I was intrigued by this turmeric tea recipe Heidi Swanson posted on her blog 101 Cookbooks, based on an Ayurvedic recipe she found. Turmeric became my friend after accidentally creating multiple aches and pains in my knees and hip during last spring’s 22-mile Big Sur Marathon walk. Remembering that a (talented, accomplished, and beautiful) dancer friend once told me they would make turmeric paste to slather on sore muscles and joints while on tour, I found a cream made of turmeric extract, curcumin, that seemed to do the trick without turning my clothing bright orange.

Turmeric doesn’t just give curry that wondrous yellow color. It’s is the wonderkind of Ayerveda, traditional Hindu medicine. Lisa Gallant of the California College of Ayervedic names a few of the many 5,000-year old uses for turmeric, including: use as a cold remedy, to give relief from bruises, sprains, and inflamed joints, to soothe skin from rashes ranging from eczema to chicken pox, even an insect repellent.

The recipe is simple. This is all you need: turmeric, raw honey, lemon, hot water (not boiling), and black pepper.


(I was psyched to find Wild Mountain brand honey at the grocery story. Wild Mountain Honey. Get it?)

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Anyway, mix 1/3 cup raw honey with 2 1/2 teaspoons turmeric.


Blend well; it will become a medium paste:


To make a cup of tea, add 1 teaspoonful of the past to a mug. Fill with hot water (not boiling water; as Heidi Swanson points out, you preserve the benefits of the raw honey if the water is not hot enough to cook it). Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and a generous sprinkle of finely ground black pepper to taste.


Sip and enjoy . . . you really will enjoy it once you get used to it. You may be turned off at first sniff, as I was, and was suspicious about it’s relative tastiness. But I enjoy it, even though I don’t really see the flavors coming together to create something new; I can taste the lemon and honey individually. I find it oddly soothing, though, and you can’t beat the mental feel-good properties.