Things We Grow - Turmeric


Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used medicinally for many different ailments for thousands of years both in the Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, although the fresh root has at least 100 other active ingredients. Curcumin has been studied extensively over the last 20+years and has been found to have profound anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and free radical scavenging properties.  

Many of these properties are related to the epigenetic effects of curcumin. This means that curcumin can influence the translation of our genetic code. Through the process of methylation or acetylation of DNA, specific genes can be turned on or off and curcumin can have a significant impact on this process.

This is epigenetics and recently scientists have used the patterns of methylation and acetylation of DNA to produce a “Biologic Age.” By testing the blood using these methods, scientists can compare your actual age (how many trips around the sun you have made) to your biologic age. They can also tell at the time of the blood collection how fast you are aging.  Ideally, you are aging at somewhere less than 1 biologic year per real year. Turmeric along with a healthy lifestyle (good sleep, eating nutritionally dense food with little to no processed food, exercise, meditation, and time spent in nature) can help slow down the aging process.

The curcumin in turmeric is fat soluble and is not well absorbed by itself. It also goes through a first pass phenomenon in the liver where it is conjugated for elimination in the bile. In order to optimize absorption and decrease the conjugation in the liver, it is best to ingest the curcumin with some fat/oil and to take it with pepper which has piperine.  Piperine inhibits liver conjugation of curcumin.  Curcumin also has a relatively short half-life in the body of 2 hours so it is best to ingest it a couple of times a day. One of my favorite ways to ingest turmeric is the relish recipe below, eating with various foods as a good way to reverse aging. Enjoy! 

Spicy Turmeric Relish


1/3 cup olive oil

4 ea. garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 cup freshly grated coconut

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

2 ea. Thai chiles with seeds (if you like hot), finely chopped

3 T. ginger, finely diced

1 T. turmeric, grated

1 tsp. ground black pepper

sea salt to taste


Brown garlic and coconut in olive oil over low-medium heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, and remove from the stove.

Salt to taste and let cool prior to storing in a small jar for use on just about anything. 

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