Turmeric the wonder spice

I’ve just arrived back from the UK after a short break visiting my daughter and mum. In that time I managed to get the dreaded flu that has spread right across the UK this winter. In fact they say that the there has been a 25% increase in cases of flu in January alone.

My headaches were so bad and constant that I resigned myself to visiting the doctor, a rarity in my case, however I noted that I wasn’t offered the usual antibiotics that the medical profession usually try to ply me with and which I only ever take in an emergency case, preferring instead to take more natural remedies. Interestingly I was prescribed Naproxen tablets, which are an anti-inflammatory medication, as is Turmeric.

Turmeric is a root plant related to the ginger family. It is a wonder spice native to the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia where it’s inexhaustible uses and healing properties are no secret. Not only is it used for spicing up food, it’s magnificent colour is used to dye cloth and is even used for cosmetics. But as an anti-inflammatory it is said to rival even Ibuprofen.

On my visit I noticed how popular turmeric based drinks have become in the UK with some supermarkets now selling ‘haldi ka doodh’ aka ‘Golden Milk’ a popular spicy milk drink from India made using turmeric and other spices. ‘Golden Milk’ is an absolute must when the cold of winter sets in and is one of my favourite comfort drinks! (see my favourite ‘haldi ka doodh’ recipe below).

With Ellis and I aiming to live self-sufficiently I thought I’d check out how easy it is to grow turmeric and as anyone who knows me knows “I need easy!” as I’m still lacking any green fingers. Well I am very pleased to discover that apparently it really isn’t that difficult to grow. In fact you could even grow it at home if you have a plant pot, some root turmeric and soil, although it’s probably better to have some outdoor space as the plant can exceed 1m in height!

Instructions to Grow Turmeric

Turmeric in a plant potAll you need is one turmeric root and a large pot at least 30cm in depth and 40cm in diameter, you could also start with a smaller pot and transfer to a larger pot once they’ve reached 17cm. Turmeric like the warmth but they also like water, so you’ll need to keep your pot in a warm place and water every 2 days. It takes between 7-10 months to grow turmeric, so the best time to begin to grow in the Northern hemisphere is around December (assuming you are beginning by growing them indoors).

    1. Break a larger rhizome (the root) into a small rhizome piece that has two or three buds.
    2. Fill your pots with rich organic soil, ensuring it is lightly moist but well drained.
    3. Place the rhizone 5cm below the surface of the soil, with the buds facing up.
    4. Water the container, you want the soil to be moist but not soggy (I think even I can do this!)Have the plants reached 17cm?
    5. Transfer them to a larger pot (see sizes above)
    6. You can move them outside once the frosts have past and the warmer weather is beginning. But be gentle with those leaves and keep them slightly in the shade to prevent leaf burns.
    7. Make sure you continue to water your plant, keeping the soil moist but not soggy and feed your plants every few weeks with an organic fertiliser.
    8. Voila! Once the leaves and stem have began to turn brown and dry (about 7-10 months after you planted them) your turmeric is ready to harvest.

How to make ‘Haldi ka doodh’ aka ‘Golden Milk’

    1. 2 cups of milk (cashew, almond, soya, coconut or dairy).
    2. 1 tsp turmeric.
    3. 1 tsp coconut oil.
    4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon (you could experiment with nutmeg or all spice).
    5. Pinch of black pepper (helps to increase absorption).
    6. Small piece of fresh, peeled and chopped ginger root or 1/4 tsp ginger powder.
    7. 1 tsp of honey (Manuka is a good choice for medicinal uses.Option lemon rind.


Golden milk cookingUsing a stainless steel saucepan, gently heat up the turmeric and black pepper in the coconut oil, add the other spices and heat up for a little while longer before adding the milk, honey and lemon rind, cooking over a medium heat. Once hot let the ingredients cook over a low heat for 5 mins before serving.

Top tip: My friend Liz gave me a top tip, she suggested to make a paste with the turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil which you can store in a glass container in a cool place for up to a week. You can then add a table spoon of the paste to the other ingredients whenever you fancy a cup of ‘Golden milk’ … delicious!


Click below to find out more about Turmeric and it’s benefits.