A beautiful herb which I have fond memories of harvesting fresh at Lyon Arboretum on O’ahu, Hawaii. They grow extremely well in the tropical climate of Hawaii and boy, were they muddy! It felt like we were washing pounds of mud away!
Turmeric is known as o’lena in Hawaiian. This herb was used by Native Hawaiians for food, medicine, and dye. The turmeric roots here are large and don’t look as “dried” out as the ones sold at the groceries.
Fresh cut turmeric has a gold orange color to it..and it stains everything! I was taking Hawaiian herbal healing classes (La’au Lapa’au) at Windward University and we made an anti-cold tincture with fresh o’lena, garlic, and hot chili peppers. It was topped off with vodka and left to steep for a few weeks. When we felt like we got a cold we took some of this spicy garlic mixture!
Not only are they a pretty plant and make fantastic color, turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and it does an even better if you boost it with a little bit of black pepper (as there is something in the black pepper that activates certain compounds in turmeric). One way I enjoy turmeric’s health benefits is adding a small spoonful of it in my morning coffee (Thanks to Anais for getting me on this!)
Other great health benefits of turmeric includes:
blood sugar balancer
helps protect and soothe the stomach
relieves gas and bloating
has anti-food poisoning properties
helps relieve arthritis pain
To fully boost turmeric's health properties, it is best to add a little bit of black pepper. As the compounds in black pepper helps make turmeric more bio available.
As you can see, turmeric makes a fantastic warm yellow. I used powdered turmeric and steeped it on low heat for a few minutes. This is one of the easiest pigments to make and I hope to grow turmeric one day so I can use the fresh roots!