As you know, turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is a common spice used in Indian food. It is worth mentioning that it is more than just a spice. In fact, in Asia it has long been used in herbal remedies for pain relief and inflammation. So, can turmeric really reduce inflammation?
According to a study published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, natural curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, has 2.33 times higher antioxidant properties, 1.6 times higher vitamin E content, and 2.75 times higher vitamin C content than bioflavonoids. And it helps treat a variety of diseases that include pain, inflammation and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So, it is a good idea to incorporate this nature’s powerful healer into your diet especially when you suffer from menstrual cramps, inflammation, sore joins, and the like.
Turmeric has been used as an herb in both Ayurveda medicine and Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years. But more people get to know it by Indian curries since it is the main component. In recent years, turmeric supplements become more popular because modern medical studies have proven that this spice has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
As mentioned above, Ayurveda uses this herb for joint pain and topical wounds because it has anti-inflammatory effect. And now this property is supported by medical research too. One animal study conducted in 2006 found that curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, could be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor. And curcumin can reduce swelling in various ways, such as reducing the quantity of histamine inside the body and promoting anti-inflammatory activity of cortisol. By the way, both cortisol and histamine are substances that can help control inflammatory conditions.
Randomized controlled trials in rheumatoid arthritis patients, published in Phytotherapy Research in 2012, also confirmed that daily taking 500 milligrams of turmeric could effectively reduce swelling and inflammation in knee and improve rheumatoid arthritis. Good news is that it works better than diclofenac in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, it helps ease the pain related to arthritis. Another study on osteoarthritis conducted in the University of Cambridge also found that curcumin has a similar effect of non-steroidal analgesics (NSAID) and, more importantly, it causes no side effects.
There is no denying that a lot of painkillers have side effects especially in long-term use. But adding turmeric to the diet can help the patient to reduce the dose of painkillers because it not only reduces inflammation, but also eases the pain caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
It should be noted that taking too many turmeric capsules may lead to ulcers, nausea, flatulence, indigestion, and stomach pain. Some individuals may be allergic to this spice too. Besides, because it may still interact pharmacologically with blood thinners, diabetes drugs and medication used to reduce stomach acid, cause menstruation and miscarriage in women, and increase the risk of kidney stones in some people, it is best to consult a doctor before the taking, just to be safe.
When it comes to how much turmeric to reduce inflammation, it’s important to first know the difference between the fresh root and dried powder. In general, one inch of fresh root is equivalent to a spoon of chopped one or a teaspoon of powder. As a great spice for cooking, turmeric can be used in many dishes to add unique flavor. Besides, you can also make sherbet by combining it with your favorite fruits to increase your antioxidant intake.