Isn't that the spice they put in curry? Yep thats the one. Turmeric is an ancient root, and comes from the curcuma long plant. The roots of the plant are boiled and dried and then ground into a powder. It has a mild peppery, and warm flavour. It is also defined by that brilliant yellow/gold colour. In fact it used to be called “indian saffron” and was also used as natural food dye. In indian folk and Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used to treat many illnesses. Interestingly now modern day science and research suggests that it is more than a curry spice or food colouring.
Turmeric has been shown to have anti inflammatory properties. There have been thousands (yes over 6,000) peer review scientific articles, which take a look at the effects of turmeric in the human body.
The research focuses of curcumin, (the main component in turmeric) and has evidence of:
Protecting the liver from oxidative stress
Lowering blood cholesterol levels
Protecting against cognitive defects in heavy metal irradiation
Chronic inflammation and pain
In a chiropractic office, patients come into the office with inflammatory processes causing pain and discomfort. We find turmeric to be a wonderful natural alternative to anti- inflammatories, not only helping their musculoskeletal problems but other inflammatory processes in the body.
Let me tell you a little story. On the easter long weekend this year I was lucky enough to feed some chickens at where I was staying. Unfortunately I did not consider the aggressive and protective rooster of the coup, who reared up at me and clawed my knee. It was all quite sudden and unexpected.
Within 30 minutes my knee was painful, swollen and infected from where his claws got under my skin. Ouch, it was bad. It hurt to the point that I couldn't wear pants, because the fabric on my skin was too painful. Yes go ahead, you can laugh. In hindsight it is all quite funny.
I went to my GP and received antibiotics. 7 days worth. Yes I don't like antibiotics but you sometimes you have to…. it brought down the inflammation a lot but did not clear it. My knee was still painful and hot and tender to the touch. I went back to inform my doctor that I wouldn't take antibiotics, but instead I would take turmeric. My doc was ok with it, as long as I would keep an eye on it and that if it got worse I would have to come back immediately for some more antibiotics. After taking turmeric, my knee improved to full movement no inflammation within 10 days… it was awesome! Yay for turmeric.. it worked. Well at least on a personal case study of 1 it did, as well as the improvements the patients we see with inflammatory conditions make when taking turmeric ;)
Let me disclose that I wouldn't recommend you taking turmeric instead of antibiotics especially if your doctor has prescribed it of you, however with the over-prescribing and cases of new super resistant bacteria, avoiding antibiotics where possible, turmeric might just be the answer!
Turmeric Side Effects
While the pros of turmeric health benefits usually outweigh the cons, it’s important to know that there can be some side effects with turmeric. Some people report allergic reactions to turmeric, especially after skin exposure. Typically, this is experienced as a mild, itchy rash. In addition, high doses of turmeric have been observed to cause:
Increased risk of bleeding
Increased liver function tests
Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
Uterine contractions in pregnant women
People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it.
Be mindful that turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin and warfarin. It also can affect medications such as nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. As with any herb or supplement, use as directed.
Turmeric dosage mainly depends on age. For instance, adults are generally recommended to follow these guidelines:
Supplement: 450 milligrams of curcumin capsules each day or up to 3 grams of turmeric root daily (divided into several doses).
Tea: 1 to 1.5 grams of dried root steeped in 5 ounces of water for 15 minutes twice daily.
Oil: ½ tablespoon of turmeric oil three times daily.
For children, it’s reported that there is “no proven or safe medicinal dose of turmeric in children.” With that said, I recommend “culinary doses” by regularly including it into your natural health meal plan as you would any other spice or herb. This way you can rest assured that your kids get their fair share of turmeric benefits every day. To give you a feel for the dosage amount, it’s been reported that the, “Average dietary intake of turmeric in the Indian population may range bet
ween 2 to 2.5 grams, corresponding to 60 to 200 milligrams of curcumin daily.
For a good quality curcumin, look at 'practitioner only' brands. One such brand we use in the is practice is Metagenics. The Inflavanoid Intensive care by Metagenics work on the last 2 phases of the acute inflammatory cycle. This is great for sudden onset or sudden injury. The Inflavanoid Sustained care however influences the receptor, signalling, transcription and the the inflammatory mediators. This product is great for long term, chronic pain. If this is something you would like to consider as part of your daily routine, have a chat with me and we will be able to work out the plan for you!