If you are at all like me (which lets be honest you probably are because you are 1. reading | 2. a human | 3. breathing | 4. amazingly good looking | 5. really good at being awesome), then you enjoy Indian food. I know I know, I said I was going to be posting about ways to help fight inflammation, and I will – stick with me.
So back to Indian food – one of the key ingredients in about 93% of all Indian food (and American mustard) is Turmeric. It is a yellow spice that comes from the Curcuma longa, root (whatever that means), and has been used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes at least as long as people have bothered to keep track. Turmeric has also been used as a herbal remedy for almost as long.
I like to imagine the first use of turmeric for medicine went something like this:
THE ‘OFficial’ first use of turmeric for medicine
Damnit Akshat!!! How many times have I told you that running through the garden ruins food! You know I have been working hard to make sure there is enough of the Curcuma for your sister’s wedding later this year, and now you went and sprained your ankle. Here – just chew on one of these roots for a while and get out of my way. Of course it will help – mother always knows best (well it will at least help me get you out of my garden)
The next day
Akshat – I thought you said your ankle was sprained – how are you able to walk so well? And how is there not more swelling? And where did the root go that I gave you to chew on – I need that for dinner tonight.
From there this mother took what ‘cured’ her son of swelling and began selling it in the market as a cure for stupid and or injured man children. And the age of humans using turmeric to fight inflammation began
But How Does It Work
So turmeric has an active ingredient curcumin (no not the spice cumin that you are using right now in your taco recipe – although similarly tasty), and this ingredient has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Clinical studies have found curcumin, when taken multiple times a day, in doses ranging from 400mg to 600mg per dose, offers protection against certain cancers, reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis (there is limited research suggesting it also helps rheumatoid arthritis, but more is needed), fights the inflammation causing IBS (inflammatory bowl syndrome) and help stabilize blood sugar. There is also anecdotal evidence that curcumin protects neurons from the protein buildup which causes Alzheimer’s (research into this is ongoing in mice, but initial results are positive).
Great – but does it do more harm than good?
So the short answer is no – Turmeric is extremely safe for the majority of people. If you have a family (or personal) history of liver disease then you should probable avoid turmeric just to be safe though. Also, there is insufficient research into the safety of turmeric with pregnant women, so might as well err on the side of avoiding it so long as you are toting around that spare human.
I have been taking turmeric for about six years now, and have noticed a little heartburn if I take more than the recommended dose, but that could be a vestige of years of taking pain medications weakening my stomach lining.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about another awesome extract that I am a huge fan of — Green Tea — until then – you all stay classy, and don’t forget to bring your full selves to life.
Sources – no i didn’t just make all this up 🙂
American Cancer Society – cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/turmeric
Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health, by Andrew Weil.
Natural Database – naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=NONMP&s=ND&pt=100&id=662&fs=ND&searchid=37594816
If you are looking for a supplement that uses turmeric in the scientifically verified dose, with enough in a single bottle to let you take it at the clinical dose for a full month, check out my supplement Freedom over at Indiegogo.
Next time I’ll talk about green tea – or as I like to call it – the only good tea