Let's talk about turmeric, baby! You may have thought about this root being a "superfood," but labels aside, it's important to get into what that really means.
Before we get into turmeric tea, let's focus on the spice itself. Turmeric, sometimes known as "Indian saffron," is an ancient and celebrated plant belonging to the ginger family that is still widely used and revered around the world, both medicinally and in food and beverages. Known for its golden-yellow hue, (so strong that if the raw stuff gets on your marble countertop, good luck washing it off!), potent antioxidant abilities, and vibrant flavor, this is one food that is rooted so deep in history and world cultures that we know it's here to stay, and not just the next "lifestyle" fad (Kale, anyone?).
Turmeric originated in India about 4,000 years ago and was first traded along the ancient Silk Road. Its uses included treatment and prevention in Ayurvedic medicine and other holistic medical systems, flavoring and color in various foods, and it was even used to dye clothing and other items, as well as to make cosmetics. Turmeric eventually became known for everything from healing wounds to melting fat from the body (though some claims were more valid than others!). Quickly, the turmeric trade and adoption into local food, commerce, and medicine occurred in China, then Africa, then across the Atlantic to Jamaica and the Americas.
Today in Eastern and integrative medicine, the flowering plant is still used to help digestive issues, detoxify the liver, boost immune function, lower cholesterol, and help prevent certain diseases like cancer as part of a larger, consciously healthy regimen. Its biggest claim to fame is probably its anti-inflammatory properties, helping alleviate chronic and short-term conditions like arthritis and temporary fluid retention; inflammation has also been shown to be the first indicator in more serious illnesses like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, colitis, and Diabetes. A daily dose of turmeric is one of many tools for preventative care.
Fast forward to 2019 and walk into Heavenly Tea Leaves headquarters and you'll find that we've embraced the superfood in the best way we know how: by incorporating it into a series of delicious, eye-catching, and healthful tea blends. Fully committed to the idea of turmeric as a healing spice, the team at Heavenly Tea Leaves had developed a full line of loose-leaf turmeric teas that all feature the same essential ingredient, but are varied enough to strike your fancy, no matter your taste or preference.
Feeling spicy? Try the naturally caffeine-free Ginger Turmeric or Turmeric Chili Chai. In the mood for some R&R? Then the rooibos-based Turmeric Oasis will do the trick, complete with rosehip, orange peel, and vanilla notes. Can't decide exactly how you want to indulge in turmeric tea? Get your hands on our Turmeric Tea sampler! With 20 servings per can, this beautifully packaged, tea set is the perfect holiday gift (as well as the ideal self-care buy) for anyone with exotic preferences and an interest in a holistic lifestyle.
You may have seen turmeric sold in its readily usable form, as a mustard-colored spice. Whole turmeric, though, comes fresh in a pod. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find it much of the year in your grocer's produce aisle. What's the advantage of the fresh kind, you ask? A more potent aroma to boot! Just grind a pod or two with a mortar and pestle and use it in your favorite stew, or on chicken, fish, or roasted vegetables. To make the spice, the fresh pods, known as rhizomes, are boiled, dried, and ground into the fine powder you see at the supermarket.
Feel like you want to change up your turmeric situation once in a while? Never fear. We're sharing the worst-kept secret recipe for rich and tasty "golden milk"—a technically tea-free (and dairy-free) concoction that's been lauded by the likes of Dr. Oz and the wellness gurus at Goop. Each variation is slightly different but equally delicious. Think of this as your turmeric craving's answer to the matcha latte, minus the caffeine! Hot tip: If you love the richness of this recipe but still need that tea kick, try adding this mixture to a base of hot, brewed black tea; this will result in a version of the classic chai latte!
Recipe for Golden "Milk" Turmeric Tea via Epicurious
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy "milk," preferably coconut beverage, almond beverage, or oat beverage
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 piece turmeric, unpeeled, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
- 1 piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Ground cinnamon (for serving)
Whisk milk alternative, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon. ("Golden milk" can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.)
Using fresh turmeric adds a clean, bright flavor to this drink, but dried turmeric can be substituted when fresh is not available. Keep in mind that dried turmeric will settle to the bottom of the mug, so stir well before drinking.