Are Turmeric Lattes Really Effective At Fighting Colds?

Yummy and warm, but do they have any medicinal properties?
So orange. So yummy.
So orange. So yummy.

It's not only fashion and food that moves in trends. Strangely, drinks come in and out of vogue, too (hello coconut water) and this winter you're likely to see turmeric teas and lattes popping up in hipster cafes and on wellness Instagram feeds.

Turmeric is the main spice found in curry and is bright orange in colour. Most often used in powder form, it's said that the herb can help fight the symptoms of a cold or flu, but exactly how many hot cups would you need for it to be effective? A lot.

Turmeric is the most common spice used in curry.
Turmeric is the most common spice used in curry.

"While turmeric's active component curcumin certainly has healing properties, it is not specifically a cold fighter. Turmeric won't dry your nose or relieve your coughs," Amie Skilton, Herbalist and Naturopath told The Huffington Post Australia.

Stephanie Berglin, BioCeuticals Nutritionist and Herbalist agrees.

"The antioxidant in turmeric that gives it such a rich colour and so many therapeutic benefits is curcumin. While curcumin's benefits are both wide and varied, its efficacy is not based on the amount ingested, but rather how much is absorbed."

By all means, enjoy the cosy hot drink as a winter warmer, but it's probably best to opt for a supplement over a hot drink if you're looking to ward of a cold naturally (and if you're really sick, of course see a doctor).

"For symptomatic relief of colds and upper respiratory tract infections look for a herbal-nutrient supplements with andrographis, Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc," said Skilton.

Supplements aside, if you want to make a soothing hot drink at home be sure to use ginger, lemon and garlic.

"Making your own herbal teas using fresh grated ginger, lemon juice, garlic and echinacea root can boost your immunity, as these are all potent ingredients that have been shown to have therapeutic relief for symptoms of the common cold as well as supporting the immune system," Berglin said.

So cosy.
So cosy.

Berglin also suggests the following ingredients added to food and drinks for overall health:

  • Ginger, lemon juice, chilli, garlic, honey, echinacea and thyme can all be added to food or combined and drunk as teas to help with cold symptoms and to to support the immune system.
  • Adding cloves of garlic to the Sunday roast, stir-fries and fish is a great way of eliminating mucus from the respiratory tract - perfect for the congestion of colds - as well as providing antimicrobial properties.
  • Ginger and chilli are warming and can also help remove mucus as well being great for fighting colds.
  • Echinacea has been traditionally used to support immune function and provide relief of upper respiratory catarrh, sore throat and feverish conditions.
  • Thyme is another expectorant and antimicrobial, which is great for the lungs. Add some to your roasts, sauces, casseroles, veggies and soups to take in it's benefits.
  • Bone broth is rich in protein and minerals that support immunity. It is also a soothing and healing choice for your gut, which is inextricably linked to the healthy functioning of your immune system.