This is how turmeric tea worked its way into my life. The backstory - for a while it felt like someone was sticking a hot poker between my shoulder blades, particularly if I moved my neck in certain directions, like left or right. And the mornings? Ouch. I'm not entirely sure what I did, but I think it might have something to do with shepherding heavy boxes up and down our stairs. Over and over. Apologies for the complaining, but it was something that had been bothering me for the past few weeks, and nothing was really helping until it occurred to me to bump up the turmeric in my diet. It has significant anti-inflammatory properties (as well as a host of other benefits), and I started going for it - adding extra turmeric to curries, drinking turmeric tea in the morning and evenings, and generally keeping it out on the counter for easy access.
Turmeric Tea Inspiration
I remembered an Ayurvedic turmeric paste I'd read about when I was flipping through books in the Los Angeles Library earlier in the summer, and started using that as my tea base. And it helped! I like turmeric in general, but the tea is, flat out, a favorite. I make a paste of honey and turmeric that keeps in a jar for easy use. I heat water, pour it over a spoonful of the paste, and finish with a big squeeze of lemon and a substantial amount of freshly ground black pepper. It's good stuff - the black pepper makes it invigorating (and also helps the body absorb the turmeric), and the honey sets off the earthy-acridness of the spice enough that the tea is still balanced and delicious.
One thing - use mildly hot water here, but not boiling - to help preserve the properties of the raw honey. I'll make note in the recipe below, but wanted to call that out in particular. You can also blend the paste into smoothie, or swirl it into yogurt.
Turmeric Tea Variations
I love combing my spice drawers & herb stashes to experiment with different blends. Here are a few recent turmeric-centric favorites.
- Ginger Verbena Turmeric Iced Tea: I have a prolific lemon verbena plant and I love using the leaves (fresh or dried) in this tea. To eight cups of boiling water add 20 crushed cardamom pods, 10 lemon verbena leaves, 20 black pepper corns, and 10 crushed ginger slices (peeled, 1/4-inch thick, size of a quarter). Boil for 15 minutes, remove from heat and stir in 1/8 teaspoon dried turmeric, or a bit of the honey paste (recipe below). Strain, chill, serve over ice.
- Ginger Tulsi Turmeric Iced Tea: I also grow a good amount of tulsi basil in my garden. It makes a wonder gift on its own, or as part of custom tea blends. And I love it in this iced tea. Basically the process is the same as the above iced tea, simply swap out the lemon verbena, swap in tulsi basil.
- And when I'm ready for a break from turmeric tea, I trade in 8-10 threads of saffron in its place. For a saffron version. Or you can double up and use both!
More Homemade Tea Blends
Hope you enjoy these as much as I do! -h
Turmeric tends to stain anything it comes into contact with, so be careful.
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml good, raw honey
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand, in a jar, for whenever you'd like a cup.
For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. Enjoy! Stir now and then as you drink so all the good stuff doesn't settle to the bottom, or top off with more hot water as you drink it.