Turmeric is a spice native to many Asian countries. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and gives turmeric the deep orangish yellow colour that we associate with the spice.
Apart from using it as condiment, turmeric is also used for wound healing and in skin care products.
Among the many effects of curcumin, the most notable is its powerful antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also protects the liver, digestive tract, brain and enhances immunity.
A study done with those who had oral and maxillofacial surgery showed that after using a turmeric dressing, a decrease in inflammation was found and wound healing was significantly faster in the groups where turmeric was used. (1)
Several studies have shown its remarkable effect as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent especially in cases of osteoarthritis. (2)
In another study done with 201 patients, over 12 weeks, it was found that even by using curcumin alone; pain, morning stiffness, physical performances was markedly improved in the study groups when curcumin was given. (3)
Curcumin significantly slows osteoarthritis progression, reduces cartilage erosions, synovitis, subchondral plate thickness and reduces pro-inflammatory mediators in the joint. (4) Hence, its effect in inflammation and arthritis is undeniable.
Curcumin is not only effective in osteoarthritis! Curcumin has shown a remarkable positive effect in all forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and arthritis due to autoimmune diseases. (5)
Incorporating turmeric on regular basis in the diet can be effective for simple ailments, has good antioxidant effect and eliminates toxins. Curcumin is also effective in detoxification especially detoxification of mercury levels.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, a higher concentration of curcumin level is needed. Getting a higher concentration may not be possible by only incorporating turmeric in the diet. One would need to take many tablespoons of turmeric each day to achieve that concentration.
Supplementation with curcumin can be added and should be taken after consulting your Naturopathic Doctor. Your naturopathic doctor can evaluate you for any contraindications or if you are on any medication which can have a drug interaction with high doses of curcumin. It's best that each patient is individually evaluated and monitored even while using herbal supplements.
You can try to incorporate it in as many dishes as possible everyday. This is one of my favourite way to incorporate turmeric in the diet...
Healing Turmeric Tea
For 1 cup. Preparation time 5 minutes.
1 inch piece of ginger
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
3/4 cup of water
Turmeric ½ tsp to 1 tsp ( Depends on desired strength.)
1 tsp honey or to taste
Almond or coconut milk to make one cup
Directions: Add everything, except the milk, to a small saucepan and heat and simmer for about five minutes. Then add the milk and bring it to boil. Tea is ready!
Its delicious, good for detoxification, gut health, muscle pain and fatigue.
For more guidance and individualized recommendations in the usage of turmeric and curcumin to address inflammation, joint health, healing time and overall good health, contact the clinic to arrange a time to visit with me and I'd be happy to help.
1) Role of turmeric in management of alveolar Osteitis: A randomized clinical study, Lone LA et al, 2018 Jan-Apri; 8(1):44-47 , Journal of Oral Biology and Craniofacial Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29556463
3)Efficacy and safety of curcumin and its combination with Boswellic acid in osteoarthritis: a comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Haroyan A, BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jan 9;18(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29316908
4)Curcumin slows osteoarthritis progression and relieves osteoarthritis-associated pain symptoms in a post-traumatic osteoarthritis mouse model. Zhang Z, Res Ther 2016 Jun 3;18(1):128. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27260322
5) Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. James W. Daily, J Med Food. 2016 Aug 1; 19(8): 717–729. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003001/