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Turmeric ranks among the most researched herbs. Recently, GreenMedInfo.org posted an article linking the ingestion of turmeric to the positive impact of 600 diseases, practically lifting this traditional spice to a magical scale. Studies frequently focus on just one component of turmeric, curcumin, as the active source for anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. The big question is whether curcumin truly is quintessential or are other noncurcumin components equally endowed with medicinal potential. Of the 235 chemical compounds identified in turmeric, curcumin makes up just 2-5% of the plant. Multiple chemically diverse noncurcumin compounds also exhibit strong anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Additionally, some work synergistically with curcumin to increase its absorption.
The point is for maximum benefits keep the whole plant intact, using it as turmeric rather than isolating it into parts such as curcumin. Traditional practice seems to know this. Turmeric has been safely used for centuries as a non-toxic, tolerated food spice. A food dose of turmeric may not be concentrated as a dose from a capsule; however, adding it into daily life whenever possible, even if in small amounts is a win-win. Baking with herbs captures this concept. Eating turmeric in a cake, cookie, bread or sweet roll may not deliver a medicinal dose, but still worthy for ingesting phytochemicals that protect us.
These crescents were inspired by a recipe from Maida Heatter, an amazing dessert recipe writer. Her descriptions and encouraging tips continue to influence my baking making it easier, enjoyable and successful. She writes that she loves baking yeast cakes. The smells, hands-on work, the end product cause me to agree. I added turmeric to her nut crescents and changed the filling a bit. The result is a light yellow soft sweet roll with a chewy brittle like filling. These take some time, but are a perfect weekend project and worth every second.