Turmeric is a South East Asian plant belonging to the ginger family that’s been used for over 4000 years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The special nutrient in this plant is called curcumin, it’s the part that gives turmeric its yellow colour and therapeutic effects. Around 3500 research papers have been published on the health benefits of turmeric.
Mostly we know that inflammation is associated with arthritis and chronic pain, but research is now showing that it is also a factor in heart disease, diabetes, gut problems and even mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia. Enter turmeric. It acts a bit like a COX-2 inhibitor, which is how non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and aspirin work, but unlike these turmeric does not mess with your stomach health. In fact, is has also been shown to be a liver protector. The product I use in my clinic has been clinically shown to reduce the pain of arthritis within 45minutes to one hour, ask me about it.
Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which may help improve digestion. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion. I also found it interesting that the German Commission, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems.
Just a few other conditions that turmeric lends its hand to:
- Protects the heart
- Kills off tummy nasties – parasites and other unwanted passengers
- Anti-cancer (mix it with cauliflower to halt prostate probs fellas)
- Skin diseases
- Cholesterol lowerer
In my clinic turmeric is used in various products, depending on your individual needs. To get the therapeutic benefits from your diet you need to eat quite a bit – ok if you are living in India.
Grilled fish with fresh turmeric
This was my absolute favourite dish while I was living and working in Vietnam. You can use groper or any firm fish, sweet lips may also work. You will need a wire clamping grill, I got mine from a large hardware store. Fresh turmeric can usually be found in Asian markets but it’s often frozen. Word of warning – it’s bright and beautiful but it’s messy stuff.
- 300gms fish
- 1 tbspn fresh grated turmeric (or 1 tspn powder)
- 1 tspn shallots or spring onions
- 1 tspn garlic
- 1 tspn fish sauce
- ¼ tspn black pepper
- ¼ tspn salt
- 1 pinch sugar
- 3 tbspn chopped springs onions
- 3 tbspn thinly sliced soaked woodear fungus or Chinese mushrooms
- 3 tbspn vermicelli noodles
- 1 tbspn oil
Mix all the above ingredients together. Place the mixture on a double banana leaf or aluminium foil which is folded over the ingredients to form a parcel that matches the size of the clamp grill. Cook on the BBQ or char grill for 5 mins each side, leave for another 5 mins before unwrapping at the table. Serve with ginger sauce.
- 4 teaspoons minced gingerroot
- 3 large red chilies, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ cup water
Combine all ingredients together in a container and use as a dipping sauce for your turmerighteous fish.