For thousands of years in Asia and along the silk road, Turmeric was revered and valued as a precious golden spice, known for it's warm spicy flavour, distinctive orange colour for dyes and it's healing properties. In India Ayruvedic medicine has long known of it's super power. However, it has only been recently that people throughout the rest of world have discovered the many uses turmeric has for health and well being and as a tasty addition to culinary delights. This little root can help our bodies in miraculous ways and also healing our pets.

Turmeric also known as curcumin or curcuma longa, is a powerful antioxidant, adaptogen, antiviral, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, anti carcinogen and contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals. Including zinc, protein, niacin, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron and magnesium.

Healing My Cat.

I have had my own experience with turmeric's effectiveness for healing on my ginger cat Ziggy, who over a year ago had a nasty growth on his nose. It was very volatile looking growth which swelled rapidly in just a few days, up to a third the size of my poor pussy's face. I was very concerned, as he was not able to eat properly or clean himself. I knew he needed to go to the vet. However, this idea upset me as I knew they would operate on him and possibly cut a large chunk out of his poor little nose, leaving him with a deformed face and a lot of misery.

Before taking him I tried a home remedy I was aware of. I mixed 2 heaped tablespoons of raw organic coconut oil, with a tablespoon of organic turmeric and a sprinkle of black pepper corn ( which is supposed to activate the turmeric and the fat in the coconut oil is a great carrier for it). I mixed it all together to make a golden paste, and put it in his bowl.

To my surprise he ate nearly all of it. This is unusual as it is not the most appetising thing, and he usually only likes cat food, yet I believe he knew it was good for him. I also made another paste with an oily petroleum based papaya cream and mixed about half a teaspoon of turmeric to make another paste. I applied this cream to his face, where the volatile growth was.

I did the same process later in the day, and still hesitated from taking him to the vet, I thought if he has not improved by tomorrow, I will take him first thing. The next morning I woke up and to my amazement there was Ziggy my ginger cat, looking healthy and happy with no growth on his face, all that remained was a tiny pin prick of a red dot. I could not believe it, the nasty volatile growth had disappeared, it had completely fallen off his face, and he looked as happy as Larry (whoever he is)! For extra precaution I fed him another dose of the oil mixed with turmeric and put some cream on the tiny dot on his nose. Time passed and thankfully the growth never reappeared on my little ginger cat's nose, I am sure I have turmeric to thank.

I watched him transform from a sick kitty who needed the vet to operate on him, to a happy cat who never looked like he had any problems. Since then I have attempted to feed it to him and he rejected it, as he only wanted to eat it when he was sick; animals are intuitive and he knew it was medicine.

Ok, so it is just a story about a cat, nothing to exciting in this day and age, yet it taught me first hand how wonderful turmeric is for healing ailments, as animals are very receptive to healing substances. Since then, whenever I have an illness rearing it's ugly head, I have taken the same turmeric, coconut oil and black pepper concoction, and found it to be a great preventative, which boosts my immune system.

Now I religiously add it to my cooking, along with many other spice combinations. I agree with the Hippocratic oath "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be our food." Makes sense and turmeric certainly is a medicine.

Beneficial Medicine For Everyone.

Turmeric according to over 6000 Peer Reviewed scientific studies, is beneficial for all sorts of ailments including inflammation, skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, arthritis, viral infections, nausea, hormonal imbalances, obesity, hypertension, glaucoma, Helicobacter pylori, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and depression. With so many benefits it cannot hurt to add a teaspoon of it to your next meal, or if curries are not your thing why not try a golden latte.

Here is a great recipe you can make at home, which is tasty and immune boosting.

Golden Vegan Milk

This recipe is #vegan, #gluten-free and deliciously medicinal.

- half a litre of coconut milk

- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

-1 tablespoon of coconut syrup (or to taste)

-1 table spoon of turmeric

- quarter a teaspoon of black pepper

- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

- 1 cardamon pod

- half a teaspoon of nutmeg

First crush in a mortar and pestle the black pepper corns and the cardamon pod, until a fine powder. Then on moderate heat, heat up the coconut oil in a saucepan, once the coconut oil is melted add the turmeric and black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and cardamon, mix to make a paste, then gradually blend in the coconut milk, heat till almost boiled, then sweeten to taste with coconut syrup.

If you do not have coconut milk, rice, soy, cow or almond works alright too. This is a warm nourishing drink, perfect to keep away the winter blues. This literally rivals coffee for taste and much healthier. I suggest if possible sourcing #organic ingredients to amplify the health benefits of this delicious drink.

Growing Turmeric Turmeric

Turmeric is from the Zingiberaceae family, and is not exactly a root, it's technically a rhizome, like other brilliant medicinal rhizomes such as ginger, galangal, ginseng and arrowroot which grows well in a tropical or subtropical climate, although it is also possible to grow in a warm temperate climate, it does not like cold below 18 C. If you do live in a cooler climate you can plant it indoors in a pot.

It enjoys nitrogen rich, composted soil and full sun. To plant it one does not use a seed, just a piece of the rhizome, plant pieces 15 or so inches apart. It takes about 8 to 10 months before it is ready for harvest, you will know it is ready to harvest when the leaves have died back and turned yellow. Start digging the soil around the area of the plant and you will be amazed by the clumps of bright orange root you dig up, absolute abundance. Once you have it in the ground, it will keep popping up for years to follow, due to the roots spreading throughout the garden. Some of the roots are in the shape of people, which is believed to be in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to be very auspicious and potent.

Once harvested, wash the turmeric and put it in an air tight container, in dark cool place to dry. It is a beautiful plant with wide leaves and pink, white and yellow flowers. It can be grated and put in cooking and smoothies. Be careful, as it will stain your hands, although is easily washed off with soap. If you are in a cooler climate and struggle to grow this grow this golden root indoors, I suggest purchasing the dried root or powder, when sourcing it I suggest finding the organic variety and it is always more medicinal.

Get into some turmeric today and like myself I hope you reap the many benefits and taste sensations of this wonderful root, stay tuned for more stories on health, plant based cooking, permaculture and herbalism.