So last week I ventured off to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tassie for a bit of a hiking adventure. Let me just say that it was completely breathtaking. It was seven days of vast expanses of gorgeous scenery, fresh mountain air, wildlife, early nights and waking up with the first birdcalls of the day. Also I may have indulged in a slight bit of mountain climbing - let me say ladies, if anyone needs a bit of empowerment nothing makes you have an ‘I am woman’ moment more than climbing a mountain.
But, as with all good outdoors adventures there is a slight risk of injury. On day 5 I managed to twist an ankle and an old hamstring injury started to play up again on day 7. Now that I’m home again I’ve started cranking on the self-care – massage using liniments, herbal patches and a good ol’ cuppa tea.
This particular recipe was gifted to me by my friend Phil, who swears by it for reducing his arthritis and general body-achiness. It’s an amalgamation of a Golden Mylk type drink, with a bit of Chai infusion, but made into a paste that you can pop in the fridge and keep for a few days. The main ingredient is turmeric – the anti-inflammatory herb de jour – and the other ingredients are adjuncts to increase the bioavailability of Curcumin (its active components). Basically, it packs a whole lot of anti-inflammatory and pain-relief punch.
TUMERIC – this weird little rhizome contains Curcumin – a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical. New studies into the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis have shown that turmeric supplements are more powerful for decreasing pain than traditional arthritis treatments. It has also been shown to have positive benefits on inflammatory bowel disease patients as it allows similar anti-inflammatory processes to occur as traditional steroid treatments but without the long-term damage to the lining of the digestive tract. It also actives the opioid pathway in study patients, allowing the body to access it’s own pain-relief pathways. Now that’s some strong rhizome action!
CINNAMON – in Chinese herbal medicine cinnamon helps to increase peripheral circulation and flush tissues with fresh blood. As more blood is moving around, there is increased oxygenation to your limbs and more waste products removed – all helping to allow your injuries to heal more quickly!
BLACK PEPPER – Curcumin generally isn’t naturally bioavailable – when we eat it it’s mostly metabolized before it can be absorbed. The Piperine in black pepper increases how much Curcumin is digested. In order to get the most bang for your buck out of this cup of tea it’s a good idea to add a good pinch of black pepper.
COCONUT OIL – the coconut oil in this recipe has a few uses. It emulsifies all the ingredients so the spices meld really nicely. It’s also anti-inflammatory and as it helps the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins it will help your tummy to digest all of the spices that we’re using.
So…let’s get cookin’…
400ml of your chosen milk (almond, coconut, rice etc etc)
½ c coconut oil (softened to a paste-consistency).
¼ - ½ c sweetener (raw honey, rice malt syrup, maple syrup)
4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp cracked black pepper.
1 ½ tsp nutmeg powder
1 ½ tsp clove powder
1 ½ tsp star anise powder
1 ½ tsp dried ginger powder (or freshly grated ginger root)
STEP 1 – pull all the spices out from where they live in the back of the kitchen cupboard and measure them all out into a bowl. Combine them all together, making sure all the powders don’t fly up into the air and make you sneeze 12 times (whoops).
STEP 2 – add in the coconut oil and sweetener and stir it all up to make a thick paste. Make sure that you use a larger bowl than you need for this – turmeric goes everywhere and it tends to stain everything (note to self: please Google ‘how to remove turmeric from white jumper’ later). You’ll know when it’s ready as it will be a bit hard to mix (but should ideally be a spread-able consistency) and will look like brown sludge. Have a quick taste – add more spices to suit your particular taste buds or more coconut oil if you need it to be a bit more spreadable.
STEP 3 – find a nice jar or tupperwear container and pop the mixture in. It will keep well in the fridge for 3-5 days.
STEP 4 – when you’re ready to have a cuppa, grab a pot and add a big desert spoon of the paste. Pour in the 400ml of milk (or however much fits in your tea mug) and get stirring. The paste will be a bit blobby to start with, but as the milk heats up it will soften the coconut oil and emulsify all the spices into the milk.
STEP 5 – Drink and enjoy! I’ve started having a cup of this every night after dinner and it seems to be working a treat.
Now….to Google how to remove turmeric stains.