A rich and zesty brew packed full of nutrients and antioxidants…
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Disclaimer – Please be aware that any food related topics on this website are purely for general interest and are not to be considered as health advice. As an acupuncturist I may prescribe dietary advice from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view only, which I will always make very clear. You should consult your GP or specialist if you require specific dietary requirements.
This may be a great addition to your morning routine with heaps of health benefits and a zesty zing to get your day started – plus it’s super easy to make! Both of these roots have thousands of years of history in health and Chinese herbal medicine across the world, and scientific research is now revealing the truth behind their potent healing powers.
Harnessing the wonders of these miraculous marvels of nature can be made easier with this tonic which captures the goodness of these roots in a lasting liquid form for you to savour at your convenience.
The amounts listed below for the ginger, turmeric and water are rough guides as you can change the amount as you see fit. I have a preference for high intensity so you may prefer to use less ginger and turmeric, or just water down the final product before consuming.
What You Will Need…
Ingredients for about a litre of tonic…
- 200g of ginger (preferably organic)
- 200g turmeric (preferably organic)
- 1.5L of water (preferably filtered)
- Measuring cup
- Stainless steel pot
- Cutting board
- Glass bottle for storing
- Kitchen mallet
If you have been to my clinic you will no doubt have noticed the garden where I grow a few fruits and veggies. While the ginger was not ready for picking at the time I made this post, I certainly had a good size yield of turmeric. Whenever any of my mini crops are not ready I usually get any organic produce I need from Market Organics, Rocklea.
Let’s Get Started…
I have chosen to do this process similar to how I was taught how to cook medicinal Chinese herbs. This is a double boiling process, each taking around 20 minutes to simmer the herbs with the aiming of reducing the water contents and concentrating the final product. This gets the most out of the herbs while keeping the volume of what you need to drink to a minimum as sometimes Chinese herbs can be a little on the strong side for the palate. For this recipe however, there will be more water content as we want a large amount of tonic to store at the end.
First we need to pulverise the ginger and turmeric into a pulp…
To liberate all of the goodies from the roots we will need to break them down to prepare them for the boil. Use your kitchen mallet to pulverise the ginger and turmeric into a pulp. You don’t need to go overboard and turn it into juice, just enough so that the bulk of the root is well broken up. You can do the ginger and the turmeric together too if you like as they end up in the same pot anyway.
It may be important to keep in mind that pretty much anything that the turmeric comes in contact with after it has been broken down is going to turn yellow. Stainless steel utensils are true to their name and usually won’t be affected but any cutting board or plastic equipment probably will. Rubber gloves for yourself is also a good idea unless you want yellow hands for the next couple of days.
Safety goggles may be a good option while you’re pulverising the roots. Not that it’s dangerous to get either of these in your eyes, but I did find that ginger spraying in your eyes is not the most pleasant experience.
The Boiling Process…
Place the ginger and turmeric in your pot along with 750ml of water and place on high heat. When the water is boiling, reduce to medium heat and allow to boil for 20 minutes. During this time you will lose about 1/3 of the water by evaporation (250ml).
Remember, we’ll be doing 2 boils so DO NOT throw the pulp out after the first time around. There’s more good stuff left in there!
A larger pot may have been a brighter idea…
After 20 minutes is up, strain the contents of the pot into your storage bottle. I used an empty Bragg organic apple cider vinegar bottle which is 946ml. As you strain your finished tonic into the bottle you will notice that it should only fill up around half way (if you are using a 1 litre bottle) as there has been a reduction in liquid during the boiling process.
Make sure your bottle isn’t too cold! It is advisable to warm your storage bottle first to prevent the risk of it cracking as you are putting near boiling liquid straight into it. Prevent cracking by:
- placing the glass bottle in the sink and running the tap over it, gradually increasing the temperature of the water until it is warm
- fill with warm water and let it sit for a while
- let the boiling mixture in the pot settle for a while before straining into the pot
After straining out the pulp, repeat the the boiling process one more time before disposing of it (works great as garden mulch/ compost). You will complete the boiling process 2 times in total, using 750ml of water each time which will provide you with around 1 litre of tonic for your final total.
Use and Storage
I have this each morning following my glass of lemon juice and water. After about 15 minutes following the lemon, I mix a small teaspoon of honey with some hot water to thin out the honey, then I mix this with about a shot (30ml) of the Kickstart Tonic. You can choose to have yours straight or it even works well as a spicy tea when mixed with hot water. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is best absorbed when consumed with black pepper, so adding some cracked peppercorns to the final mix will not only up the intensity but increase the overall health benefits as well.
Be sure to keep your golden tonic safe in the fridge for a longer life span. In saying that however, I am unsure exactly as to how long it will last. I can only assume that due to the high level of antioxidants and antibacterial properties it contains, plus the fact that it is already cooked, if kept in the fridge I am confident it should keep for some time. I usually get through a bottle within 2 weeks and it’s still good then, but anything past this length I can’t make any judgements.
The sediment will settle to the bottle after a while so make sure to give it a good shake before you pour.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Both ginger and turmeric have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for herbal decoctions.
In TCM, ginger (Sheng Jiang) has a warming effect and aids in alleviating vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal fullness with pain due to cold in the stomach (1). It also helps to relieve some types of coughs, boosts the body’s Qi (vital force), and reduces the toxicity of other herbs when used as part of a herbal formula (2).
In TCM, turmeric root (Yu Jin) helps to relieve a range of different types of pain such as pain due to trauma, painful and irregular menstruation as well as treating cirrhosis of the liver, and enlarged liver and spleen (3). It helps to relieve certain types of bleeding, as well as being used to help calm the mind of people who suffer from disorientation, epilepsy, mania, anxiety, agitation, seizures and derangement (4). Turmeric is also used in the treatment of jaundice and gall stones in TCM (5).
In TCM, yellow is the colour associated with the Stomach so any natural foods that have this colour are believed to be highly beneficial for our digestion. According to the Qi body clock, the Stomach is ‘full of Qi‘ between 7 and 9am, making this the best time to have breakfast as your body is in the optimal state to receive all of the benefits of your nutritious breakfast. So while this tonic will be good for you any time of the day, all of the TCM signs point to this tonic being most beneficial at or around breakfast time.
The active constituent in turmeric is curcumin which has been found to exhibit the following health benefits. Keep in mind that curcumin only makes up about 3% of the weight of turmeric (6) so extract supplements may be required to gain maximum benefits. The bioavailability of curcumin is also increased by up to 2000% when ingested with peperine, a constituent of black pepper (7).
- Antioxidant – protects against damage from free radicals
- Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels
- Hepatoprotective – protects the liver from a number of toxic compounds
- Antiplatelet aggregation – improves circulation
- Antimutagenic – potentially helps to prevent new cancers that are caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Antimicrobial – inhibits the growth of a variety of bacteria, parasites, and pathogenic fungi
- Cardiovascular effects – lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreasing susceptibility of low density lipoprotein (LDL)
- Gastric effects – helps to heal gastric ulcers
- Dental applications – reduces dental pain, relieves gingivitis and periodontitis
- Anticancer properties – curcumin can positively alter a variety of the biological pathways involved in mutagenesis, oncogene expression, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, tumorgenesis, and metastasis
6-Gingerol is the pharmacologically-active component of ginger and is known to exhibit a variety of biological activities including anticancer, anti-inflammation, and anti-oxidation (8). List of benefits found from using ginger or ginger extract:
- Treats nausea and vomiting, seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea (9)
- Improves symptoms of morning sickness (10)
- May potentially hold anti-cancer properties (11)
- Possesses effective antibacterial properties (12)
- Reduces knee osteoarthritis pain (13)
- Lowers fasting blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes (14)
- Promotes digestion and gastric motility (15)
- Found to be potentially as effective as certain medication for relieving period pain (16)
- Has a significant lipid lowering effect compared to placebo (17)
- Reduces muscles pain caused by eccentric exercise (18)