January and February are always the hardest months of the year for me. The cold, bleak weather combined with way too much time indoors brings me down. Irritability and insomnia take their toll, and I find I’m a major bear. Last week we had a few warm, sunny days—only to sink back into 30-degree temps this week. Brr. Grr.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about how turmeric is great for brightening skin, and I stumbled onto this amazing spice again when looking for natural scar remedies [source]. Sam nosedived into a table recently and got a few stitches on his forehead. I’m applying a turmeric paste to reduce the rather unsightly scar.
Turns out turmeric is not only great for healing scars, but it can also help with the winter blues, and many people feel it is also helpful for calming the nervous system and getting to sleep.
Turmeric Tea Health Benefits
Turmeric is rich in curcumin, an antioxidant that helps your body produce more serotonin and dopamine [source], both of which are natural mood boosters. Even just adding a teaspoon of turmeric into your daily diet can reduce the blues.
In fact, a recent study by Baylor University showed that taking 1,000 mg of curcumin daily could have the same effects as taking an antidepressant [source]. You can buy curcumin supplements here to use when needed for those times when you feel a little down, or use the powder and whole root forms.
Apparently, turmeric is a lot like coconut oil—you can use it for just about anything. It’s naturally anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory and works on everything from acne to Alzheimer’s [source].
Dr. Sanjay Gupta drinks turmeric tea to calm his nerves before bed. Yep, this warm, spicy tea has some relaxing qualities for sure.
Curcumin has also been shown to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation [source]. So try using it for those times when you can’t seem to catch up on your sleep, like during the busy holiday season when there just isn’t enough time to get everything done in the day.
For the best overall effect, try using the whole root, which is known to increase by seven or eight times your body’s ability to use curcumin it provides [source]. You can chop it finely or grate it to steep in hot water or for use in your cooking.
My family drinks almond milk, but you can use whatever milk you like. Start out with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and work your way up to 1 teaspoon. Not only do you get the turmeric benefits, but I find the ritual of making the tea and drinking the warm milk to be really comforting.
My sleep and my mood have definitely improved. Plus, it tastes pretty darn good, which calms my nightly munchies cravings.
Take a look at this article to see how the addition of pepper enhances the beneficial effects of curcumin. Even just a pinch of pepper boosts the levels of curcumin in the blood, allowing it to do what it does best.
Have you tried turmeric for the winter blues?
3 Turmeric Lattes to Try
- Saucepan (for Chai-Spiced Turmeric Latte)
- Blender (for Energizing Turmeric Dandelion Latte)
- 8 ounces comfortably hot water
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces boiling water
- 1 Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Leaf & Root tea bag
- 1 Traditional Medicinals Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger tea bag
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2-1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- Pinch sea salt
- Stevia to taste optional
- A grind of black pepper and a pinch of turmeric for garnish
Chai-Spiced Turmeric Latte
- To make your own chai spice mix, combine 1 teaspoon each cardamom, allspice, and ground cloves with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 3 teaspoons powdered ginger in a glass jar. Give it a good shake to mix everything together.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the chai spice mix. Whisk to remove any lumps, and let it simmer for about a minute until the milk becomes nice and frothy.
- Remove from heat, and pour into a mug. Sweeten with raw honey, and sprinkle with extra turmeric and a pinch of black pepper.
Ginger Turmeric Tea
- Combine everything in a glass. Let steep for a minute or two, then sip.
Energizing Turmeric Dandelion Latte
- Prepare tea as per package instructions.
- Combine tea with other ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds until frothy.
- Pour into mug and garnish with extra turmeric and black pepper.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.237