As soon as September hits, I’m ready for the onslaught of the pumpkin spice season. You won’t find me with an expensive drink from that large coffee shop chain in my hand though. I’m all for the occasional treat, but honestly, the coffee shop drinks are so syrupy sweet, I can’t even enjoy them.
Instead, I opt for a healthier version that hits just the right notes of sweet, healthy, warming, and fall flavor. This version incorporates the many health benefits of turmeric and puts a fun fall twist on a classic favorite.
The Popularity of Turmeric Beverages
There are plenty of recipes for pumpkin spice lattes out there, but this drink uses golden milk as a base. For those who aren’t familiar with the beverage, golden milk has been traditionally enjoyed by those in India for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Japan has a somewhat similar beverage that combines green tea, jasmine, and turmeric for a non-creamy version. The benefits of turmeric have been recognized across cultures and have recently seen a surge in popularity here (Barclay, 2015).
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric can have a pungent and slightly bitter taste to it, so it wouldn’t instinctively be the first thing I grab to throw into my tea. However, it’s warming nature and health benefits make it worth including in the diet, and when prepared properly, the bitterness is diminished.
Since turmeric is a warming herb, it stimulates the body and helps reduce inflammation. Inflammation is thought to be a primary factor in many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Unlike other medications and remedies that try to clean up the side effects of inflammation in the body, turmeric can help to reduce inflammation and diminish the issues altogether (Hall, 2017).
There has been an increasing number of research studies on turmeric, especially the herbs main active ingredient, curcumin. Here are just some of the benefits of turmeric, according to The Herbal Academy (Hall, 2017).
- An antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radical damage. It’s also been studied for its potential benefits in fighting cancer.
- An anti-inflammatory that is as effective as Ibuprofen, without the side effects.
- Relieves arthritis pain and swelling.
- Has antibacterial properties that have been shown to be effective against E-coli and Staph bacteria. This is perfect as we go into the winter months and are more prone to sickness (Sittiwet & Niamsa, 2009).
Turmeric for Digestion and the Gallbladder
Turmeric is also known to stimulate bile flow to promote proper digestion, but it may play an additional role in preventing gallstones. This 2015 study concluded that curcumin from turmeric inhibited both gallstone formation and cholesterol gallstone formation when combined with piperine (Li, Li, Wu, & Tian, 2015). Piperine is a constituent found in black pepper that increases the bioavailability of turmeric by about 2000% in humans (Shoba, et al., 1998). Although it helps with stone prevention, it should also be noted that turmeric can be dangerous if used when the bile ducts are already clogged (Hall, 2017).
This yummy pumpkin spice golden milk blends the flavors of turmeric and black pepper together for a warm, delicious way to boost your health. Spices that are used in pumpkin spice blends, like this homemade one here, are also warming and have their own slew of health benefits. I frequently add raw honey to my drinks, but I like maple syrup for this recipe as it reminds me of fall flavors. If you’re a raw honey person though, then feel free to use that instead.
An Autumn-Inspired Golden Milk Recipe
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 cups milk (almond, full-fat milk, or coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (little less neutral-tasting than honey and has a fall flavor to it)
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- A generous pinch of black pepper (to increase absorption from turmeric)
- In a pot combine the milk, turmeric, black pepper, and pumpkin pie spice. Heat the milk until bubbly, and boil for 5 minutes. This helps to reduce the bitter taste of the turmeric, and according to Ayurvedic tradition, improves digestibility of cow milk.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup to taste.
- If you want to get a nice frothy texture to it, like a latte, then just add the ingredients from step 2 into a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds or until frothy. The coconut oil helps it to foam, and the gelatin adds nutrition while keeping the foam intact longer. I’ve found that when I skip the gelatin, my “latte” goes flat much faster and isn’t as fun.
- Barclay, E. (2015, April 28). Tea tuesdays: Tea-drinking tips for a longer life. [Blog post]. Retrieved from www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/04/28/400156651/tea-tuesdays-tea-drinking-tips-for-a-longer-life
- Hall, A. (2017, July 13). Turmeric health benefits: The golden goddess. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/turmeric-the-golden-goddess/
- Li, Y., Li, M., Wu, S., & Tian, Y. (2015). Combination of curcumin and piperine prevents formation of gallstones in C57BL6 mice fed on lithogenic diet: Whether NPC1L1/SREBP2 participates in this process? [Abstract]. Lipids in Health and Disease, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12944-015-0106-2
- Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers [Abstract]. Planta Medica, 64(04), 353-356. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957450
- Sittiwet, C., & N. Niamsa. (2009).Antimicrobial activity of curcuma longa aqueous extract. Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 4(04), 173-177. doi:10.3923/jpt.2009.173.177