Could turmeric tea help heal a sprained ankle?September 10, 2018
The idea occurred to me about a week after I fell and sprained my ankle while trying to cross a river. As a passionate hillwalker and climber, this was bad news (although I was relieved that it wasn’t broken or fractured!). I wanted it to heal as quickly as possible, so I paid close attention to the doctor’s recommendations.
One of the most important things with a sprained ankle is to reduce the inflammation, and for that reason I was advised to take ibuprofen three times a day – even if there wasn’t much pain. I generally try to avoid taking medications unless absolutely necessary, but I acted on the doctor’s orders, and took those tablets regularly!
After a week, my ankle was still swollen and a bit painful, causing me to limp. At this time, I was staying at a friend’s flat, looking after her cats, and I noticed that she had some turmeric teabags. I helped myself to one, and half an hour after drinking it, I could have sworn that my ankle felt significantly better!
Was this just a psychological effect? Quite possibly, but if so, I needed some more of that psychology! So when I got home, I decided to make my own turmeric tea.
I bought some fresh turmeric at a local Asian shop. I only needed a small amount, so it cost just 40p.
The active in turmeric is curcumin.
I also bought some raw ginger and limes. You can use lemons instead. And if you can’t obtain raw turmeric and ginger, the powdered versions are fine to use.
The rest of the ingredients were already in the kitchen:
• a few black peppercorns
• 1-2 cloves, or a pinch of clove powder
• 3 cardamon pods
• a pinch of cinnamon
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 dessertspoon coconut milk, cream or oil. Alternatively, you can use dairy cream or milk.
Adding a full-fat or oil-based ingredient is recommended, as it helps the absorption of turmeric.
Black pepper is said to serve the same function: ie, helping the body to absorb turmeric. If you don’t like pepper, you only need to add a tiny touch – maybe a couple of whole grains. At this level you won’t taste it.
If you add a little more, it will give it a warm, spicy flavour, a bit like chai tea. It’s wonderfully soothing if you have a cold.
1. Boil up some water. While it’s boiling, peel and rinse the turmeric and ginger. I used a potato peeler, but a sharp knife will do. Raw turmeric looks really grimy on the outside, but once you start to peel it, the flesh reveals itself in a vivid orange colour!
2. Chop the turmeric and ginger into small pieces. Aim to have about a teaspoonful of each. The rest can be stored in the fridge for use within the next few days.
3. Slice the lime or lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. You’ll only need to juice half of it – save the rest in the fridge for future use.
4. Pound the non-powdered ingredients with a pestle and mortar. Remove the outer shells from the cardamom pods first, and just use the seeds inside.
Alternatively, you can grind the spices in a coffee grinder, but remember to remove the outer cardamom shells first.
5. Put the chopped turmeric and ginger into a small saucepan, and add about 350ml (1.5 cups) of hot water. Add the pounded or coarsely ground spices. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5-7 mins.
I used powdered cinnamon, and I added just a touch of it as the mixture was starting to boil.
6. Add the lime or lemon juice.
7. After boiling the mixture for 5-7 minutes, remove from the heat, and pour the mixture through a strainer.
8. Add a spoonful of honey or maple syrup to taste. Having tried it both ways, I prefer it without the honey or maple syrup, but experiment to see what suits you.
9. Add coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut cream or dairy cream, to help absorption of the turmeric.
I’ve been drinking this twice a day, and my ankle seems to be healing well.