Spicy Magic — Turmeric & Curcumin


Medical researchers comb Earth’s forests and hillsides for plants that may offer hidden healing powers for the ailments that beset humanity.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

When a new healing herb is discovered, the pharmaceutical industry works hard to analyze, synthesize, and package it for sale.

In recent years, one of the oldest, most common and familiar spices has grabbed a lot of attention in the news.

It’s the ordinary kitchen spice turmeric, and its active ingredient, curcumin.

Let’s clear up the confusion – turmeric is the familiar ginger-like plant with underground rhizomes that are used in root or powdered form in ethnic cuisines. Curcumin is the bright-yellow chemical in turmeric that is used medicinally.

healing-spicesCancer researcher Bharat Aggarwal, MD has gained worldwide renown for his studies of curcumin. Most of Dr. Aggarwal’s papers are heavy on biochemistry, but he’s also written a very enjoyable book, Healing Spices – How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease.

Aggarwal promotes the use of the whole turmeric root, true to the naturopathic tradition that says it isn’t just the standardized extracts that may be most effective, but the synergistic action of many components in the whole herb that enhance its efficacy while decreasing any potential side-effects.

Dr. Marcel and I frequently prescribe both turmeric and curcumin to our patients, and we personally use them in many ways.

Turmeric flower
Turmeric flower

My current favorite is a turmeric paste made by Sita, a grower-healer on the Big Island of Hawaii. Turmeric is blended with raw organic honey and ghee (clarified butter made with fresh organic milk from Sita’s pastured cows), or coconut oil from the coconut palms on her property. Sita adds Pippali, a powerful healing herb with synergistic powers that enhance the healing powers of other herbs, and a hint of black pepper.

Marcel and I take a half-teaspoon of Sita’s Turmeric Paste twice daily. It’s so delicious that I could happily use it as a desert.

The 7-oz jar lasts about five weeks; no refrigeration is required. To order, give us a call: (650) 917-1121. Price: $16.00.

We also offer organic turmeric powder that we buy fresh at the Waimea farmer’s market on the Big Island, and that we also raise at our Pacific Naturopathic Retreat Center. The turmeric comes in small packets with a recipe for Golden Milk, a healing drink that I find just as satisfying as hot cocoa.

Golden Milk Recipe

Mix a quarter-cup of turmeric with three-quarters of a cup of water and stir over medium to low heat for about ten minutes. Add water if it seems too dry.

Store the smooth, pudding like paste in a glass jar in the fridge. It lasts about two weeks.

To make Golden Milk, heat one teaspoon of paste in a pan with any non-dairy milk. Add a healthy sweetener and a teaspoon of ghee, coconut oil, or untoasted sesame oil. (Turmeric requires fat for absorption.) Enjoy!

Curcumin from Pacific Naturopathic

If you’d rather take curcumin capsules, we’ve got those, too. We offer curcumin as bio-available, standardized extracts for general use, as well as curcumin in anti-inflammatory formulas for the joints, in breast-health formulas, and in anti-cancer formulas. To order, give us a call at (650) 917-1121.

For our cancer patients, we use curcumin intravenously to deliver it directly to the cells. (Dr. Marcel will outline the benefits of intravenous curcumin in next week’s article.)


Find out more about Dr. Connie’s work HERE.