Tag Archives: tea

Turmeric Tea

15 Jun

You know me… always trying to find a natural way to relieve whatever ails me.

I have not been feeling well from my Cronh’s Disease.  I could tell by how my abdomen was bloated from the inflammation to certain foods and certain stresses.  But then the Universe, or Big Brother who’s always watching, started sending me messages – a few posts on Facebook and even a few emails claiming the benefits of turmeric tea for inflammation –  I had to go with the flow and decided to try it.

Turmeric is a spice used for centuries in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as a powerful anti-inflammatory and to treat a variety of conditions such as flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.  There are also new developments that turmeric is also helpful in patients with IBS, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and even can have cancer prevention benefits.  It’s also what gives mustards and curry its yellow color.

How to Make Turmeric Tea

Turmeric can be found in fresh form in most supermarkets nowadays.  I have bought it at The Boys Farmer’s Market, in Freshmart and even in Econo Altamira, here in Puerto Rico.  Most people confuse it with ginger, but the bright yellow interior gives it away.   Turmeric is also be readily found in supplements at health food stores.  Here is a picture of a recent trip to Whole Foods in Florida.

Supplements at Whole Foods made from turmeric

WFoods Turmeric 1

I have been drinking turmeric tea for a few months now… and as with any natural remedy, consistency and persistence is key to see results.   After 2 weeks of consistent drinking, I noticed I do not get as bloated as I used to, I have seen a reduction of the inflammation inside my lids from my eye allergies,  and I have also noticed reduction of hemorrhoid tissue (sorry for the TMI)…   Let’s try to erase that mental picture and check out how I make turmeric tea…

Turmeric Tea for Inflammation


1-2 medium sized pieces of fresh turmeric

4 cups of water

  1. Grate the pieces of turmeric into a large pot with 4 cups of water.
  2. Boil turmeric in water for about 20 minutes.
  3. Let rest and drink warm.  Sweeten with brown sugar, agave nectar, coconut sugar or honey  if you prefer.


The amount of tea you can make with 4 cups of water will give you about three 12oz servings of tea.


Some tips on working with turmeric:

  • Turmeric STAINS like crazy…  so I use mostly paper towels when handling it and anything related to it.  If a little stains your countertops, just clean with Fantastik or Bar Keeper’s Friend as quickly as possible to avoid the stains to set.

KarmaFree Cooking - Turmeric Tea

  • When you grate it, your grater and fingers will get stained yellow.   The key is to immediately wash them with dishwashing liquid.  I use Dawn and a Scotch scouring pad to avoid the stains to penetrate.  Most of the yellow in my nails goes away after washing a few times, but if you want to save a very expensive manicure, wear gloves.

Turmeric Stains Yellow

  • If it stains your fingers, it probably also stains your teeth when you’re drinking it.  I try to brush my teeth immediately after drinking the tea.  My mom suggested drinking it with a straw, but I have not been able to try that technique yet.  I forget…
  • Store the fresh rhizones in the fridge.  I have also freezed them.  Freezing them makes them a bit harder to grate and the color of the finished tea will not be as intense.  I feel, and this is just a hunch, that the benefits are also less potent.
  • When boiling turmeric in a pot, the turmeric will bubble – very similar to the way pasta water or even potato water create starch bubbles when they boil.  I place a wooden spoon over the pot to prevent the bubbles to bubble over the pot and make a mess of turmeric all over my stove.  It has happened a few more times than I would care to admit.  I try to watch the pot a bit to lower the heat to medium to prevent any boil-overs before they happen.

Turmeric Tea from KarmaFree Cooking

  • To avoid staining my ceramic mugs, I drink turmeric tea out of stainless steel insulated cups.  These do not get stained yellow and are easy to clean with a scouring pad.  My stainless steel pots get cleaned as soon as I finish my last serving of tea with a sprinkling of Bar Keeper’s Friend.  I don’t think you would be able to tell which is the pot I use to boil my turmeric tea.

Have you ever had turmeric?  Or turmeric tea?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section…

The Spice and Tea Exchange in Boca Ratón

2 Nov

Gotta love social networks… many people complain that FaceBook is the tattle-book, or as we would say in Puerto Rican, the “chota-book” because it informs people everything you’re doing. I guess that’s true if you are one of those that like to share your stuff with your friends.

I try to use FaceBook judiciously, but I’ll admit I like to check-in to places sometimes to “brag” a little about where I am and what am I doing. Sometimes it’s just because I know (or would like to know) the reaction I’ll get from people knowing what I am doing. This is exactly what happened last week when I was in Boca Raton…

I mentioned I was in Boca Raton training for a ½ marathon and I was running 13 miles… the longest distance I have ever done ever. That was my point – to share with my running mates that I was running with them from a distance. But FaceBook does not discriminate who sees your posts, so my friend Jill in NYC saw the post and, being the foodie she is, her comment to me was not “Go Madelyn” or “OMG 13 miles!!!”, it was more, “Hey you need to go over to Mizner Park and visit the Tea and Spice Store”. It was a very refreshing comment amongst the sea of cheerleading comments beneath my post.

I believe all things happen for a reason… so after my 13 mile run, I went out with my sister to do some shopping and, where do we end up??? At Mizner Park indeed… no plans for it whatsoever. We went looking for another store which actually has closed and moved a few years ago. And to not let the trip be a complete waste of time, we went into The Spice and Tea Exchange to see what Jill was so excited to recommend…

OMG!!! This store is AMAZING!!!! The smells are intoxicating in the best way possible…

They have sections of Herbs and Spices, Salts, Sugars and Teas.

The manager, Mary Lou, helped me navigate the store. It’s not difficult, but she opened up her favorite condiments and would tell me what they’re good with. I could not help myself and did a little retail therapy. I bought:

Brown and Yellow Mustard Seeds

to try and make my own grain mustard

Chardonnay Smoked Salt

to roast vegetables or mushrooms with a smoky flavor

Black Truffle Salt

to season mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, popcorn and just about anything…

Raspberry Sugar

Recommended with plain yogurt, over cookies, over oatmeal, to decorate the rim of a glass à la margarita, but with champagne or sparkling wine.

Sweet Onion Sugar

to be used to caramelize with roasted vegetables

Florida Citrus Salt Blend

a  blend of rock salt and citrus peels that comes in a grinder. I was told it’s great to season asparagus and spinach.

My sister also got into the action… she bought a tea assortment and tea steeper.

If you live in Boca Raton or near the area, you should visit this store. They have a website so you can peruse all their products and if you want, Mary Lou will ship whatever you want your way.

I know that I will make it a point to visit the The Spice and Tea Exchange more often during my travels to Florida. Thanks Jill for the recommendation and thanks FaceBook for connecting me and my friends in real time. This is a wonderful world we live in…

Home Remedies – Chamomile and Linden Tea to help you sleep

30 Apr

There used to be a time when I had difficulty falling asleep. Me, the person that all she needs to fall asleep is  to be sleepy. I was so stressed out, so unhappy about my work and living situation that at night I was not able to close my eyes at all. And that brought other issues… I would fall asleep so late at night, that in the mornings I would not want to wake up at the time I needed. It was a very tough time for me…

But I learned about using herbal remedies to help my situation. I started making a ritual every night to “program my brain” to get into sleepy mode. And part of that ritual was to drink a hot mug of chamomile and linden teas with honey before going to bed.

Chamomile and linden, both, have calming properties. They help you ease the tensions and promote deep, healthy sleeping.

Who told me about this?? Not sure… but I am sure it works. I once gave my friend Ana a mug of chamomile/linden tea before a big meeting we had. She was super stressed and needed to calm down to be able to deliver the presentationbetter. After drinking it, she told me she felt so relaxed, she couldn’t even get up from her chair during the meeting.

Have you tried drinking chamomile or linden teas before?? What has been your experience?? Any other natural remedies to help your sleep?? Please share it with us all…

Chai Latte

30 Oct

About this same time last year I was in India celebrating the birthday of my friend Annie Mariel.  During this trip – my second time in India, but my first time to Varanasi – I learned about Chai Masala Tea.  Chai is a Hindi word for tea and this delicious concoction is typically made with black tea and a mixture of spices –cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, among others.

Masala Blend

This delicious tea with milk is offered to any welcoming guests – at a store, at a home, even when watching the sunrise from a boat in the Ganges…

Drinking Chai     

And even though I have enjoyed this tea during my last two travels in India, I should not consume it on a regular basis because the black tea contains caffeine and caffeine neither agrees with me or is karma-free.  Caffeine is a stimulant and should be better avoided.

So to celebrate the anniversary of my first encounter with Chai Latte, I wanted to share with you my own caffeine-free version I now make at home. 



1 ½ cups water
½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces of star anise
About 10 cloves
½ cup of evaporated milk
2 tbs agave nectar
Ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. In a small sauce pan add the water, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and cloves.  Bring to a boil and steep all the ingredients in that boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Turn off the stove and leave those spices to continue to steep for about 30 minutes more.
  3. Strain about ½ cup of the spiced water into a mug and add the evaporated milk.  Season with agave nectar.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon on top for garnish.


Next time, I’ll make it with sweetened condensed milk to see if I can achieve even a creamier consistency and will not need to add any agave nectar.

Incredible India… Chai Masala Tea

14 Nov

This is something I learned in this past trip to India…

Every time you visit a store or for breakfast you get offered tea.  And the tea they refer to is chai masala tea.  This is a tea made already with milk and seasoned with some kind of sugar/sweetener and a blend of spices or masala.

Chai masala 1

The masala blend for the tea is usually a spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger and sometimes even peppercorns.

Masala Blend

I am not the tea drinker; Annie Mariel is the tea drinker here.  And the teas I usually drink are mostly herbal (chamomile, spearmint, linden, lemongrass, etc.) to avoid the caffeine in most teas.  But I was intrigued by this chai masala I was being offered all the time.

I loved it… it is traditionally served in these clay cups.  Not to worry, the cups are disposable and used only once.  Even when you get seconds, the cups are never reused.  I was told the cup itself gave some flavor to the tea and that even a second pouring would not taste the same as the first one.  And when I had tea in a paper cup or in a regular china cup, it did not taste the same as that original clay cup.

Drinking Chai      Chai @ Train

The one-time clay cups are also the preferred way to drink lassi, I later learned.  I believe these disposable clay cups are partly the reason why there’s so much dirt flying in the air all the time… Imagine all these clay cups being thrown into the curbside, they get pulverized, the dirt then flies all over the place… you can imagine the picture.

But my love affair with this tea was short-lived…  I wondered why I had not been offered this tea during my first trip if it’s so popular everywhere in India.  The reason??  It has caffeine, and in the line of vegetarianism I practice, we avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant that is not beneficial to a healthy nervous system.

But it is sooooooo good, I am on a mission now to recreate this delicious chai masala tea in a decaffeinated version.   Just stay tuned…  OK?

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