Pictures of healing for the new year

1 01 2017

Happy new year, studio fans! For my first post of 2017 I’m pleased to share our success with growing turmeric and making turmeric powder. The process is a labor-intensive yet a very satisfying endeavor. Similar photos of this super anti-inflammatory healing herb were originally published on my Facebook wall in December. Please also see my Dec. 11, 2016, post for comments about the harvest. Then press your back button to return to this page.

This is turmeric growing in my garden in Kaaawa, Oahu. The beautiful flowers died back in November.


That was a sign it was soon time to harvest. I trimmed and tossed most of the leaves—that I later learned are also edible—leaving some to continue to grow. DH helped me unearth the rhizomes with a pitchfork. Aren’t they gorgeous?!


After washing and scrubbing the orange pieces under running water—do don gloves because turmeric stains!, I boiled the segments, cooled them, peeled them with a potato peeler, sliced them, and then dried the turmeric in the oven at the lowest temperature for a couple of hours. Boiling is necessary to kill any bacteria.

Below are photos of the progressive stages of drying on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I turned off the oven and kept the door closed overnight while the turmeric continued to dry with the leftover heat.



Below is what the food looks like when completely dry. You can feel it is hard like a cinnamon stick.


The next step is to grind it with a dedicated spice grinder.


Sift, return the larger pieces to the grinder, and sift again.


My final product: a small air-tight jar of turmeric powder!


Of course, turmeric is also good used fresh. Use it in recipes with ground black pepper. Hawaiians call this spice ʻōlena and use it for cleansing and in ceremonies. I keep any surplus in the freezer.

Here’s to a healthy new year! Be well! ~ Rebekah

Noni for good measure

29 01 2010

Morinda citrifolia is the scientific name for noni. I’m interested in Hawaiian laau lapaau (healing medicine). I’m remembering this as I work/play at regaining my health.

A few years back when stocking Hale Kuai Cooperative, a store with Native Hawaiian products, we made sure we had a full line of Hawaiian herbal medicine on our shelves. We did this, knowing that the kahuna lapaau (master practitioners of Hawaiian healing) did not always agree on how to use certain plants.

Noni is one of those plants. I heard differing opinions on whether to use it externally and/or internally. I heard and read claims that noni will cure whatever ails you. That the large dark green leaves could heal broken bones. That one could rid head lice by smashing the ripe fruit on the scalp.

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) in three stages, bottom to top: flowering, green, almost ripe. Try the tiny white flowers for breakfast or as a garnish on salads.

There is very much to learn about noni. The literature is extensive, and the information is very interesting. I list some resources for lay readers at the end of this post. Today I just want to explain what I do with noni now, following a suggestion by the medical intuitive Camille Copeland who lives on Kauai.

For a time I gathered my own noni juice the traditional Hawaiian way by setting the ripe fruit in a clean and covered glass jar in the sun for a period of time until a dark liquid was extracted; then drank it as a morning tonic. This didn’t last long with me.

Listening to Camille on the radio one Sunday, she advised a caller to take noni fresh, not fermented, as a guard against inflammation. Did she have a tree? I thought, hey, I have a tree. I’ll give it a try.

Every day I check my noni tree for a fruit that is opaque with white skin. If there is one that is nearly white, like pale yellow, that’s okay too, I can pick it. Like a tomato, it will continue to ripen after picked.

I pick noni when it looks like this on the tree

I put the noni in a glass bowl. After one or two days it turns translucent.

Translucent noni

Then it’s time to press it through a sieve.

I use a wooden spoon to press the ripe noni through a metal sieve into a glass container, separating all of those seeds from the pulp

The fresh foamy noni pulp tastes slightly tangy. It doesn’t have an objectionable aroma to me. (The smell is likened to strong cheese.) I eat about a heaping tablespoon in the morning on an empty stomach, about 10-15 minutes before breakfast. I store any surplus in a tightly lidded jar, properly labeled, in the refrigerator.

I think this is working for me. I thank my noni tree each time it gifts me with its wondrous fruit.


A good recent article about noni is found on this blog:

Our Hawaiian co-op carried David Marcus’s Hawaiian Herbal Blessings of Maui. David has supplied noni products for many years, including to Hale Kuai Cooperative.

Noni: Aspirin of the Ancients by Diana Fairechild is a wonderful testimony about the wonders of this plant. Check for the small paperback.

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke

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