If you didn’t grow up already with turmeric as a restorative ingredient in your household, chances are you only know it as the spice that gives curries its golden hues. But all that’s been changing in the past few years, with wellness enthusiasts embracing the yellow spice as the new celebrity ‘superfood’ with its considerable medicinal and health benefits.
Fresh turmeric in its natural state looks similar to ginger root, with its active ingredient curcumin providing all the goodness for your immune system: claiming to be a powerful anti-inflammatory cure as well as a very strong antioxidant — think high quality matcha without the caffeine.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, curcumin also promotes the bile production process in the gallbladder, which is essential for your liver to get rid of toxins (also helping to reset your liver after breaking down all of those toxins). Due to turmeric’s antioxidant properties, there have been studies suggesting the spice can be used to treat cancer, and even help remove plaque from clogged arteries.
Given all of this, it certainly can’t hurt to incorporate more of the yellow super-spice into your daily routine (and if nothing else, it’ll brighten up your Instagram feed). Here are seven turmeric-centric tonics and treats to take for a spin.
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Founded by former MIT researcher Mia Williams, Tizzy Shots are Hong Kong’s first ginger-based restorative tonics, served up in shot-glass-sized bottles. The experience of its classic ginger shot can be likened to knocking back a tequila shot with its formidable spicy burn, except this time packed to the brim with health benefits. The turmeric shot is slightly more mellow but still retains a tiny bit of heat, with added coconut milk, black pepper and ginger juice to round out the taste.
HK$165 for three shots from Tizzy Shots
Making its rounds on social media recently with campaign girls looking curiously like Simpsons characters is the YLLO turmeric face scrub. The two founders were inspired by the Bangladeshi wedding tradition of the Holud (Haldi) ceremony, where the bride and groom are covered in a turmeric paste to get soft, glowing skin. Each packet of YLLO scrub uses chickpea flour, coconut oil, sucrose, sea salt, turmeric powder, vitamin E oil and lemon essential oil for a refreshing, rejuvenating treat for your skincare regime. Vegan, cruelty-free and free of nasty chemicals, the brand also donates 10% of its profits to charities that are helping to end child marriages around the world.
US$25 (HK$195) from YLLO Scrub, with free shipping to Hong Kong on orders above US$45 (HK$352)
The brainchild of Vancouver-born yoga teacher Katharina Bleinis, Jahmu Tonic was inspired from traditional Balinese jamu, or turmeric-based cure-all tonics (not juices) commonly sold on the streets. Enamoured by this traditional plant-based healing, Bleinis created her own blends that are made fresh in Hong Kong and delivered to customers every Monday. Three flavours are available to choose from: Traditional Tonic, based on the original jamu kunyit made with whole-root turmeric and tamarind for an anti-inflammatory tonic; POWssionfruit Tonic, packed with vitamins A and C and passionfruit for good skin and digestion; and Cayenne Tonic, great for detoxing the body.
Good ol’ Pret. If you’re looking for a quick fix this summer, the grab-and-go cafe’s got the perfect restorative and refreshing drink made with turmeric and steamed coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg for balance and warmth to the digestive system. For an extra dose of the golden spice, pair the drink with a serving of the Broccoli and Cauliflower Turmeric salad (HK$56).
Iced Golden Turmeric Drink HK$37 from Pret a Manger
Over at Spicebox Organics, which has three branches in Mid-levels, Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town, the menu is known for its healthful vegan, gluten-free and paleo approach — and its drinks menu is no exception. Try its turmeric latte, made with fresh organic turmeric, coffee and your choice of milk. If you’re not looking for a milky treat, you can also browse the aisles for other organic restoratives, including the Golden Apple organic apple cider tonic, which is flavoured with lemon ginger and turmeric (HK$35).
Turmeric Latte HK$50 from Spicebox Organics, 137 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, +852 2559 9887
For honest, healing ingredients and authentic flavours, Grassroots Pantry is the way to go. Sip on the classic Indonesian Jamu Kunyit here, made with fresh turmeric, tamarind, lemon and coconut nectar for a sweet and tangy, slightly spicy refreshment. For a beautiful after-meal digestive or midday pick-me-up, the Turmeric Chai Latte (HK$58) is also delicious: made with coconut milk, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and turmeric powder.
Jamu Kunyit HK$55 from Grassroots Pantry, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2873 3353
As a company focused on selling cold pressed products and juice cleanses, Genie Juicery was one of the early ones to catch on to the health benefits offered by turmeric. Grab the Island Life juice, a tropical-tasting concoction made with carrot, organic turmeric, pineapple and lemon for a quick boost to your immunity. Alternatively, you can go for one of the vegan coffees: the turmeric latte (HK$50) is a winner made with Bonsoy milk, espresso, cold pressed fresh turmeric, honey and a chai spice blend.
Island Life HK$60 from Genie Juicery