Turmeric is an herb that is used heavily in India as one of the milder spices in their curry blend. It is a relative of the ginger plant and as with the ginger plant the tuberous root is the part of the plant used in herbal medicine. Peeling the root will expose the beautiful, fibrous, orange, fleshy center.
I use a simple tincture of Turmeric anytime an anti-inflammatory is in order. It has been proven that curcumin; a compound abundant in Turmeric is just as effective as cortisone in treating most types of inflammation. Turmeric, on the other hand doesn’t have the undesirable side effects that cortisone does, like vision trouble, rapid weight gain, sever depression or dangerously high blood pressure. The draw back is that you have to administer it 3 times daily. I think you would agree that that is a small inconvenience compared to the nasty side effects of cortisone.
Turmeric was an important part of the famous cancer recovery of Vicky Stewart from Britain. Like many breast cancer patients, Vicky Stewart was concerned about the side effects of the drug Tamoxifen, which she was told she had to take after surgery. She decided to forgo the Tamoxifen and in its place she added plenty of turmeric to her diet in the form of a smoothie with frozen berries. She cut out meat and dairy and added an exercise régime. In her research she asserted that the curcumin in turmeric caused the cancer cells to self-destruct; a process known as apoptosis.
Perhaps Vicky was instrumental drawing the attention from the medical community to this herb, for now there are studies to determine turmeric’s anti-canter effects. Even the American Cancer Society has a page about Turmeric on it’s website.
Turmeric has been revealed to reduce gallstones. The curcumin in Turmeric increases the solubility of bile, which prevents the formation of gallstones as well as dissolving existing stones. In one study, mice with gallstones were placed on a diet containing a modest amount of curcumin. After five weeks their gallstone volume had dropped by 45%; after 10 weeks 80% had fewer gallstones that the untreated mice.
It is certainly worth finding a good source of fresh or dried turmeric root and adding it to your diet because the health benefits are immense.
I use turmeric as an anti-inflammatory in my herbal tincture Fem Fit
for reducing fibroid tumors.
On a personal note…Last year I was having a problem in my left shoulder. When I extended my arm to the level of my shoulder I experienced a feeling like an electrical shock. For five or ten minutes after that dreadful sensation my left arm had no strength and felt limp. I soon learned to avoid this motion and it’s unpleasant result. However when it got to the point that I couldn’t raise my arm properly to shave my underarm, I decided to see the orthopedic doctor who took such good care of my husband in 2008 after his motorcycle accident.
He discovered that I had a nerve impingement in my shoulder. He explained the structural cause to me as a calcification that was pinching a nerve. He likened it to catching your fingers in the hinge of a door. It made sense to me in regard to the physical sensation that I was experiencing.
He said that he would prescribe a steroidal anti-inflammatory for me for about 6-8 weeks to bring down the swelling and in turn relieve the shocking pain. I thanked him for his diagnosis and explained that I don’t take steroidal medicine as I already have an autoimmune disorder (Alopecia Totalis). It has been under control since 1995 with the use of herbs and also by avoiding such immune damaging substances such as steroids. I was in no way going to risk losing all my hair again.
He, being a very open minded physician (and knowing that I am an herbalist) asked what I planned to do. I told him that there are many fine anti-inflammatory herbs, but the one I will probably use is called turmeric. It works every bit as well as cortisone and NSAIDs without the unpleasant side effects and withdrawal reactions. In fact the side effects of turmeric are tumor prevention, anti-carcinogen, liver detoxification, clearing of the skin, and gallstone prevention/reduction.
After about four weeks of taking turmeric I was able to start using a five pound weight to restore the atrophy that was visible in my left arm due to lack of use. The weigh therapy not only restored my muscle tone but I’d also felt a “clicking” in my shoulder where the impingement was. Little by little it wore away the calcification that caused the impingement.
Now my shoulder is totally back to normal with full range of motion and no pain. I have learned to trust my instincts when it comes to natural medicine. It may not always be the right choice but for most chronic conditions I find it is. When you find an herb that treats your condition and doesn’t carry the toxicity of pharmaceuticals, that’s a win/win situation.
Love and Light, Lori Jacobs