The Healing Power of Food

By Pinky Khoabane

THERE’S a growing call to return to the food our ancestors ate in order to curb the unprecedented levels of chronic non-communicable diseases which are found in modern societies. This does not mean eating everything that the ancestors ate but simply calls for eating wholesome, natural and organic food that is produced locally, naturally and is seasonal. 

It calls for reconnecting with Mother Earth and the restoration of the spiritual tie between people, the land and the food that is produced on it. Ancestral eating calls for the return to food from the soil than that made in a factory or is enhanced by chemicals and is genetically modified. 

It means eliminating modern-day foods like:

  • vegetable oils (soy, corn, canola, cottonseed)
  • refined sugar
  • processed soy and fake meats
  • refined, packaged products
  • fake vegetables and fruits – it is amazing how many young people in cities think there are natural seedless fruits. They think the glossy, “pretty” vegetables you find in supermarkets are natural. Herbs such as garlic, no longer have the strong potent smell – 

Food was always central to the traditions and cultures of indigenous people. Throughout the seasons of the African calendar – ploughing, harvesting and initiation – there would be celebrations with song, dance and food. Rainfall following severe droughts and the harvest thereafter would be celebrated. 

With the advent of colonisation, indigenous people were indoctrinated into believing that western medicine, food and technology would improve their health. 

In a series of articles, we will publish some of the most powerful foods which we can use to heal our bodies. We can expect big corporations and pharmaceuticals to rubbish much of the science and evidence-based healing power of food.

I will be sharing some of the recipes I use as part of my daily life. 

Ingredients of Turmeric Tea

First up is Turmeric, the spice that gives curry it’s yellow colour. It has been used in India for centuries of years both as a spice and a medicinal herb. It contains a substance, curcumin, an orange-yellow component of turmeric. Traditionally it is known for its an anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong anti-oxidant. It has many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.

It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric courtesy of Healthline

  1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties

2. Curcumin Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body

4.  Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

5. Curcumin Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer

7. Curcumin May Be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

8. Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplements

9. Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression

10. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases

Recipe – Turmeric Tea

Tumeric Tea


My daughter suffers severe menstrual pains. We make turmeric tea or add the herb to smoothies to help with the pain. I also use it as a daily routine to help relieve the pain in my joints. You can sip it warm or put it in the fridge. We keep our natural remedies and healing smoothies for a minimum two days in the fridge. 


3 cups of water

Juice of Half Lemon

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons of turmeric 

3 slices of fresh ginger (add more if like me, you prefer the punch of the ginger)

Pinch of Cayenne

Pinch of Black Pepper

Teaspoon of Coconut Oil

Honey is optional which can be added when the tea has been made


Method: Add water in a pot and all the ingredients and boil for as long as you think the turmeric has been cooked. 

Curcumin is not easily absorbed in the body and requires Black Pepper and a bit of fat to increase absorption. 

Some of the health benefits in this Turmeric Tea


Ginger Contains Gingerol, a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few. Here’s a link to the evidence-based benefits of ginger.

When I was pregnant, I lived on ginger to reduce nausea which was throughout the day as opposed to what is commonly known as morning sickness which occurs only in the morning during the first few months of pregnancy. 


Cinnamon has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum. It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable and was regarded as a gift fit for kings. Here are the 10 evidence-based healing properties of cinnamon.


Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fibre, and plant compounds that give them a number of health benefits. Lemons may aid weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease, anaemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer. Here are some of the medicinal benefits of lemons

Black Pepper

Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices worldwide. It’s made by grinding peppercorns, which are dried berries from the vine Piper nigrum. Black pepper and its active compound piperine may have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Laboratory studies suggest that black pepper may improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and brain and gut health.

Cayenne Pepper 

Cayenne peppers are a type of chilli pepper. They belong to the nightshade family of flowering plants and are closely related to bell peppers and jalapeños. Cayenne peppers may have many health benefits that are the result of their active component, capsaicin. They may reduce your appetite and help lower blood pressure, among many other benefits.

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  1. Since I began drinking tea, I notice my breathing got better, I suffer from shortness of breath, hope people discover this amazing recipe and actually use it

    1. Thanks for the feedback Amanda. My daughter suffered severe menstrual pains, the type where she missed school on the first day of her period. Then we discovered Tumeric tea and the first day she had it she was able to attend school on the first day of her menstruation. Amazing power. PK

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