In the West, most of us reach for a cup of coffee or tea (or maybe a lemon water if we’re on a real health kick) to energize us first thing in the morning.
However, for those who follow Eastern yogic tradition and Ayurveda, caffeinated beverages are replaced by a morning dose of neem and turmeric.
Those who practice this ancient morning ritual swear by it for increasing lifeforce energy, cleansing the digestive tract, warding off acute and chronic illness, and enhancing their emotional and spiritual well-being.
Today, we’ll examine the tradition and science behind taking neem and turmeric on an empty stomach, and how it can benefit your health.
What are Neem and Turmeric?
Neem and turmeric are two different herbs that can be used individually or together to achieve specific health benefits.
Turmeric is the most studied herb on the planet.
It is a rhizome, similar to ginger but smaller, with a deep orange color that’s used extensively in Indian and Asian cooking. If you’ve ever had yellow curry, for example, its color comes from turmeric.
Its active component, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant that’s been shown beneficial for immunity, liver function, the skin, digestive health, balancing inflammatory response, promoting neurological health, and supporting heart health (to name but a few of its proven benefits).
In the West, neem is most commonly used in oral health products. In the East/Ayurveda, it’s been used for centuries to reduce liver heat, stimulate digestion, cleanse the blood, expel pathogens, and for various other health and beauty purposes.
How Do Neem and Turmeric Work Together?
Neem and turmeric are often taken separately for their individual herbal properties.
However, the ancient yogis and Ayurvedic practitioners found that when combined they offered a special range of benefits. Including:
Cleansing the digestive tract—which is essential to optimizing nutrient uptake, detoxification, immunity, and maintaining overall health.
Bringing clean and pure energy to the cells—unlike caffeine, which can be over-stimulating, the combination of neem and turmeric taken first thing in the morning is used to naturally awaken the energy centers within our cells. This leads to a cleaner, natural, and more sustainable energy, without the jitters or crashes from coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.
Purifying the liver—which reduces toxic body burden while cleansing the blood, thereby enhancing energy.
Preventing various acute and chronic conditions—this daily practice is used to support the body’s natural defenses against unwanted germs, pathogens, etc.
Enhancing emotional and spiritual well-being—Ayurveda teaches that a clean and clear digestive tract enhances emotional well-being and focus. This, in-turn, creates the ideal conditions for deepening our spiritual practices and purpose.
In Ayurveda, daily consumption is often recommended for chronic congestion, mystery illness, frequent colds/coughs, skin issues, to strengthen the blood, cleanse the digestive system, support health glucose metabolism, for lethargy/lack of energy, to support joint mobility, reduce toxic body burden, to enhance the flow of energy (known a “ojas” in yogic tradition), and to promote longevity, emotional stability, and overall health.
The Documented Health Benefits of Neem and Turmeric
Although there is limited research on the combination of neem and turmeric taken on an empty stomach, there is plenty of research to back up this traditional use.
Here’s a small sampling of what the science says about the health benefits of this dynamic yogic herbal duo.
5 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Neem:
Neem benefits the gut microbiome by supporting the balance of healthy bacteria. It’s also been shown to be beneficial for the dermal (skin) and oral (mouth/dental) microbiomes.
In addition, there is evidence that neem and turmeric, when used in combination on orthodontic extraction sockets, may promote the body’s natural wound-healing ability. This is consistent with the Ayurvedic usage of both herbs for supporting wound-healing and healthy skin cell turnover.
How (and when) to Take Neem and Turmeric Based on Yogic Tradition
If you’re interested in trying out neem and turmeric first thing in the morning, here’s how to do it based on yogic tradition:
Upon rising, take a marble-size ball of neem and turmeric mixed together with a bit of honey and/or water on an empty stomach. Wash down with some lukewarm water. OR take 1 capsule of neem and 1 capsule of turmeric, or as recommended by your Ayurvedic or yogic practitioner.
Many people follow this ritual with a morning yoga practice, meditation, etc.
Always check with your healthcare practitioner, but in most cases this practice can be continued daily or a few times a week for as long as you desire.
Many Ayurvedic practitioners and yogis take this combination daily for life, and experience excellent health as a result.
If you’re looking for a particular result, be patient. Herbs often take time to work their magic…but that doesn’t mean they’re not working. Some people will notice benefits immediately, for others it can take a few weeks or even months—especially if you’ve been experiencing a health issue for a long time.
Consistency is key!
Where to find Neem and Turmeric
To make this practice easy (which always leads to better results) consider taking Neem and Turmeric capsules.
We carry Neem as an individual herb in our Neem Capsules, which contain the organic leaves, soft twigs, and flowers.
You can also find Turmeric capsules in our Turmeric Formula, which contains organic turmeric rhizome, organic turmeric extract (with a minimum of 90% curcumin), and organic trikatu—a combination of black pepper, ginger, and long pepper—which enhances absorption.
Neem and Turmeric are also combined, along with other immune-supportive herbs, in our Immune Aid formula.