Coming down with a cold? Instead of reaching for a bowl of chicken soup, try a cup of turmeric milk, a time-tested Ayurvedic treatment and Indian folk remedy for colds, coughs, runny nose from allergies, throat irritation and even asthma.
Making Turmeric Milk
In its most basic form, turmeric milk is simply a cup of milk heated with about half a teaspoon of powdered turmeric. Many recipes also call for a pinch of black pepper, salt, saffron, cardamom, caraway seeds, cinnamon and/or ginger powder. A little sugar, honey or maple syrup offsets the astringency of the turmeric.
Taking Turmeric Milk
To relieve symptoms, drink a cup of warm turmeric milk two or three times a day. Indian naturopath Dr. H. K. Bakhru recommends taking it on an empty stomach for best results.
Ayurvedic medicine classes turmeric as a Kaphahara drug—that is, it is effective against conditions involving an imbalance of kapha (phlegm). Ayurvedic tradition recognizes turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and antiseptic.
Western Medical Evidence
According to Medline Plus, laboratory and animal studies suggest that turmeric and curcumin (the compound that gives turmeric its distinctive yellow color) have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric may also help in treating viral infections, although confirmatory human research is pending.
While turmeric is safe in regular dietary amounts, it can cause stomach upset at high doses. Ask your doctor before using turmeric if you are pregnant or suffer from gallstones or bile duct obstructions. Do not take turmeric milk if you are allergic to dairy products.