Turmeric for inflammation
Turmeric also called poor saffron or long-life spice, powdered turmeric is a spice that is part of the composition of curry, derived from the rhizome of a large perennial herb of the Zingiberaceae family. It has multiple virtues for health, but mainly supposed anti-inflammatory virtues, thanks to its active principle: curcumin!
Let’s see together if turmeric is truly an anti-inflammatory that lives up to its reputation, and how to use it to take advantage of its benefits.
The composition of the turmeric rhizome
The part used in phytotherapy is the rhizome of the plant, the underground part of turmeric, a kind of orange-coloured root. Among its composition, we find:
Essential oils (0.3% to 5%): sesquiterpene ketones, zingiberene, phellandrene, sabinene, cineole, borneol, etc.
Curcuminoids (3% to 6%): the plant’s yellow polyphenolic pigments, it is the main active ingredient in turmeric, also known as diarylheptanoids.
They include curcumin (diferuloylmethane), desmethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and dihydro curcumin.
Steroids: campesterol (with anti-inflammatory properties), stigmasterol, etc.
Monoterpenes: cineole, camphene, terpinene, etc.
Phenylpropanoids: caffeic acid, p-cumaric acid, 4-hydroxy cinnamoylmethane.
Bulk: lignans, benzenoids, carbohydrates, alkaloids, etc.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric
How does turmeric work?
Let’s answer the question right away: is turmeric a powerful natural anti-inflammatory? Yes. It is even one of the five most antioxidant plants in the world.
No need to keep the suspense, among all the benefits of turmeric, the most important property of the yellow spice is its ability to decrease inflammation, which is why turmeric is consumed as a major natural remedy since the time immemorial.
The advantage of turmeric is that it is called a “systemic anti-inflammatory”, that is to say, that it acts in the system as a whole, ie throughout the body, to calm the ‘inflammation.
Indeed, it helps reduce inflammation, whatever it is and wherever it is, thanks to some of its constituents having the ability to go to places where few substances manage to penetrate. For example, curcumin can penetrate the cerebral environment, protected by an almost waterproof blood-brain barrier, allowing very few substances to pass through.
Some studies on the subject
Studies carried out on the spice curcuminoids have shown that curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and cortisone, acting on pain, mediators of inflammation and on morning joint stiffness, all without unwanted side effects like irritation of the digestive tract. Indeed, curcumin would act by inhibiting an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins.
Comparative studies have shown that 1,200 mg of curcumin per day is as effective as phenylbutazone, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. In another study, 2 g of turmeric per day for 6 weeks had effects comparable to 800 mg of ibuprofen per day in patients with osteoarthritis.
In vitro and animal, trials have shown very good results for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and pancreatitis. Some studies in humans are underway and already give very encouraging positive results.
Numerous studies aimed at studying the action of turmeric on inflammation of the intestines, particularly ulcerative colitis, have shown that 1 g of curcumin 2 times a day, combined with the usual treatment, either of sulfasalazine or melamine, has significantly reduced the number of acute attacks and the clinical manifestations of the disease during the 6 months of the study. A preliminary trial on Crohn’s disease showed the same positive effects.
Other benefits of turmeric
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric do not act alone, but in synergy with the many benefits of turmeric which bring so much benefit to the body, let us quote in bulk (non-exhaustive list):
Major antioxidant: systemic antioxidant, which protects all of our cells against attack by free radicals.
Protective action against radiation
What can the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric relieve?
The anti-inflammatory action coupled with the antioxidant action of curcumin, allows turmeric to have a beneficial action on degenerative diseases and makes it a major plant for these ailments:
Chronic inflammatory diseases
Cardiovascular diseases: Angina pectoris, Atherosclerosis, infarction, etc.
Neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, etc.
Cancer (see turmeric for cancer )
Whether auto-inflammatory, systemic and localized autoimmune diseases, or inflammatory conditions of undetermined origin, regular consumption of turmeric helps relieve the symptoms and pain associated with inflammation.
A common point in the appearance of these diseases is the association of a deficit of antioxidants in the body and a low-grade, or low-level inflammation, causing invisible damage for a whole duration until the evil so.
Among the common inflammations, turmeric will have an action on:
Joint, muscle or tendon inflammations (see turmeric for osteoarthritis ): arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, tendonitis, lumbago, etc.
Nerve inflammation: inflammation of the myelin layer, as in multiple sclerosis.
Inflammations of the digestive mucous membranes: mouth (chronic aphthous), oesophagus (esophagitis), stomach and duodenum (gastric or duodenal ulcer), intestine (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis).
Cerebral inflammations: loss of cognitive capacities, Alzheimer’s disease.
Skin inflammations: eczema, psoriasis, yeast infections, abscess, folliculitis, boils, etc.
Other inflammations: pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart), endometriosis, diabetes, etc.
Without curing its ailments which can prove to be very serious, turmeric can at least allow accompanying, relieve,
How to consume turmeric?
For anti-inflammatory action, we often target curcuminoids, a family of active components of turmeric, of which curcumin is one, powerful anti-inflammatories.
It is absolutely correct, but that would forget the notion of the total. These are all the constituents of the plant, several hundred for turmeric. Then comes the notion of synergy: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, a fundamental principle stated by Ibn Sïna (Avicenna).
Basically, the consumption of turmeric as a whole is better than the consumption of “pure” curcumin, because curcumin interacts with the other components of the plant. Besides, experts in Indian Ayurvedic medicine advise using the simple form of turmeric, the one used for thousands of years and which has proven itself.
In what form of the blow?
There are two main cases:
Combating acute inflammation
Depending on the scenario in which you are, it will be necessary to favour:
Prevention: turmeric powder or fresh rhizome
Acute inflammation: turmeric powder and standardized and concentrated products with 95% curcuminoids, effective, but very expensive.
My advice: use turmeric powder, but of quality, that is to say with a curcumin rate higher than 4%, like the turmeric powder that we sell on the spice island. It is less expensive than the other products and complete (see the previous paragraph on the concept of total).
On the Spice Island, we have selected for you the best quality of turmeric longa, with a curcumin level higher than 4%, in powder or root, at the best price:
How to take turmeric powder?
The use of turmeric powder can be done in many forms, which we detailed in our article on how to use turmeric, with different uses, tips and tricks.
To summarize: whether in the kitchen, in infusion, with honey, it is important to add pepper or a fatty substance (oil, butter, etc.) in order to increase the bioavailability of turmeric, i.e. -to say the absorption of curcuminoids through the intestinal mucosa. The only exception: intestinal inflammation, where it is preferred to keep turmeric in the intestines, and where pepper could worsen the inflammation.
For the turmeric and pepper dosage, use the 9: 1 dosage, i.e. 9 doses of turmeric for one dose of pepper. It is possible to add another anti-inflammatory spice, such as ginger or cinnamon, in this case, use the 9: 5: 1 dosage, i.e. 9 doses of turmeric, 5 of the other spice, and 1 of pepper.
However, if the flavour of turmeric bothers you, you can put your powder in neutral capsules available in pharmacies and para-pharmacies.
NB: turmeric can be used externally against inflammations of the skin for example, it is then generally applied as a poultice.
There is no exact dosage set, but here is the advice is generally given in Ayurvedic medicine:
Prevention: no precise dosage, you must consume turmeric regularly.
Acute inflammation: 1 teaspoonful of turmeric powder (about 4 g), 2 to 3 times a day, or a daily dose between 10 and 12 g. For the 9: 5: 1 mixture, 8 to 10 g per day are generally recommended.
The duration of the treatment is very variable, generally until the inflammation subsides, but you can, in high doses, make a fairly long course of turmeric, up to 3 months, followed by a break.
Precaution before taking turmeric
Like all-natural products, it is advisable to take precautions and to consult the contraindications of turmeric, because there are cases where it is not necessary to consume turmeric, or under supervision.
There is not really an overdose of turmeric, even at high doses, it is not toxic. However, even if there are no categorical studies on this subject, precautions should be taken in the following cases:
Turmeric may interact with certain medications. It could increase the effect of anticoagulants, antidiabetic treatments, or antacid treatments.
Turmeric should be consumed with caution in cases of gallbladder disorders. It is often not recommended, always as a precaution, to consume too much turmeric for pregnant and breastfeeding women.