A bright yellow spice found in the root of the Curcuma longa plant, turmeric has been touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory for centuries. Used in both ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine, the spice has shown up throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy, and textile dye. Even more potent is turmeric’s active compound—curcumin—which produces no known toxic side effects and has been proven in some studies to be just as effective as popular over-the-counter pain relief medications.
But how can we tap into turmeric’s power—and why should we? Eating Naturally asked Daniel Sullivan, founder and CEO of Temple Turmeric (creator of drinkable organic turmeric), to break it down.
EATING NATURALLY: How does turmeric help support a positive inflammatory response in the body?
DANIEL SULLIVAN: Turmeric’s active compound—called curcumin—helps your body maintain a positive inflammatory response so it can focus on what needs attention without going into hyperdrive. Inflammation is supposed to be a healing gift from our immune system to protect, balance, and maintain the health of your body. However, when inflammation exceeds normal levels and becomes ongoing, it can damage normal cells and tissue to create negative effects.
EN: What other ingredients work synergistically with turmeric?
DS: Many people don’t know that turmeric is fat-soluble, so combining it with ingredients like black pepper, cayenne, ginger, and plant-based fats helps increase the functionality and bioavailability of curcumin to better support positive inflammatory response. In fact, some studies have shown that consuming black pepper with turmeric increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent.
I’m so grateful that more and more people are realizing how food has the power to transform the body—and also the soul. It’s a true pivot in awareness that I think is opening pathways to understanding how food can nourish, and how different foods can work together to become even more powerful. Nature works in incredible ways, and we’re still unlocking its magnificent potential.
EN: Let’s compare drinkable turmeric with other forms.
DS: It’s commonly accepted that eating foods in their whole form and as close to nature as possible retains the valuable enzymes and compounds nature intended. The same goes for turmeric. By using organic, whole-root turmeric, we’re able to preserve as much of the incredible nutrition of the fresh root as possible, whereas other forms, like powders and pills, rely on heavy processing.
EN: What makes Temple Turmeric unique?
DS: I first discovered the amazing benefits of turmeric while working on an organic turmeric farm in Hawaii. Temple Turmeric beverages are made with whole-root organic Hawaiian Oana Turmeric, a type of turmeric grown in the nutrient-enriched volcanic soils of Hawaii, and adaptogenic ingredients like black pepper, cayenne, ginger, and plant-based fats that help our bodies get the most from this powerful rhizome. Our Elixirs and new Super Lights offer between 7 and 13 grams of turmeric per bottle—13 grams is a piece about the length from your wrist to the tip of your thumb. Our variety of turmeric has approximately four times more curcumin than the world’s predominant supply, traditional Yellow Indian Turmeric.
EN: How can turmeric benefit women, specifically?
DS: Life is fraught with factors that are likely contributing to increased inflammation in the body—hectic schedules and eating processed, refined foods all play a primary role in ongoing inflammation. Additionally, factors like stress, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise can continue to aggravate inflammation. Turmeric is also a fantastic ally to support a woman’s reproductive wellness in all stages of her life.
EN: What about athletes?
DS: Turmeric is excellent for athletes because it supports a healthy response to inflammation like that caused by muscle exertion. In addition to supporting this positive inflammation response, turmeric also supports joint health and mobility. And because Temple Turmeric is made with synergistic botanicals, herbs, and minerals like spearmint, black pepper, and sea salt, our drinks support hydration, cooling, and electrolyte restoration.