Lily’s Divine Turmeric Paste

Author: Lily Mazzarella

Farmacopia - Divine Turmeric PasteI first learned about the healing properties of Turmeric in the late 90’s while studying Ayurvedic medicine and working at Integral Yoga Natural Vitamin in NYC (I call it the Integral Yoga Natural Compound, since they occupy most of the buildings on one block of 13th st.  It’s technically an ashram in the middle of the West Village—wild!).  Turmeric was everywhere, drifting in plumes around the bulk bins, wafting into the yoga rooms from the kitchen, where large vats of kitcharee percolated. A bright golden haze hangs over my memory of that time. We sold it in the herb store, of course; Turmeric was just coming on the scene as an anti-inflammatory.  Early research showed promise for prostate health, liver protection, and reducing inflammatory enzyme load. 

15 years later, Curcumin, one of the main active constituents in Turmeric, has emerged as a pharmacological powerhouse—and a widely available supplement.  Thousands of research papers point to its myriad protective actions and mechanisms of action.  Just a FEW highlights, supported by research, include:

  • Chemopreventative:  research is abundant for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer cell lines
  • Neuroprotection:  our brains are targets of chemical and heavy metal-induced toxicities; Curcumin helps protect our delicate neurons and is antioxidant in the central nervous system
  • Anti-inflammatory:  Curcumin is a rockstar here.  Many people are seeking alternatives to commonly used NSAIDs like ibuprofen as dangers of their use become known.  Curcumin has gone head to head with NSAIDs in multiple clinical trials and more than held its own!
  • Hepatoprotectant:  protects the liver against various chemical assaults, and supports the production and flow of bile
  • Radioprotectant:  protects healthy cells against the effects of radiation
  • Cognition-enhancing:  protects the brain from the (literal) brain damage caused by chronic stress; preliminary research indicates Curcumin may protect against development of Alzheimer’s

(We could go on.  And I do mean ON.  But that is for another post….)

Topical Turmeric?

As an adventuresome herb student, I put anything and everything on my skin in an attempt to quell the itch and rash of my eczema. I mixed it with Licorice powder and applied liberally—and was introduced first hand to the power of Turmeric’s pigments.  This was more a golden deluge than a golden haze…but it worked!  I put it on everything red, hot, or infected, including bug bites and poison ivy, and gargled with it at the onset of sore throats.

Can I eat it?

Later I riffed on commonly available recipes for Turmeric paste meant for internal use.  Of note regarding Curcumin: its poor oral bioavailability.  That is, Curcumin is anti-inflammatory as all get-out in a test tube, but unfortunately we excrete most of it in our feces.  However, if bound to a phospholipid (found in soy, eggs, and our cell membranes), or combined with bioperine (a component of black pepper—curry, anyone?) the bioavailability of Curcumin increases dramatically.  Adding fat, in the form of ghee or coconut oil/milk will theoretically help as well.  Epidemiological data on curry consumers back this up.

So, to get the benefits of the curcumin orally, it is important to either take it in a phospholipid-bound form (we like “Meriva” and CuraMed at Farmacopia), with bioperine, or eat your Turmeric with fat and black pepper.

I recently taught classes on Inflammation and Cognition at the Northern California Women’s Herbal  Symposium, and blended up this divine Golden Turmeric Paste for us to try.  Over 16 ounces of this paste were consumed in the 2 classes, and there was a great demand for the recipe.  Though I made it up as I went along, here’s an approximation of how I got there:

Lily’s Divine Golden Turmeric Paste

Ingredients

½ cup organic turmeric powder
1 cup filtered water, plus ½ cup
¼ cup raw honey (optional)
½  cup organic virgin coconut oil
½-1 tsp organic black pepper
1-2 tsps combined spices:  nutmeg, garam masala, cinnamon, cardomom, etc, to taste
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt

All measures are approximate.  You can adjust amounts of powder, water, and oil for desired consistency.

Instructions

Whisk water and turmeric together, and bring to a simmer. Continuing whisking as you adjust water amount for desired thickness.

Add black pepper, other spices and salt. Continue whisking for 4-5 minutes.

Add coconut oil and whisk until fully combined.

Turn off heat.

While cooling, add the raw honey and blend thoroughly.

While still runny, pour into clean jars and refrigerate.

Turmeric is powerfully anti-microbial (as are most of the ingredients). This should last many weeks in the fridge, especially if you dip in with clean spoon each time.

Divine Jar of Turmeric. Voila!     

      How to Use it:

+ Eat by the teaspoonful—it will stimulate digestion, bile flow, and the bowels
+ Add to smoothies, yogurt, curries, or pumpkin pies
+ Heat with whatever milk you desire for a morning or before bed treat

Print Recipe
Lily’s Divine Turmeric Paste
All measures are approximate. You can adjust amounts of powder, water, and oil for desired consistency.
Instructions
  1. Whisk water and turmeric together, and bring to a simmer. Continuing whisking as you adjust water amount for desired thickness.
  2. Add black pepper, other spices and salt. Continue whisking for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil and whisk until fully combined.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. While cooling, add the raw honey and blend thoroughly.
  6. While still runny, pour into clean jars and refrigerate.
  7. Turmeric is powerfully anti-microbial (as are most of the ingredients). This should last many weeks in the fridge, especially if you dip in with clean spoon each time.
Recipe Notes

+ Eat by the teaspoonful—it will stimulate digestion, bile flow, and the bowels
+ Add to smoothies, yogurt, curries, or pumpkin pies
+ Heat with whatever milk you desire for a morning or before bed treat

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Comments

    1. Hi there, this is interesting. While variability in consistency is normal, it shouldn’t separate or be runny (unless you want it runny). Regarding separation, it might not have been whisked long enough to emulsify the coconut oil and water solubles (water + honey). For the “runnyness” you may want to try adding more powder and less water next time.

  1. Two great emulsifiers are egg yolks and powdered mustard seed (as in mayonnaise). The egg yolks and oil would give a bunch of fats. Lemon juice or vinegar would seem to well flavorwise with curcumin. Have you ever tried this sort of combo?

  2. Hi! Can you please share your eczema “recipe”? I am miserable with eczema and have tried every single thing that I’ve read or heard about (while also trying to heal my leaky gut for the past 2-3 years)…but I haven’t tried turmeric yet! I’m desperate for any help to get the itchy redness to go away, it looks like it may be getting infected – thanks!! 🙂

    1. Hi there! So sorry to hear about your eczema troubles. We may have a skin/eczema blog sometime in the near future. Thank you for the request!

      As far as your Leaky Gut, you may want to read through our latest Leaky Gut blog post, if you haven’t done so yet. Also, by requests like yours, we now have a ready-to-go Leaky Gut Rescue Kit available in our online store. It includes the 7 items we consider to be the foundation to broad-spectrum support. You can find it here: http://farmacopia.net/store/product/leakygutkit/

    2. I had eczema for many years and stopped all grains and have had no problems since, I also rarely did dairy since that bothered me in other ways but either of these can be a problem for skin. Also added ferments and stomach problems stopped too. Good luck to you, I know how tough it is to live with these problems.

  3. Love this recipe. Ive made it a few times but I use maple syrup instead of raw honey since it can be added hot and then the finished jars be lidded while hot and then hopefully last longer in the fridge. Mine is used too quickly to know if this helps. I also add some red pepper, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cumin and piper longum for all their benefits. It changes the flavor, sharpens it up. im mixing up some Garam Masala to put in my next batch, that sounds yummy.

  4. Oh, and even add some gelatin. This way I take all my important ‘dailies’ in one warm morning beverage.

  5. I just made my first batch of turmeric paste. I was amazed that I had ALL the ingredients needed. Mine might be a bit runny, too. It might also need a bit more cinnamon, cardamon and honey for our taste preference. I am looking forward to having it with a bit of plain yogurt or kefir daily. Yum!

  6. Lily,
    How I wish you were selling your divine turmeric paste — I would be your first customer!
    I am currently in NE Ohio, but lived on Jane Street around the corner-ish from Integral Yoga in the ’90s; spent 40 years in NYC.
    You look familiar … maybe we were neighbors; or maybe we met when I lived in San Rafael for a while.
    ~carolyn

  7. I have an SI injury with much inflammation. I apply turmeric to the areas. Do you ever add coconut oil topically?

  8. I make a very similar paste that I take daily to help with my asthma. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are very beneficial in reducing inflammation in the lungs, and helps me stay off of steroid inhalers. Of course, I still never go anywhere without a rescue inhaler on me, and wouldn’t suggest anyone just stop their asthma meds and switch to turmeric, because no no enjoys being unable to breathe, but I have found that the turmeric has drastically reduced the number of times I reach for my inhaler. And that’s a wonderful thing.

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