Turmeric is an extremely versatile spice and offers a host of health benefits and survival uses. While the little orange powdery substance may be best known as a primary ingredient in Indian curries, it is also highly regarded as a natural emergency medical must-have for preppers and homesteading families.
Curcumin is a compound only found in turmeric. It is a cousin to ginger and has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. The spice comes from a colorful plant that boasts a substantial level of antioxidants. The nutrients found in turmeric are considered by many to contain anti-inflammatory properties and help repair cells from free radical damage.
The spice is produced by a perennial plant that grows primarily in China and India. The plant reaches up to 1.5 meters tall and produces large, oblong leaves and funnel-shaped yellow flowers. The plant’s thick rhizome produces a yellowish color on the outside but is deep orange or sometimes even reddish brown on the inside. The turmeric spice is gathered by drying the primary bulb and secondary lateral rhizomes. The material is washed, boiled, dried and powdered before use.
Turmeric Survival Uses and Health Benefits
- Sprain – To help reduce pain and swelling form a sprain, mix two parts of turmeric and one part salt with just enough water to make a thin paste; spread it on the affected area. Leave the poultice on for approximately 20 minutes to an hour once each day until the sprain is healed. The mixture will most definitely leave a yellowish stain on the skin that will subside after scrubbing in several days.
- Toothpaste and whitener – The spice is an active ingredient in many homemade toothpaste remedies. Turmeric is thought to aid in gum health and has a whitening effect on teeth.
- Antioxidant soap – Add turmeric to your favorite homemade soap recipe to help sooth dry skin and to reverse the damage from free radicals.
- Swimmer’s Ear – Mix equal parts turmeric with garlic oil to help move water out of sore ears.
- Stomachache – Turmeric may help quiet an upset stomach. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends using 500 mg of turmeric four times daily to treat stomach upset.
- Arthritis – The NIH also recommends using Indena or Meriva varieties of turmeric extract to treat osteoarthritis; 500 mg four times a day is suggested. Help treat rheumatoid arthritis pain by ingesting 500 mg twice a day of turmeric curcumin formulations, the health agency recommends.
- Cirrhosis – A Liver health study at the Medical University Graz in Austria found that the curcumin properties found in turmeric may delay damage to the liver, which could ultimately lead to cirrhosis.
- Breast and Skin Cancer – A University of Texas study revealed that curcumin inhibits the growth of melanoma and may also impede the spreading of breast cancer into the lungs.
- Cancer Growth – According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that curcumin interferes with some significant molecular pathways that allow cancer to develop, grow and ultimately spread. Medical researchers have reportedly found that curcumin can kill cancer cells grown in lab dishes. Human studies and trials to confirm the results are still in the early stages.
- Alzeimer’s Disease – A Journal of Neurochemistry report states that brain plaque associated with Alzheimer’s Disease in mice decreased in size by 30 percent in just one week after being treated with curcumin.
- Life Span – Turmeric might even help you live longer! The folks living in Okinawa reportedly boast the world’s longest life span, and they drink turmeric tea on a daily basis. To make the tea, simply boil four cups of water, toss in one teaspoon of the spice, let it simmer for 10 minutes, and strain. Ginger or honey can also be added to improve the taste of the tea.
- 1/3 cup turmeric (Ground and organic is the most natural and beneficial version of the spice.)
- 1 tablespoon quercetin* powder (approximately the amount in standard-size capsules)
- 3 tablespoons binding agent (coconut oil, raw honey or grass-fed ghee)
- a pinch of black pepper
*Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that is believed to prevent an enzyme that lowers the activity of curcumin from being activated.
- Place parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet. Put on an apron or old clothing; turmeric almost always stains whatever it touches.
- Heat your binding agent in a saucepan on low heat until it turns into a pourable liquid. The liquid should not be hot; use your lowest heat setting.
- Stir in the turmeric and quercetin. Add black pepper and mix. The mixture will be especially thick yet still pliable if you chose the raw honey as a binding agent.
- If using honey, pinch the thick mixture together and pull out a pill-sized amount. Roll the dough between the palm of your hands until the desired form has taken shape. If using oil or grass-fed ghee, you will likely need to scoop the mixture out of the pot with a spoon and roll the dough into a pill shape on the covered baking sheet.
- Place the turmeric bombs in the freezer and allow them to settle until they become firm.
- Once firm, transfer the bombs into a storage container and put back into the freezer until they are needed.