Turmeric tea has gained a cult following in recent years, with health-loving hipsters around the world shunning flat whites in favour of a steaming cup of the golden spice. But what are the big turmeric tea benefits for health? And why is brewing this hero herb so special?
Turmeric is a spice with a vibrant yellow-orange colour. It’s related to ginger and before the turmeric latte became an Instagram-endorsed beverage, it was most well-known for adding a sharp, earthy, taste and ochre colour to curries.
Despite appearances, the health-giving properties of this golden spice didn’t appear from nowhere. In fact, in India, turmeric has been a kitchen staple and a go-to herb for centuries.
5 turmeric tea benefits
You’ve heard the hype, but you’re wondering, what’s driving the superfood credentials of this spice? The short answer is curcumin. It’s a compound found in turmeric and the active ingredient that gives it some amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.1 This has led to the emergence of numerous potential turmeric tea benefits for wellness.
Supporting joint health
The ingredients within turmeric have been well documented to support normal joint and bone health, and could also help ease joint pain caused by swelling. For example, one study revealed curcumin was effective in reducing pain caused by osteoarthritis and other studies suggest similar benefits for people with other forms of arthritis.2
Turmeric can also help ease some digestive problems. For example, studies show a potential role of curcumin in managing conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. This includes helping to maintain remission from symptoms in mild and moderate forms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.3,4
Supporting cardiovascular health
Turmeric appears to help lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad variety.) As a result, turmeric may aid circulation and improve blood flow to the heart by reducing the build-up of plaque in the arteries.5
Accelerating antioxidant action
Your body produces free radicals during metabolic processes, such as eating. These unstable atoms can amass over time causing disruption and damage to cells (a process called oxidation).6 This contributes to the aging process and may play a role in the development of some chronic conditions.7
Due to its potent polyphenol content, turmeric has powerful antioxidant properties that can help fight off oxidative damage to cells.
Supporting the immune system
Some studies show the antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties of the spice could help to moderate the immune system.8 This suggests turmeric could contribute to how effectively your immune system protects your body.
A simple homemade turmeric and ginger tea recipe
Making fresh turmeric tea takes no more than five minutes, a handful of ingredients and one pot. It’s hardly worth the effort (and expense) of walking to your local café to buy one.
Ingredients for ginger turmeric tea
- 3 heaped teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon of grated, fresh ginger
- Zest of 1 small orange
- Honey or agave
- Lemon slices
How to make your fresh turmeric tea?
- Add your turmeric, ginger and orange zest to a jug or teapot.
- Pour over 500ml of boiled water.
- Leave to infuse for roughly 5 minutes.
- Using a sieve or strainer, pour two mugs of tea.
- Add honey or agave if you want to sweeten your tea and a slice of lemon as a garnish.
Can I drink turmeric tea everyday?
Turmeric contains a relatively low concentration of curcumin. For context, the spice used in your tea is likely to contain roughly 3% of this active compound.9 In short, you’re highly unlikely to overdose on the spice by sprinkling it into a daily tea or latte.
How much turmeric tea should you drink a day?
There isn’t a specific recommended daily intake of turmeric. However, some experts provide a benchmark intake of 500mg of curcuminoids a day.10 One teaspoon of fresh or ground turmeric contains on average 200mg of curcumin.11
What are the side effects of turmeric tea?
When consumed in moderation, the amount of turmeric in a tea is unlikely to cause side effects. Almost anyone can safely drink turmeric tea. However, as high doses of curcumin could have a blood-thinning effect, if you’re taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, talk to a doctor before taking turmeric in the higher concentrations found in supplements.12
Summary: What is turmeric tea good for?
The meteoric popularity of turmeric secures its place in the health fad hall of fame. Although more research on humans is needed, initial lab studies have added some scientific credibility to wellness claims. However, whether turmeric tea delivers the entire catalogue of health benefits associated with the spice is up for debate.
But saying that, it makes a tasty, comforting beverage and brewing the spice and drinking it as a tea is a great way to enjoy at least some of the superpowers of curcumin. So, if you’re looking for a caffeine-free alternative to your normal builder’s brew, it might be worth having a rummage through your spice rack.
And if you fancy exploring some of the wider benefits of turmeric, why not add a slice of turmeric tea cake on the side? Or maybe test out the skin benefits of curcumin by mixing a tablespoon of turmeric with some water to make a facemask for while you sip on your tea.
Last updated: 9 April 2021