What Is So Good About Turmeric

Depression, Digestion, Inflammation, Joint disorders | January 25, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

heart disease, cancer, depression, Digestion

What Is So Good About Turmeric

Turmeric (curcuma longa), the bright yellow spice native to India and Southeast Asia, has been used for cooking and medicinal purposes in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for nearly 4000 years.

Today, turmeric is hailed a miracle spice that can ward off cancer and cure everything from indigestion to urinary tract infections.

Is Turmeric as Powerful as it Seems?

Most of the research on turmeric uses curcumin, the yellow-coloured phytochemical that is thought to be the primary active compound in turmeric. Numerous animal and laboratory studies have demonstrated that curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, and anti microbial properties.Turmeric is also an excellent source of iron and manganese, and contains very good amounts of vitamin B6, dietary fibre, copper, and potassium.

Potential Benefits in Humans

Heart health. Study in overweight people with high cholesterol in India reveals that taking turmeric capsules twice daily for 3 months significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Anti cancer benefits. The anti cancer effects of curcumin were demonstrated in animal and laboratory studies of cancer, where curcumin was shown to reduce abnormal cell growth and arrest development of tumours.
Human studies are currently under way and thus far there is some preliminary evidence suggesting that curcumin may be effective for prostate and colorectal cancers.

One trial in 40 smokers with precancerous rectal lesions found that 4 grams of curcumin per day for 30 days reduced the number of lesions.

Digestive health. Turmeric was shown to protect the gastrointestinal tract, potentially through its anti-inflammatory effect. One or two tablets of turmeric extract taken daily for 8 weeks reduced the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improved symptoms in patients with IBS. It was also found to be effective in healing peptic ulcers and improving symptoms of indigestion in patients with peptic ulcer.

Joint health. Arthritis is a condition affecting the joints, usually resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Some research shows that taking curcumin can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis including morning stiffness and joint swelling, comparable to effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

In addition, patients with knee osteoarthritis have reported significant improvement in pain relief and knee function with curcumin supplements.

Itching (pruritus). Pruritus, or itch, is a common problem for patients with chronic kidney failure. A study found that taking turmeric 1500 mg/day orally in three divided doses for 8 weeks significantly decreased symptoms of itching in patients with end-stage kidney disease.

Depression. Patients with major depressive disorder who took curcumin reported an antidepressant effect, similar to that of a standard antidepressant medication.

How To Take Turmeric

The best way to take turmeric is to add it to your food. However, it would be almost impossible to reach the levels of turmeric used in clinical studies by just consuming the turmeric spice in your food.

To achieve therapeutic benefits you may need to take turmeric (curcumin) capsules, as they usually contain a concentrated turmeric extract.

When taking capsules, use a quality product that has a proven statement of active ingredient - curcuminoids.

Turmeric has very low bioavailability, which means it is poorly absorbed in the body. In order to increase absorption, use turmeric with food or with black pepper. Black pepper contains an active ingredient called piperine that increases the absorption of turmeric by 2000%.

What Dose?

The doses suggested below are for adults only and are based on clinic studies.

For high cholesterol: 1.4 grams of turmeric extract in two divided doses daily for 3 months.

For osteoarthritis: 500 mg of turmeric extract twice daily for 6 weeks.

For rheumatoid arthritis: curcumin 400 mg three times daily for 2 weeks, or 500 mg twice daily for 8 weeks.

For depression: 1000 mg per day in two divided doses for 6 weeks.

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Safety

Turmeric is generally considered safe even when taken in doses up to 8000 mg daily for up to 3 months, but in some cases high doses have caused indigestion, diarrhoea, reflux, nausea, and vomiting.

It is not recommended for patients with gallstones or gallbladder disease and in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is also not recommended in pregnancy or breastfeeding, as its effects are not known.

Turmeric might slow blood clotting and increase chances of bleeding. Therefore people taking certain medications, such as aspiring and warfarin, should also be careful when using turmeric supplements.

You should stop taking it at least 2 weeks before elective surgery.

Liquid gold

This popular Ayurvedic recipe is known by some as “liquid gold”, or “golden milk” is an anti inflammatory turmeric beverage.

In a small saucepan combine

  • 1 cup of coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 cup water 
  • ½  teaspoon turmeric powder (or grated turmeric root),
  • 1 teaspoon honey,
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil,
  • pinch of grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns.

Bring to low boil, reduce and simmer. Pour into 2 cups and top with a dash of cinnamon.

Based on it's value as a anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, and anti microbial, turmeric can be used whenever these conditions are apparent or as an atioxidant for disease prevention.

 

References

Bundy, R., Walker, A. F., Middleton, R. W., & Booth, J. (2004). Turmeric Extract May Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptomology in Otherwise Healthy Adults: A Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(6), 1015–1018.

Carroll, R. E., Benya, R. V, Turgeon, D. K., et al. (2011). Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia, Pa.), 4(3), 354–64.

Grover, A. K., & Samson, S. E. (2016). Benefits of antioxidant supplements for knee osteoarthritis: rationale and reality. Nutrition Journal, 15, 1. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-015-0115-z

Natural Medicines – database, food, herbs. And supplements. Turmeric (2016). http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com

Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute 2016, Curcumin, Retrieved January 23, 2017, < http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin>

Pakfetrat, M., Basiri, F., Malekmakan, L., & Roozbeh, J. (2014). Effects of turmeric on uremic pruritus in end stage renal disease patients: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Journal of Nephrology, 27(2), 203–207. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40620-014-0039-2

Pashine, L., Pashine, L., Singh, J. V, et al. (2012). Effect of turmeric (curcuma longa) on overweight hyperlipidemic subjects: double blind study. Indian Journal of Community Health, 24(2), 113–117.

Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2011). Turmeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Prucksunand, C., Indrasukhsri, B., Leethochawalit, M., & Hungspreugs, K. (2001). Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) on healing of peptic ulcer. The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 32(1), 208–15.

Sanmukhani, J., Satodia, V., Trivedi, J., et al. (2014). Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytotherapy Research, 28(4), 579–585.

Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., et al. (1998). Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers. Planta Medica, 64(4), 353–356.

Thamlikitkul, V., Bunyapraphatsara, N., Dechatiwongse, T., et al. (1989). Randomized double blind study of Curcuma domestica Val. for dyspepsia. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand = Chotmaihet Thangphaet, 72(11), 613–20.

United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. Basic Report:  02043, Spices, turmeric, ground (2016). Retrieved 23 January 2017

 

 

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