Turmeric is a flowering plant in the ginger family. Its scientific name is curcuma longa.
People have used the herbal spice known as turmeric for thousands of years to make tea from the plant’s rhizome stems, or its underground root system.
This same type of turmeric is also used in cooking, for health purposes, in spiritual practices, and more.
It’s also commonly used in the ancient Indian health system Ayurveda. Thus, you might see turmeric tea called by one of its traditional Indian names, such as haldi or manjal (
This article explores a few of the reasons why people now appreciate turmeric tea so widely. It also includes a list of 7 specific benefits of turmeric tea and instructions on how to make your own.
Turmeric tea is made by steeping fresh or dried turmeric in water. It is yellow, orange, or golden in color and has an earthy flavor profile with a spicy kick that people often describe as bitter yet sweet.
The flavor is reminiscent of ginger root — which is understandable, since turmeric and ginger root are both in the Zingiberaceae family of plants (
Turmeric tea is easy to make at home, and packaged turmeric tea bags are usually pretty easy to find at grocery stores and specialty tea shops. It often makes appearances on coffee shop and cafe menus too.
You can make turmeric tea by steeping fresh or dried turmeric root in hot or cold water. The herbal tea with South Asian roots is golden in color, earthy in flavor, and now popular around the world.
People have used turmeric in traditional medicine practices to treat various conditions for hundreds of years. However, scientists weren’t exactly sure why until they discovered a group of polyphenol antioxidants in turmeric called curcuminoids (
Researchers believe the most potent of those components is curcumin.
Studies in humans have shown that curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties (
However, most studies that have investigated the effects of turmeric and curcumin have used high dose supplements, not turmeric tea.
There’s currently no evidence that turmeric tea has the same effect as turmeric supplements. Results from studies on turmeric and curcumin supplements can’t be applied to turmeric tea.
What’s more, the body doesn’t absorb curcumin from turmeric very well, so the amount you consume from turmeric tea is likely quite a bit less than the amount of researchers use in laboratory studies investigating concentrated turmeric supplements (
Still, turmeric tea is a nutritious, delicious beverage. And researchers are continuing to investigate exactly how to harness curcumin’s potent health properties (
Turmeric tea likely won’t cure any major issues for the time being, but its benefits could certainly support health (
Here are 7 potential benefits of turmeric tea.
1. Good source of some nutrients
Curcumin steals the show in most discussions of turmeric’s health features. But it’s not the only nutrient present in turmeric or turmeric tea.
One teaspoon (3 grams) of dried turmeric — an amount you might use to make a cup or two of turmeric tea — also contains (
- Manganese: 26% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 9% of the DV
- copper: 4% of the DV
2. Contains bioactive compounds
Bioactive compounds are nutrients that promote health in humans. These include common vitamins and minerals, as well as lesser known compounds such as polyphenols and volatile oils.
Curcuminoids such as curcumin are the largest group of bioactive compounds found in turmeric tea, although it contains hundreds of others, including many volatile essential oils and multiple types of antioxidants (
3. Naturally low in calories
Without any additional milk or sweeteners, such as honey, 1 cup (237 mL) of turmeric tea likely contains somewhere between 10 and 30 calories, depending on how much turmeric you use and the type.
Thus, if you’re looking for ways to reduce calories in your diet, turmeric tea would be a great replacement for high calorie beverages such as soft drinks, juices, and alcohol.
4. A great bedtime tea
Plain turmeric tea doesn’t contain any caffeine. Therefore, it’s a great tea to have in the late afternoon or evening without disrupting your sleep cycle.
Plus, it pairs well with other non-caffeinated teas such as chamomile.
However, turmeric tea is often used in blends with other types of green or black tea, both of which are caffeinated. If you want to enjoy turmeric tea without the jolt of caffeine, be sure to find a tea that is caffeine-free.
5. Might promote heart health
Turmeric and curcumin may help keep your heart functioning properly in more ways than one.
Studies suggest that turmeric and curcumin supplements may lower blood pressure and levels of fat in the blood — both of which can be risk factors for heart disease when they exceed normal levels.
For example, one study found that taking turmeric for 12 weeks or longer significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, the first number in a blood pressure reading. This number represents how much pressure is placed on the arteries each time your heart beats (
A separate study observed that turmeric and curcumin supplements reduced some blood fat levels, including LDL (bad) cholesterol and total triglycerides (
Though turmeric tea may not contain as much concentrated curcumin as the supplements in these studies, these results suggest that turmeric tea could still make a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.
6. Could boost your mood
Scientists are also exploring how curcumin may be related to depression and mood disorders (
One or even a few cups of turmeric tea won’t contain nearly the same amount of concentrated curcumin that participants consumed in these studies, but it’s possible turmeric tea might still have some effect on mood.
For many people around the world, a hot cup of tea is a warm, calming, and soothing ritual in its own right. For some, this alone might have mood-boosting effects.
You can enjoy a cup of turmeric tea any time of day — have a cup to start the day, enjoy one after lunch, or sip one before bed.
7. Works as a natural, plant-based dye
Turmeric is well known for its bright yellowish-orange color, which comes from the curcuminoids it contains (
In fact, turmeric’s color pigments are extremely powerful, which means they can easily stain many materials, such as teeth, clothes, and countertops.
In some situations, that might be exactly what you’re looking for. Turmeric tea — or simply turmeric infused in water — can be used to dye many different things, such as fabric and even eggs, without relying on any harsh chemicals or additives.
Turmeric tea is low in calories, caffeine-free (so it’s a great tea for the evening hours), and rich in nutrients such as manganese and iron. Its bioactive compound curcumin has been linked with several potential health benefits.
Turmeric tea has a unique flavor that some people call earthy or sharp. It’s delicious all on its own but is also commonly paired with other spices and flavors.
Turmeric tea pairs well with these spices:
You might also want to try mixing it with another beverage, such as:
- dairy or plant-based milk
- green tea
- orange juice
- pineapple juice
And you might enjoy adding flavorings like these:
- maple syrup
- black pepper
Black pepper might sound like an odd pairing for tea, but when it comes to turmeric tea, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.
Black pepper not only adds depth to turmeric’s spicy punch but also contains a nutrient called piperine that helps your body absorb significantly more curcumin from turmeric. Remember, your body doesn’t absorb curcumin very well, so this can help (
What’s more, curcumin is a fat-soluble nutrient, so pairing turmeric with fats like coconut oil or milk — such as in popular golden milk turmeric tea recipes — might also help you absorb more of the nutrient (
Turmeric tea is tasty and has health-promoting features all on its own, but you can certainly spice it up even more with herbs, spices, and ingredients that add both flavor and nutrition.
Turmeric tea is very easy to make at home with fresh or dried turmeric and just a few tools. Here are 3 ways to make it.
1. Fresh turmeric tea
To make turmeric tea using fresh, whole turmeric:
- Cut a 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece of fresh turmeric into small slices.
- Combine turmeric with 1 cup (237 mL) water.
- Bring water and turmeric to a boil.
- Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Strain turmeric pieces out of liquid.
2. Dried, ground turmeric tea
To make turmeric tea using dried ground turmeric (
- Using a whisk or similar tool, combine 1/2 tsp (1.5 grams) ground turmeric with 1 cup (237 mL) water.
- Bring water and turmeric to a boil.
- Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir well to make sure turmeric is well blended.
3. Cold-brewed turmeric tea
to make cold-brewed turmeric tea:
- Place 4 tbsp. (37.6 grams) dried turmeric tea, or a 4-inch (10-cm) piece of fresh turmeric cut into 1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes, in 4 cups (946 mL) water.
- Let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Strain tea using cheesecloth or a wire mesh sieve.
With any of these base recipes, you can easily add honey to sweeten the tea to your taste or include other ingredients as you like.
You can make turmeric tea at home with just two ingredients and a couple of minutes. Fresh turmeric root is commonly used to make tea, but you can use dried turmeric pieces or ground turmeric instead.
In general, turmeric tea is considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation.
That said, a few groups of people should use caution with turmeric tea or, in some cases, even avoid it completely.
It’s currently unclear whether turmeric is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding people in amounts greater than those commonly found in food. Thus, it’s best to keep your turmeric intake to moderate amounts if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding (
Some people have been known to experience allergic reactions to curcumin. If you notice any type of skin irritation after handling or consuming turmeric, check with a healthcare professional before drinking turmeric tea (
If you’re taking any medications, it’s best to check with your doctor before drinking turmeric tea. Curcumin might interact with some medications, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, antibiotics, and cancer drugs (
Turmeric tea is safe for most people in moderate amounts, but avoid it if you experiencing allergy symptoms after handling or consuming turmeric. If you’re pregnant or taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before drinking it.
If you’re looking for a unique and healthy drink to add to your day, turmeric tea might be right for you.
Many people find that drinking turmeric tea is a lovely ritual. Plus, the tea is low in calories, is caffeine-free, and shows great potential for health benefits in laboratory settings, although more research is needed.
It’s also super easy to make at home and a blank canvas for your culinary imagination, since you can add many different ingredients.
Give turmeric tea a try and see what you think.