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The Golden Spice - Turmeric

The spice of old, the cure for many, the talk of the month and centuries past.

So what is it about Turmeric that stirs us to partake it daily...?

It's an age old remedy that many know about.  But how much is enough?  So what does it do?  Will it help you?

There are many sides to the story, so firstly let's have a look at eastern medicine.

Besides flavouring foods, to purify the blood and skin conditions remedy is probably the most common use of Turmeric especially in Ayurvedic medicine.  It is also an antioxidant and Ayurveda recognizes turmeric as a heating spice, contributing bitter, pungent and astringent tastes.

  • The main organs that turmeric treats are the skin, heart, liver and lungs.
  • Turmeric is used for epilepsy and bleeding disorders, skin diseases, to purify the body-mind, and to help the lungs expel Kapha.
  • Activities of Turmeric include: Alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardiovascular, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary.
  • Therapeutic uses of Turmeric: Anemia, cancer, diabetes, digestion, food poisoning, gallstones, indigestion, IBS, parasites, poor circulation, staph infections, and wounds.
  • Turmeric helps to regulate the female reproductive system and purifies the uterus and breast milk, and in men it purifies and builds semen, which is counterintuitive for a pungent bitter.
  • Turmeric reduces fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems in general.
  • Turmeric is used to treat external ulcers that respond to nothing else. Turmeric decreases Kapha and so is used to remove mucus in the throat, watery discharges like leucorrhea, and any pus in the eyes, ears, or in wounds, etc.
  • In Ayurvedic cooking, turmeric is everywhere, this multifaceted wonder spice helps
    • Detoxify the liver
    • Balance cholesterol levels
    • Fight allergies
    • Stimulate digestion
    • Boost immunity
    • Enhance the complexion

For those who are more western medicine inclined, let's look at their viewpoint.

Standard doses are generally between 400mg to 600mg three times a day.

The University of Maryland Medical Center notes the following typically recommended daily doses for other forms of turmeric: cut root: 1.5 to 3 g; dried, powdered root: 1 g to 3 g; fluid extract: 30 to 90 drops; tincture: 15 to 30 drops four times a day.

Doses for Specific Conditions

The following daily doses of standardized turmeric supplements were used in scientific studies, according to MedlinePlus and the University of Michigan Health System: dyspepsia: 500 mg four times a day; rheumatoid arthritis: 400 mg three times a day; Crohn’s disease: 360 mg three times a day; low back pain: 400 mg to 600 mg three times a day; HIV/AIDS: 1 g three times a day; ulcerative colitis: 550 mg three times a day.

However, it does have contraindications and is not recommended when anaemia is present.  Its potential to stimulate menstrual bleeding and uterine contractions could prove dangerous during pregnancy.

James Duke discusses contra-indications for turmeric in his book Dr. Duke's Essential Herbs.  "I once throught it hard to imagine that anyone would eat enough turmeric to experience significant side effects, but I've since heard from one cancer survivor who had trouble taking it in food and finds the standardized capsules much easier."  There are some suggestions in medical literature that people with gastrointestinal problems such as gallstones, stomach ulcers, hyperacidity, or bile duct obstructions shouldn't eat large amounts of turmeric, although I suspect these cautions may have been overstated.  The German E Commission (a panel of experts roughly equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has advised against turmeric only for those people with biliary obstruction.  Apart from this, there's some evidence that having too much turmeric may cause stomach irritation in people who are sensitive to it.  The irritation may be merely annoying, or it could lead to ulcers in supersensitive people. Eating very large amounts of turmeric could potentially damage white and red blood cells.  As a practical matter, however, there is little likelihood that anyone would ever ingest enough to make this happen."

Other Considerations for Use

If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully while using turmeric supplements.  It might lower blood sugar levels.  To avoid hypoglycaemia, you might require dosage reductions in insulin or other medications to compensate for the effects.  If you have impaired kidney function, it is particularly important to consult with your doctor about using natural supplements and the appropriate doses.  Turmeric has demonstrated anticoagulant properties.  It could increase the risk of bleeding if you take warfarin or other blood-thinning drugs.  Do not combine turmeric with these medications without medical supervision.  Stop taking this supplement at least 14 days before a planned surgical procedure.  Using turmeric along with medications that reduce stomach acid might reduce their effectiveness.

As you can see there are many schools of thought - I will leave it up to you to peruse - if you need further assistance contact me - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Yours in Health and Happiness

Sandy Sig

Sandy B.

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