I have been staying cozy and healthy during the change of seasons with the beloved tulsi plant, also called holy basil. This sacred plant is not only worshiped in the Hindu religion, but is also revered for its super healing powers. Tulsi has been known to sharpen memory, relieve tension, decrease and even prevent fever, cold, cough, sore throat, headache and respiratory disorders. Whoa! And it's sweet mellow taste is super yummy too; steep leaves, stems and flowers in barely boiling water and enjoy yogis! Add some honey for even more benefits. Be well!!!
I haven't been feeling physically well lately. I'd like to blame the weather here in Tennessee though, since at the moment it's beautiful and warm and just last week we had 5-6 inches of snow. It's crazy. I haven't truly experienced winter in 7 years! Sedona's perfect weather was such a blessing. You Sedona people that are reading this, go outside right now and smile at that moon/sun and those mountains and that clear sky. It's truly beautiful and such a wonder. Anyways, I believe this weather change, combined with a few other stress inducing things keep causing me to cough, feel a little tired, sick, etc. So.... I dipped into my handy Ayurveda mental treasure chest and I remembered that turmeric root can help strengthen my immune system and ease my sore throat.
A while back I posted a recipe for the highly popular golden turmeric milk. Nonetheless, dare I say, I'd like to introduce you to something that just might top it. Homemade turmeric tea! I am in love, love, love with this drink! It is currently becoming my favorite hot drink of all time - move over coffee. Bold statement, I know.
I've already posted the long list of turmeric's benefits and making it as part of one's regular routine will no doubt do the body good. Here is a quick reminder of those benefits though:
One benefit I noticed right away was the cleansing of my throat. The anti-bacterial properties of this root, combined with the heat needed to make the tea, was so soothing. Also, I am going to a hot yoga practice on Tuesday, and since I have extra turmeric root, I intend on making more tea when my muscles begin to feel sore after the class. For those that are experiencing joint pain or minor muscle aches, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help in the healing process, naturally. Trust me, it's amazing how well this root works.
The good thing is this recipe is simple and easy. Two words I undoubtedly like to hear. Here are the quick and dirty details adapted from two of my favorite healthy Ayurvedic Chefs, Mira Murphy and Shruthi Bajaj, both of 7 Centers Yoga Arts Academy in Sedona, AZ.
For One Cup of Personal Turmeric Tea
1/3 Cup Raw Honey
2 1/2 - 3 Teaspoons of Turmeric Powder
A dash of Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper
Fresh Ginger ---> Which I love
Mix the honey and turmeric together forming a thick paste. It will make enough for multiple uses so whatever is extra can be stored in the refrigerator.
For each serving place a heaping teaspoon (sometimes I go for a little extra) in a cup. Pour hot water (not boiling hot) into the cup and stir, dissolving all of the turmeric paste. Then, squeeze half a lemon into the cup adding a few dashes of black pepper, or my personal favorite, cayenne pepper. The turmeric and spices have a tendency to settle to the bottom so it is a good idea to have a spoon on hand to stir the tea occasionally. For added benefit, I like to add grated fresh ginger to my tea or you could also add cardamom or even cinnamon depending on your taste.
So that is what I do for a simple cup... You can also make a whole pot of tea and save the rest for later if you like. Simply increase the ingredients to taste, but use the whole herb instead of the powder. For example: turmeric root instead of powder. Whole peppercorns instead of ground. Cardamom pods instead of powder. Cinnamon sticks instead of powder. Remember though to put the cardamom pods in the boiling water last to merely steep, otherwise it can taste bitter... leave the lid on, don't let the steam out.
FYI. Just a little side note in regards to the effectiveness of turmeric: It's a good idea to add black pepper because it increases it's potency, making the compound curcumin found in turmeric more bioavailable. It actually compliments the tea quite well. I even put it in my homemade chai.
K, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think! ~ Ashley
Ghee is used widely in Indian cooking. Not only is it deeply flavorful, ghee also has a higher smoke point, so its great for sauteing or frying. Indian herbal medicine (Ayurveda) uses ghee as a base for many of its medications. I spent some time at an Ayurvedic retreat last summer and my detox concoction was ghee based – I’ve never had a tastier medicine!
Making ghee at home is easier than you think. Here is a step by step recipe and tis for home made ghee.
Should you use salted or unsalted butter for ghee?
I’ve used both salted and unsalted butter successfully but I prefer unsalted.
Salted butter will foam more when boiling. So if you are using salted butter to make ghee, make sure you use a pan that’s large enough to accommodate the foaming, and be very careful when the ghee begins to boil. When it foams, gently stirring it with a wooden spoon will help it subside. If the butter foams and spills over, it can be hazardous, be very careful.
The milk solids from salted butter will be very salty. If you are making any of the ‘by product’ recipes, you wont need to add any extra salt.
How to Make this Yummy Ghee
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
Use a medium sized, heavy bottom sauce pan. Make sure it is dry and clean. If water gets into your ghee at any point, it could contaminate it and ruin it. Place the butter in the pan, and cook uncovered on medium heat till all the butter melts.
Continue cooking while stirring occasionally till the butter starts to foam and boil. You will hear crackling, this means the butter is boiling.
Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer the butter until it clarifies – when you part the foam on top, you should see the melted butter getting clear.
Continue to simmer the butter till the crackling subsides, about 10 minutes. How soon the ghee is done will vary depending on the quantity of butter you are using. So use the indicators below.
The ghee is done when
- The crackling subsides. This means most of the moisture has been cooked away.
- The ghee becomes a clear golden yellow liquid (part the foam with a spoon to see the ghee). This means the butter is clarified.
- The milk solids separate and settle in the bottom of the pan and are light brown in color.
Be careful not to over cook the ghee and burn the solids. If the milk solids are dark brown, or if the liquid ghee turns dark brown, you’ve over cooked it.
Let the ghee cool for about 20 minutes. Then strain it though a very fine strainer or 2 layers of muslin cloth. Make sure all the milk solids are strained out; strain the ghee twice if needed.
Store ghee in a clean, dry bottle, but don’t put the lid on until the ghee is fully cooled. Putting the lid on the jar too soon could create condensation = water = contamination.
Ghee can be kept at room temperature for 2 months or more. I've kept it for up to a year... the length of time varies based on who you are speaking to. Refrigerating it wont hurt either
What to do with the milk solids?
Love is the essence of our life. I have written this blog with love, and I offer it to you, dear reader, with the hope that the suggestions offered here will become a vital part of your self-healing and continued well-being. ~ Ashley
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