10 Reasons to Eat More Turmeric

Could the spice be better than some meds?
By Josh Axe, www.DrAxe.com
November 12, 2019 Updated: November 13, 2019

Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds—curcumin.

Turmeric Benefits Trump Medications

Although the list is much longer, we’ve selected 10 drugs that pale in comparison to turmeric in potentially reversing disease. As you read this report, keep in mind that one of the most powerful advantages curcumin has over the traditional medical approach is the lack of side effects.

1. Anti-Coagulants and Anti-Platelets 

 (Martin Gerten/AFP/Getty Images)
Taking anti-coagulants like aspirin can have side effects like excessive bleeding. (Martin Gerten/AFP/Getty Images)

Medical intervention generally includes the following medications to slow and prevent blood clotting:

  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Diclofenac
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others)
  • Naproxen
  • Warfarin (Coumadin), and others

Unfortunately, for people with conditions that are treated by these drugs (that is, deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), this approach may not always be the wisest decision. Ibuprofen overdose is one such common problem. In addition to common side effects like excessive bleeding and hemorrhage, the risks associated with anti-coagulants abound and include everything from back pain and headaches to difficulty breathing.

Turmeric, on the other hand, has no known side effects unless taken in extremely excessive amounts.

2. Antidepressants

Curcumin, the healing compound in tumeric, was found to have similar effects to Prozac in managing depression. (Microgen/Shutterstock)

Although few studies have been conducted on humans, dozens of research trials have proven that turmeric is especially effective in correcting depression symptoms in laboratory animals.

To address this issue, the journal Phytotherapy Research published the results of an amazing, innovative study in 2014. The study took 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression, and split the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin fared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two.

Not only was it discovered that all patients tolerated curcumin well, but they discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression.

3. Anti-Inflammatories

Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation.

The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin, is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

This news should have reached every household in the world after the study was conducted because inflammation puts people at risk for almost every disease process known to man.

Diseases today such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, high cholesterol, and chronic pain can be the result of inflammation.

4. Arthritis Management

(Suze777/iStock)
(Suze777/iStock)

Because curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing characteristics, a study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs (diclofenac sodium) that put people at risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.

According to the authors, “The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall DAS [Disease Activity Score] scores, and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.”

5. Cancer Treatment

Turmeric works incredibly well to help naturally treat cancer and is especially effective at treating breast cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer.

6. Diabetes Management

For lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance, there’s arguably no better natural treatment than adding turmeric into your diet.

In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study out of Auburn University that explored how supplementing with turmeric can help reverse diabetes.

The study discovered that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating AMPK, which improves insulin sensitivity and can thus help reverse Type 2 diabetes.

7. Gastrointestinal Treatments

An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis) found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin.

8. Cholesterol Regulators

Clogged artery with platelets and cholesterol plaque. (Ralwel/Shutterstock)

A study done by Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was equal to or more effective than diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol.

Studies like these are causing pharmaceutical companies to try and design a synthetic form of curcumin which, unfortunately, will not work as well as the real thing.

9. Painkillers

(photog/Shutterstock)
(photog/Shutterstock)

One of the more widely accepted properties of curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain.

Therapeutic use of turmeric and other curcumin-rich plants is displacing conventional medical treatments and proving these plants are legitimate natural painkillers.

10. Steroids

Lastly, we’ll take a look at how turmeric benefits the many conditions normally treated by corticosteroids:

  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic pain              

In a 1999 breakthrough clinical study, it was found that curcumin has the ability to cure chronic inflammation of the eye.  Typically this condition was treated only with steroids, but today it’s common for medical doctors who practice functional medicine to prescribe curcumin instead.

What cannot be overstated, however, is that although statistically “comparable” to steroids in managing and reversing chronic disease, “the lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids,” according to the authors in the above study out of K.G. Medical College.

Turmeric Side Effects

(Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock)
Turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin, clopidogrel, and warfarin (Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock)

Some people have reported 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 the following:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
  • Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
  • Uterine contractions in pregnant women
  • Increased menstrual flow

People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it. Turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin, clopidogrel, and warfarin. It can also affect medications such as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. As with any herb or supplement, use as directed.

If you’re in the position where you must be on prescription medications, don’t discount the need to include ample amounts of fresh, organic turmeric into your diets because it will help reduce the adverse effects of the medicine.

A study that was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology describes how combining curcumin with prednisolone (a steroid) effectively reduces the side effects of this dangerous medication.

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt and “Gut Repair Cookbook,” and he operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites at DrAxe.com

 

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