Turmeric tea is a beverage made by infusing turmeric, a bright yellow spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, into hot water. Many people enjoy making turmeric tea because it’s a simple way to incorporate curcumin, its main bioactive compound, into your diet. Curcumin has been studied for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunizing health benefits, among others.
This article examines the health benefits of drinking golden turmeric tea, including how to make it, how to get the most out of it, and potential downsides to consider.
6 Benefits of Golden Turmeric Tea (With or Without Milk)
Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, particularly in Ayurveda, for its potential health benefits. The active compound in turmeric responsible for its vibrant color and many of its health properties is curcumin.
Though scientific research on the health benefits of turmeric is ongoing, some studies suggest that turmeric and curcumin offer several potential health benefits. Here are six ways you might benefit from drinking turmeric tea.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine rooted in India. The word “Ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit words “ayur,” meaning life, and “veda,” meaning knowledge. Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and wellness that combines practices like nutrition, herbal medicine, massage, yoga, and meditation with the belief that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected.
Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to various diseases, and curcumin may help reduce inflammation in the body.
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and various diseases. The antioxidants in turmeric, including curcumin, may help protect cells from oxidative stress.
Joint Health Support
Some studies suggest that turmeric may be beneficial for joint health. It may help alleviate arthritis symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies even suggest that turmeric has a therapeutic effect on joints that is similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Turmeric may help stimulate the production of bile, a fluid your liver secretes to break down dietary fat and aid digestion. Additionally, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits may benefit individuals with digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Immune System Support
Curcumin may help support normal immune function. Though more research is necessary, some studies suggest that turmeric may help regulate the immune response and enhance the body’s ability to fight infections.
Studies suggest that curcumin may help support the health of blood vessels and promote better blood flow. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help lower risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, making turmeric tea a potentially heart-healthy addition to a balanced diet.
How Many Cups of Turmeric Tea Can You Drink Daily?
For a frame of reference, 1 teaspoon of turmeric is 3 grams. The dried turmeric you use to make tea contains around 3% curcumin. Countless turmeric supplements are available that range from 500–10,000 milligrams (mg) of turmeric per dose based on what has worked in studies for various conditions.
In comparison, 1 cup of turmeric tea generally contains a smaller amount of turmeric than most supplements do.
The amount of turmeric tea you can drink daily depends on individual factors like tolerability and personal preference. For most people, a moderate intake of 1 or 2 cups per day can offer turmeric’s benefits without a high risk of side effects.
How to Prepare Turmeric Tea
Depending on your preferences, there are a few variations in how you can make golden turmeric tea. Below is a basic recipe for preparing this belly-warming beverage. Note that you can use either fresh turmeric root or dried turmeric powder.
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder or a 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric root (grated or thinly sliced)
- 1–2 cups of water
- Optional: a slice of ginger, a dash of black pepper, honey, or lemon to taste
- Boil the water in a pot.
- Add the turmeric (and ginger) to the boiling water.
- Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea to remove any solid particles.
- Add black pepper, honey, or lemon to taste.
- Optionally, add a milk of choice.
Let your turmeric tea settle until it’s cool enough to drink. It is delicious, but research also shows that boiling turmeric doesn’t reduce its antioxidant activity.
How to Increase Turmeric Bioavailability in Tea
Adding even a small amount of turmeric to your diet on its own is a great way to reap its health benefits. However, its main bioactive compound, curcumin, isn’t very bioavailable on its own. This means that your body actually absorbs and utilizes only a small percentage of it without help.
Research shows that combining turmeric with black pepper can help enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000%. This is because black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which makes the body more readily able to absorb curcumin.
When you finish preparing turmeric tea, then, add a dash of some black pepper (or as much as you like).
Side Effects and Interactions
Turmeric tea is generally considered safe for most healthy people when consumed moderately. However, specific populations may need to take caution when adding turmeric tea to their diet because it may pose potential risks and interactions with medications.
Potential side effects
For some people, consuming turmeric tea may result in side effects like:
- Allergic reactions: Though uncommon, some people may have a turmeric allergy that can result in a reaction related to the skin or breathing. This appears more likely when turmeric is applied topically as opposed to orally.
- Digestive upset: Some people may experience digestive side effects like nausea or diarrhea in response to excessive consumption of turmeric.
- Reduced iron absorption: In high doses, turmeric may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron. If you have low iron levels or don’t consume many iron-rich foods, practice moderating your turmeric intake. Increasing your consumption of vitamin C-rich foods, like citrus fruits, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers can help boost iron absorption.
Turmeric may interact with the following medications, reducing their effectiveness or activity in the body:
- Diabetes medications: Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, which could drop significantly if you also take medications to control diabetes.
- Antiplatelet drugs: Turmeric may have blood-thinning effects and amplify anticoagulant activity, increasing the risk of bleeding.
- Iron supplements: Turmeric may interfere with iron absorption, so consider taking them at a different time during the day.
If you take any of these medications or supplements, talk to a healthcare provider before adding turmeric to your diet.
Turmeric is best known for its use in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, but many people are also discovering the tastiness of turmeric tea. Turmeric tea is made by boiling turmeric in water and adding a few other simple ingredients, like ginger, black pepper, and milk. It’s a great way to reap turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits as well as its bioactive component, curcumin.
Turmeric tea is a healthy beverage for most, but those who take iron supplements or medications for diabetes or blood-thinning should take caution. If you use these products, speak with a healthcare provider before adding turmeric to your diet. Otherwise, enjoy the aromatic and flavorful delight turmeric tea has to offer.