Turmeric Benefits and Side Effects That You Should Know Of
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Since the ancient times, people used herbs to treat wounds, all kind of diseases, while the Ancient Egyptians used them to embalm their dead. It was discovered that they were already practicing orthopedic surgery at that time, so it would be wise to say that they knew a lot of medicine back then.
In time, medicine evolved and nowadays, even if there are a lot of chemicals and stuff made in labs, we are relying once again on plants and herbs. We will never give up using them because we know for sure, after a lot of studies and reviews, that these remain the only safe source of treatment.
Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a well-known main Indian spice that comes from the turmeric plant. The Turmeric spice is mostly used in the Asian food and it is a main spice in the Indian dish curry. Being one of the most powerful healing herbs in the world, the Turmeric medicinal properties are mostly based on fighting and also reversing diseases.
The Turmeric taste is warm and bitter and it is commonly used to color or flavor curry powders, butters, mustards, and cheeses. However, the Turmeric root is the one that has a lot of medicinal properties. The Turmeric root extract, the yellow colored chemical, is called curcumin and it also serves at coloring different cosmetics and foods.
There are many Turmeric uses besides its color. For example, Turmeric is good for arthritis, joint pain, heartburn or dyspepsia, stomach pain, bypass surgery, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, hemorrhage, intestinal gas, diarrhea, stomach bloating, jaundice, loss of appetite, liver problems, stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infection, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, high cholesterol, gallbladder disorders, the lichen planus skin condition, fatigue and skin inflammation caused by radiation treatment.
The Turmeric herbal remedy is also used for bronchitis, headaches, colds, fibromyalgia, lung infections, leprosy, menstrual problems, fever, itchy skin, cancers and recovery after surgery. Other important uses of Turmeric are for depression, swelling placed in the middle layer of one’s eye or anterior uveitis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, worms, water retention, the autoimmune disease of systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, urinary bladder inflammation, tuberculosis and kidney problems.
A number of people use Turmeric for pain and apply it on the skin also for ringworm, bruising, sprains and swellings, leech bites, acne, eye infections, skin sores and inflammatory skin conditions, infected wounds, soreness in the mouth and gum disease.
The Turmeric essential oil is known to be used in perfumes while the Turmeric resin represents the color and flavor component in foods. When you hear of these other properties, you may wonder how can Turmeric manage to treat diseases and have medical properties if it is a food colorant. You will be actually amazed at what it can do.
What Is Turmeric Used For?
Even if it is known to be a spice and it can be found in food as a flavor and color ingredient, the benefits of Turmeric do not stop at that point. It was proven, through a lot of studies, that the organic value of Turmeric can also be found in the medicinal properties it has and offers.
The amazing benefits of Turmeric go further into medicine to treat all kinds of diseases and problems, as mentioned above. Here is some detailed information about the medicinal properties of Turmeric:
- Possible positive effects of Turmeric for:
- High cholesterol – the research made says that if you take Turmeric extract orally twice per day for a period of 3 months, you will observe that the level of cholesterol was reduced, along with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL and also triglycerides that can be found in overweight people with high levels of cholesterol.
- Itching or pruritus – another research made suggests that one Turmeric extract dosage taken for 8 weeks three times per day can reduce the itching problems that appear along with long-term kidney diseases. Another interesting thing talks about the benefits of Turmeric curcumin mixed with long pepper or black pepper (the Sami Labs LTD C3 Complex) that can reduce the severity of the itching and also improve the quality of life for those that have mustard gas chronic itching, all of this by taking this mix for 4 weeks on a daily basis.
- Osteoarthritis – the Turmeric powder, taken alone or combined with other herbs for a period of 8 weeks and three times per day, can improve function and reduce pain for those people diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Some research papers state that Turmeric worked as well as ibuprofen to ease the pain, but it cannot be compared to the effect of diclofenac in the same situation.
- Possible positive effects of Turmeric for:
- Turmeric may or may not be effective for:
- Stomach ulcers – based on the Turmeric studies made, the possibility that a stomach ulcer can be treated with Turmeric or Turmeric powder is very low. If you take Turmeric three times per day for 8 weeks is kind of the same with a 6 weeks period with four doses per day of Turmeric powder.
- There is not sufficient evidence to sustain the use of Turmeric for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Eye inflammation or anterior uveitis
- Colorectal cancer
- Bypass surgery
- Skin wounds caused by cancer
- Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disease
- Dyspepsia or stomach upset
- Gum disease or gingivitis
- Stomach ulcers from Helicobacter pylori infection
- IBS or irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- Prostate cancer
- Inflammation of the esophagus or inside the mouth caused by radiation treatment
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Recovering from a surgery
- The inflammatory disease named systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE
- The inflammatory bowel disease named ulcerative colitis
- Gallbladder and liver problems
- Menstrual problems
- Bruising or other types of condition.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric Spice
There are 11 conditions with treatments in which Turmeric is a lot better than the known drugs:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs – the most powerful curcumin supplement benefits is the inflammation control ability. Curcumin supplements are mentioned between the most effective compounds with anti-inflammatory properties in the whole world. Inflammation can cause high cholesterol, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain and ulcerative colitis. One of the key benefits of daily Turmeric might actually be this property, to keep inflammation under control.
- Chemotherapy – there were some laboratory tests made on cancer cells that have proven once again the great effect that Turmeric can have on your health. It is able to kill those cancer cells and also prevent new ones from growing. Turmeric can interact well with bowel cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer cells. It seems that another study made in 2017 claims that curcumin might be able to break through the pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma or PDAC (a very bad form of pancreatic cancer) chemoresistance. In this case, patients usually react to chemotherapy until the resistance is settled. It seems that curcumin can resensitize the cancer cells of those patients to the necessary drugs.
- Antidepressants like Prozac – even if there are only a few studies conducted on humans, the last very important study showed that patients with bipolar disorder or manic depression, that were treated with both curcumin extract and fluoxetine (Prozac), reacted great at the curcumin treatment and that its effect was the same the effect of Prozac.
- Painkillers – Turmeric can be considered a painkiller in conditions like skin wound or diabetic neuropathies.
- Diabetes drugs like Metformin – curcumin manages to correct the causes of diabetes, but it can also reverse some issues related to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.
- Inflammatory bowel disease medicines – curcumin can offer help in gastrointestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and IBD or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Arthritis medications – because the Turmeric extract can reduce pain and has anti-inflammatory properties, there was a study made on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to see what are the differences between curcumin and Diclofenac sodium. The study was not so safe, people were put at risk of developing heart disease and leaky gut. However, the group that was treated only with curcumin showed the greatest signs of improvement and no side effects. The study was, in fact, a success.
- Cholesterol drugs like Lipitor – Turmeric curcumin can relieve the inflammation and oxidative stress from the high cholesterol treatment.
- Skincare – because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric can also treat a number of skin conditions through its ability to calm the pores and decrease acne scarring, speed up the healing of wounds and control psoriasis flares. However, do not use Turmeric on your skin before doing a patch test to see the reaction to it. It can stain your skin and you may be allergic to it.
- Steroids – Turmeric may be compared with steroids when it comes to inflammation and pain treatments. While steroid use can cause a lot of side effects, Turmeric does not.
- Obesity – the Turmeric curcumin can help you lose weight in a natural way.
What Are The Side Effects Of Turmeric?
Despite all the good stuff you can find about the advantages of Turmeric and the number of benefits of Turmeric for health, there are also some negative side effects to be taken into consideration:
- It can upset the stomach – even if the benefits of Turmeric root extract are known to be good for stomach conditions, a large amount of it can cause irritation. Even if Turmeric supports digestive health, there were some studies made that showed quite the opposite: some participant to a study for cancer treatment with Turmeric had to retire because their digestion was badly affected. The use of Turmeric powder makes the stomach to produce gastric acid is a large quantity and this can be a bad thing for some people. Turmeric can aggravate the gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- It can thin the blood – the Turmeric properties include a purifying one that can make you bleed easier than before. It is still unclear why this is the case, it can be due to other benefits of Turmeric extract such as lowered blood pressure or lowered cholesterol properties. If you are taking warfarin or Coumadin to thin your blood, you should not consume large doses of Turmeric. Keep in mind also the fact that if you have any type of surgery coming in the next few weeks, you should stop the Turmeric treatment with at least two weeks before it.
- It can stimulate contractions – it was already said that labour can be stimulated through some foods that are seasoned with curry. The clinical data that should back up such claim is not much, but having in mind that Turmeric can actually ease some of the PMS symptoms, this might be true, too. Turmeric tablets or any Turmeric supplement should not be taken if you are pregnant mostly because of the blood-thinning issue. However, a little Turmeric seasoning can be used in the food you eat.
- It can lower blood sugar – Turmeric use is not good if you are already taking diabetes medications. By lowering your blood sugar levels, Turmeric can cause hypoglycemia.
- It can aggravate the gallbladder condition – Turmeric is to be avoided in gallbladder cases because it can worsen things up. If you have a bile duct obstruction or gallstones, you should not consider using Turmeric powder or anything else related to Turmeric.
- It can aggravate hormone-sensitive conditions – these type of conditions, like uterine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis should not be treated with Turmeric. The Turmeric extract, the curcumin powder can act exactly like estrogen. The curcumin effects might make things worse than try to cure the diseases. However, some research mentions that the effects of Turmeric powder can be good for hormone-sensitive conditions, bug until this is proven, you should be really careful and read as much information about Turmeric as you can.
- It can prevent your body to absorb iron – if you are taking high amounts of Turmeric, then you should know that it can prevent the iron absorption and you should avoid it if you know you have an iron deficiency.
Even if there are many benefits of Turmeric supplements, it may be better to read all that you can find about Turmeric healing properties and the side effects of taking Turmeric so you know the whole story from the beginning.
Even if the effects of taking Turmeric can help you support your immune health, aid your digestion or relieve your pain, you should also be aware of the side effects and go see a specialist before deciding to take this kind of supplement.
There is a very important information that you should remember: do not take Turmeric pills along with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs because Turmeric already slows the blood clotting and this combination can offer you bleeding and bruising.
Here is a list of medications that can slow blood clotting: aspirin, diclofenac (Voltaren, others, Cataflam), clopidogrel (Plavix), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil etc.), dalteparin (Fragmin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox etc.), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin and others.
How Much Turmeric Can I Take?
The recommended doses are:
Adults – by mouth
- For itching (pruritus) – 8 weeks with three doses per day mean 1500 mg of Turmeric. Plus a mix of Turmeric and pepper supplements (long or black pepper) taken daily for a period of 4 weeks.
- For high cholesterol – 3 months with two doses per day mean 1.4 grams of Turmeric extract.
- For osteoarthritis – from 4 to 6 weeks with four doses per day mean 500 mg of non-commercial natural Turmeric. Plus a specific Turmeric extract called Turmacin and produced by Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd. that can be taken for 6 weeks with two doses daily and means 500 mg. There is also another specific Turmeric extract that can be offered (Meriva, Indena) in a dose of 500 mg and that contains phosphatidylcholine and Turmeric. This one can be used for 2 or 3 months with two doses per day.
Children – by mouth
- For high cholesterol – children that are at least 15 years old can take 1.4 grams of Turmeric extract for 3 months with two doses per day.
Once you have gathered all the information needed to understand the healing properties of Turmeric and also the side effects of Turmeric, you can start thinking if it is the right thing to take or not. You should read carefully the side effects part because if you take Turmeric along with other drugs it can cause severe health problems.
At the question “is Turmeric safe?” there are more answers. In general, it is safe, but you should read the recommendations carefully before you may start taking it. You are also advised to talk to a specialist because if you have certain medical conditions, Turmeric has to be avoided.
An overall conclusion is that the Indian spice Turmeric health benefits are considered more important than the side effects and it can be said to deliver a lot of health benefits. The side effects may appear when there are high doses administered and not all the time. The medical purposes of Turmeric are very important for the general health of a person when this supplement is taken in the right dose.