It’s the new Pumpkin Spice Latte – or it should be. This spicy, warm, creamy delight has all the sweetness and spice of the good ole PSL but in reality it has health benefits that far outweigh any commercial concoction. In its first incarnation I termed this the “Anti-Inflammatory Elixir”. However due to complaints from my father about the mouthful of the name for such a smooth and easy drink I have renamed it the “AI Elixir”. The ingredients are simple – fresh ginger root, fresh turmeric root, and a cinnamon stick. Yet the effect this has on inflammation is profound.
Turmeric has been touted for decades for its wide range of actions in the body – everything from digestive tonic to anticancer properties. It makes its magic because of an active constituent called curcumin – the reigning king of the anti-inflammatory kingdom. Everything that curcumin does inside the body is because of the potent ability it has to reduce inflammation across the entire system – from the gut to the brain and everywhere in between. Pair turmeric root with its cousin ginger and you get not only a culinary match but a medicinal match. Ginger has been used across cultures for the digestive tonic effect – it helps decrease nausea, prevent food poisoning, and it contains its own additional anti-inflammatory properties. Much of the warm, spicy flavor in the AI Elixir comes from the fresh ginger root and indeed ginger has the ability to warm and prime the digestion during cold months. Cinnamon is the final herb in this trifecta and it lends taste but also brings its own medicinal punch. Cinnamon is well-known for its ability to lower blood sugar levels and it does this by decreasing the absorption of sugars in the gut. One important connection to make is that excess blood sugar is a primary cause to the process of inflammation. Excess sugar in the system is like fanning the flames of the inflammatory fire.
These three herbs combined together are akin to health nirvana – drink daily and you will notice the change. So tomorrow do yourself a favor and consider ditching that sugar-laden, caffeine-pumped Pumpkin Spice Latte and try the AI Elixir. Your body will thank you.
Cheers to great health! – Dr. Kristen Coles
4 slices of fresh organic turmeric root – cut lengthwise
2 slices of fresh organic ginger root – cut lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups of water
1 tsp raw honey – optional
1 tbsp coconut milk – optional
Add water to pot and bring to a boil. Add turmeric root, ginger root and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, add honey and coconut milk if desired. Drink liberally.