Late autumn and winter are wonderful times of year to add roots to your daily nutrition and they also make excellent additions to warming tea or soups.
The other day, as I was drinking a cup of Numi’s organic three-root tea I got inspired to share the amazing benefits of these three herbal roots: Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra).
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
This plant is from the Zingiberaceae family; which is also a relative of ginger (Zingiber officinale). You may be familiar with turmeric (Curcuma longa) that is used as the main spice in curry. Turmeric is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color. It is also used in mustard and to color butter and cheese.
Turmeric contains curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant is a great scavenger of free radicals, which can damage cell membranes and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Turmeric root has also been widely used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory; to reduce digestive and liver problems, skin issues, wounds and a variety of other inflammatory issues.
Be cautious not to confuse turmeric root (Curcuma longa) with Javanese turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria).
Herbal Precautions: If turmeric is taken in large quantities, over an extended period of time:
Gallbladder problems: Do not use turmeric if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction.
Bleeding problems: Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Diabetes: Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Use with caution in people with diabetes as it might make blood sugar too low.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Turmeric can cause stomach upset in some people. It might make stomach problems such as GERD worse. Do not take turmeric if it worsens symptoms of GERD.
Infertility: Turmeric might lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men. This might reduce fertility. People trying to conceive a baby should use turmeric cautiously.
Iron deficiency: Taking high amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with iron deficiency.
Surgery: Turmeric might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using turmeric at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale), also from the Zingiberaceae family, and is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world. Its spicy aroma is mainly due to the presence of ketones, especially the gingerols, which appear to be the primary chemical component of ginger.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to reduce a variety of ailments; such as digestive issues, colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension, ability to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain.
The oleoresin from the root of ginger contains many bioactive components, such as gingerol, hydroxy-3′- methoxyphenyl, hydroxy-3-decanone, which is the primary pungent ingredient that is believed to exert a variety of remarkable pharmacological and physiological activities.
Herbal Precautions: If ginger is taken in large quantities, over an extended period of time:
Bleeding disorders: Taking ginger might increase your risk of bleeding.
Diabetes: Ginger might increase your insulin levels and/or lower your blood sugar. As a result, your diabetes medications might need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.
Heart conditions: High doses of ginger might worsen some heart conditions.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice root is another widely used worldwide medicinal herb and is the single most used herb in Chinese medicine today. The Egyptians used it as a flavoring for a drink called Mai-sus, and large quantities were found in the tomb of King Tut for his trip into the afterlife. To the Egyptians, the sweet tasting Licorice root was a cure-all, much in the same manner that Chinese relate to Ginseng.
Pliny the Elder, recommended it to clear the voice and alleviate thirst and hunger. Dioscorides, a Greek herbal physician, gave the plant its botanical name (glukos = sweet, riza = root). When he was traveling with Alexander the Great, he recommended that his troops carry and use licorice to help with stamina for long marches, as well as for thirst in areas of drought.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), is considered demulcent (soothing to irritated membranes), expectorant (loosening and helping to expel congestion in the upper respiratory tract), and stimulates mucous secretions of the trachea. Other well-documented activities include significant anti-inflammatory effects, a protectant effect on the liver against toxic substances and anti-allergic activity.
Herbal Precautions: Not for use during pregnancy, except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Not for use in persons with hypertension, liver disorders, edema, severe kidney insufficiency, low blood potassium, or heart disease.
Numi’s Three Root Tea