeric (Latin name curcuma longa) is packed with phenols, which are chemical compounds that give lots of plants their colors and flavors. If it's bright, it's probably got some phenols in it. Bright colors in herbs also often signify the presence of antioxidants, which are chemical compounds that prevent the creation of dangerous free radicals in our bodies. Turmeric is a great example of that bright color acting as an announcement banner: HEALTHY STUFF THIS WAY!
The key chemical in turmeric is curcumin, which should sound familiar- it's the same root as the plant's Latin name! According to the enormous and wonderful Medical Herbalism textbook by David Hoffman, "Curcumin and the other curcuminoids have been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and have been entered into Phase I clinical trials by the National Cancer Institute to investigate their cancer-preventive activities."
Other benefits outlined in Hoffman's book for turmeric:
- Cancer prevention
- Antihepatotoxic (protects the liver from toxins- especially good for those with viral hepatitis)
So now that we know how magical this little root is, let's make some tea with it! This recipe is from Mother Earth Living.
Turmeric Almond Milk Latte Recipe
1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon ground organic turmeric
1 Tablespoon extra virgin organic coconut oil
1 Tablespoon raw honey
1/4 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
Heat the milk, turmeric and coconut oil in a stainless steel pot on medium. Do not boil. Add the honey and mix just until honey dissolves, 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a mug and add the cinnamon on top. Sit and relax and enjoy!
****All medical information drawn from Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman. Recipe from Mother Earth Living. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure disease. Please see an herbalist or a physician if you're in need of medical attention****