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 turn into a major bear. Last week we had a few warm, sunny days—only to sink back into 30-degree temps this week. Brrr. Grrr.
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 ended up getting 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. Many people also feel it’s 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 your tendency for getting 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 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 antibacterial, 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.
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?
Turmeric Tea for Winter Blues + Insomnia
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2–1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch black pepper
- Heat the almond milk in a small sauce pan. When the milk is warm (but not hot), stir in the spices. Pour into a large cup and and add honey to taste.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician with more than 20 years of practice experience. 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.251
ana goldseker says
Great Post! We created a yerba mate blend with turmeric exactly for golden milk tea!!
Abigail Jane says
Such a good post! I have never thought much of using turmeric tea as a way to beat those winter blues.
I recently wrote a post on lemon balm for those similar feelings. Some lemon balm and turmeric tea could be two emotionally uplifting powerhouses!
Patricia Reese says
I forgot to add that I take chondrotin and glucosamine with turmeric in it. Is this too much?
Patricia Reese says
How much pepper are you supposed to add to increase the effects of the curcumim? I suffer from both depression and insomnia. I’m so
Hopeful this will at least help with the insomnia.
Thank you for the suggestion of putting the cinnamon in the freezer. I used a wire whisk to help break it up but didn’t do all of it.
Is turmeric tea good for diabetes and rheumatism?
I haven’t been able to find turmeric where I live and been using curcuma instead. Just want to make sure it is the same thing, so I can try this recipe. Help, anyone?
Have you looked in the ethnic spice isle or at a whole foods store (sometimes it’s less expensive there in the ethnic section, great place to save money on spices as well).
Though you were supposed to add a bit of pepper to turmeric to reep all the benefits?
That is true if you are using it internally, pepper activates the curcumin in your body. Kind of like ginseng works in just about every other herb you may ingest, it too is a super activator when starting an herbal regime.
Pepper makes the cucurmin up to 2,000 times more bioavailable apparently so ALWAYS add some!
Virginia Thornton says
I’ve been drinking turmeric for insomnia & arthritis. I’m only been doing in the week and I already feel the results
I’ll be trying this out tomorrow! I appreciate you sharing this recipe.
Nadine Ausbie says
Turmeric is also helpful in keeping blood glucose count down for those with type 2 diabetes.
what can I replace the almond milk with? i cant drink milk or dairy products.
Diane Bucharelli says
Almond milk is made from almonds. It is not dairy.
Does this taste good and actually work because my best friend has insomnia and i worry about him i really want to find him something that can at least give hope to help thanks
Does this taste good and actually work because my best freind has insomnia and i worry about him i really want to find him something that can at least give hope to help thanks
It works fabulously! It also helps with snoring which my husband did like an angry bear until we started this at night , and his COPD doesn’t bother him as bad anymore either!
The taste reminds me of what fall on a hayride would taste like if it could be put into a cup. Enjoy. Relax. Forget the stress of all those people in the world that you can’t change or dictate thoughts for while you revel in the peace that your thoughts are calm and serene. Your friend is lucky to have you to look out for him.
Love!! just want to add that using fresh turmeric root grated is really delicious. I tried to dried spice from the store but found it very bitter. but the fresh root has no bitterness and a much nicer flavor! great recipe.
Missy, Thank you for this suggestion! I usually use the dried spice and never thought to try the fresh root grated. I actually have some in my fridge and will try it tonight! Am looking forward to less (or NO) bitterness.
We have grated fresh turmeric, ginger and garlic together and put it in ice trays inside of a ziplock bag, we pop one out to put in a tea ball for our nightly relaxer or throw one in when roasting meat or marinating steak… very versatile!
thank you so much!
Sammy Jarvis says
I’m from NZ and just discovered your website today – I spent the majority of my day reading through almost every post instead of working. I’m absolutely in love with everything I’ve read. I’ve been told all about turmeric from colleagues and friends but I went the wrong way about introducing it into my diet a few months back. Needless to say, I was skeptical to try this tea recipe. I went a little heavy on the turmeric (like the last time) and am sorta struggling to drink this concoction. However I want to enjoy it so tomorrow night I shall try again and perhaps a 1/4 teaspoon to start with! Thanks so much.
Love your all posts.
Loved the recipe but I thought it was to much cinnomon. The cinnomon kept clumping and was so overpowering. Just a warning to someone who might not want so much. Obvisouly my opinion and the recipe can easily be altered.
Use a cinnamon stick instead.
Or freeze your cinnamon before you use it …. my daughter is type 1 diabetic and she uses cinnamon in her morning tea to balance her blood sugar ( helps tremendously!!) and she puts the bottle of cinnamon in the freezer until she is ready to use it and just shakes it to loosen ( with the top on ) then for some reason it just blends so well into her tea. Hope that helps.
My Yoga instructor taught us how to make this – calls it golden milk. It is delicious.
Love this! I drank tumeric tea three afternoons this week, but it was terrible! I am so happy to have this yummy recipe.
This looks great! I’ll definitely be trying it. Thank you!