This amazing spice is known for giving curries their bright orange/yellow colour. Still, more importantly, it has been used in Asia for thousands of years because of its healing properties and combined with warm milk it's a great way to ensure you get a good night's sleep too!
While it's most commonly bought in a powdered form, you can also buy it from most major supermarket's in its natural root form – it looks like a cross between a small unpeeled carrot and a piece of unpeeled ginger root.
Turmeric's health-promoting benefits are due to curcumin (which give it it's yellow pigment), although it's important to note that only approximately 3% of curcumin (by weight) is in Turmeric, and as a result of this the average inclusion of Turmeric through cooking in your daily diet would not be enough to promote the health benefits, so a supplement is likely to be required to get the full effect.
Curcumin helps to regulate inflammation, so it is often used in the treatment of numerous inflammatory issues such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's and various degenerative conditions.
Beware if you are taking any anticoagulant medications it is essential you check with your GP before adding Turmeric to your diet regularly as it naturally thins the blood and may affect your INR levels.
Because the body does not readily absorb Turmeric, it needs a helping hand. The most effective way to increase the absorption is to combine it with freshly ground black pepper, and some people take a whole peppercorn if they are taking a turmeric supplement as this can enhance the absorption of curcumin by 2000%!
Don't forget Turmeric has a downside.... it stains! So be careful as it will stain skin, clothes and even granite work surfaces.
Trouble sleeping? Have a mug of Moon Milk about 30 minutes before bedtime!