Spicing It Up

by Sara Goldman

Photography Courtesy of Live Strong

Spices have been used in the healing process since ancient times. The first evidence of this goes back to 5000 BC in the Middle East. In ancient Asia and Europe, spices like ginger and turmeric were used as therapeutic foods as well as medicines.

Turmeric and ginger both have exceptional health benefits and can be added into any diet to improve overall health and vitality.

In ancient times, ginger was used to heat the stomach and improve digestion. Ginger is obtained from the root Zingiber officinale, which originated in southern China. It is best known for its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to fight indigestion.

The National Institute of Health conducted a 2010 study of the effects of ginger on muscle pain.

The results: according to the research, “Daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury.”

Therefore, ginger is a great natural way to reduce exercise related soreness and inflammation.

There are many ways to consume ginger. Trader Joes and other food retailers sell delicious ginger tea for easy, every day sipping.

Or, you can make your own ginger tea. This recipe from Martha Stewart is simple and so delicious. You only need ¼ cup of grated, fresh ginger, 4 cups of boiling water and four teaspoons of honey. Simply put the grated ginger in a teapot, pour the boiling water over it and steep for around four minutes. Serve with honey. Delish!

Breanne Kovatch (COM ’20) said ginger tea might be an acquired taste, but attests to its benefits.

“The taste is pretty odd [to me] but the health benefits definitely outweigh that,” she said. “It’s one of those things that’s really comforting after a long day.”

Turmeric is another exceptional spice; it was first cultivated in India and is scientifically known as Curcuma longa. It is believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterolemic properties.

There is evidence that curcumin (one of the ingredients in turmeric) is a medical multitasker and can help with a range of different medical ailments.

Barbara Delage, Ph.D and nutrition scientist with the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center explains how turmeric could help with health conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s, to cancer to rheumatoid arthritis.

“Curcumin is versatile. Within cells, it can target specific molecules or pathways that are involved in the control of the cell cycle, inflammation, oxidative stress, etc., depending of the type of cells under scrutiny,’ she said in an interview with NBC News.

So, if you’re looking to add a healthy powerhouse to your diet, look no further.

If you loved the ginger tea, you’ll love this turmeric tea as well.

You’ll need: ¼ cup water, ½ tsp of dried turmeric, 1 ½ inch piece ginger, 1 cardamom pod, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 black peppercorns, ½ tbs honey, 1 cup milk of choice and 1 black tea bag.

Add all the ingredients except the tea bag and milk to a small pan over low heat, bring to a simmer and pour in milk and add the tea bag, strain it and pour it into a cup and enjoy hot!

Better yet, turmeric has skin-healing properties. Since turmeric is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, it kills bacteria in acne as well as reducing acne inflammation as well. Cocokind, a natural skincare company developed the Turmeric Spot Treatment stick which is a powerful (affordable) tool in reducing and treating acne using natural ingredients.

Ginger and turmeric have amazing healing properties that everyone should look into for clearer skin, better digestion and reduced soreness.