Turmeric – What is all the Excitement About?

Turmeric

It seems like everywhere you look these days there are claims of miraculous cures using turmeric.  What’s with the buzz?

First of all Turmeric has an active ingredient called Curcumin.  Curcumin is one of the most studied herbal ingredients.  Studies have shown it is effective in

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • IBS

The two obvious reasons are that it is anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Antioxidants are important for destroying free radicals which cause cellular degradation.  For more info on free radicals see my blog Dec 2012.

Inflammation is thought to be at the base of all disease.  We drink wine eat blueberries and chocolate for their anti-inflammatory properties.  Turmeric is 127,068 on the ORAC scale which is the way they measure anti-inflammatory properties.  Cacao is 55,653 while blueberries are 9621.

How Does Curcumin Work?

Heart disease

Raises HDL (good cholesterol) removing fatty buildup in the arteries

Reduces stickiness of blood allowing it to flow freely

Changes genetic messages that signal arterial buildup of fatty deposits

Relaxes arterial walls

Prevents scar tissue in the heart and returns it to normal pumping capacity

 

Cancer

Blocks carcinogenic substances

Slows or stops the enzyme that helps cancer spread

Slows or stops the blood supply for tumours

Turns on the gene that signals the cancer cells to die

Prevents cell mutation

Arthritis

Repairs oxidative damage caused by inflammation

Relieves inflammation and pain

Helps rebuild worn cartilage

With all of these amazing benefits it’s no wonder Curcumin is being touted as the new wonder drug.

Adding Turmeric to Your Diet

Most people will not get enough curcumin from simply adding turmeric to their diet.  You would need to eat large quantities at least 3 times per day.  That leaves supplements.  Any over the counter supplement will not do.  Try to get a high quality supplement.  Try checking with a Naturopath or Clinical Herbalist.

The Safety Stuff

Turmeric is basically thought to be safe.  However given the things curcumin is good for there are indeed drug interactions.

Heart Medications – blood thinners like Warfarin, Clopidogrel, aspirin

Drugs for stomach acid – Tagamet, Zantac, Nexium, Pepcid

Diabetic drugs All

Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)- Advil, Motrin, Aleve.

As with all herbal supplements, please make sure you check out any interactions with the medications, pain relievers, vitamins and current supplements you are taking.  There is actually too much of a good thing.  There are a couple of rule of thumb sites I use

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

http://www.livestrong.com/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/default.aspx

When in doubt check with your Dr or Naturopath.

Reference:

McBarron Jan M.D. N. D., Curcumin the 21st Century Cure, Ebook, Kathleen Barnes