Turmeric

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If you’re on the internet at all, you have probably seen many articles about the wonders of turmeric, or its active ingredient curcumin. So I’ve chosen to highlight it as my herb of the month.


Turmeric is an herb often found in Indian food. It’s been used as a natural yellow dye and gives curry powder it’s bright yellow hue. In fact, the color is stronger than the flavor. I don’t know how to describe the taste; it’s very subtle.


Primarily known as a pain reliever for arthritis and joint and muscle issues in general, turmeric has many other important health applications due to its anti-inflammatory properties.


Here are just some areas where curcumin can be beneficial as part of a holistic approach to health and disease control.


Depression

Alzheimer’s 

Bronchitis and Asthma

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Heart Disease

Cancer

Skin Diseases

Diabetes

… and more


As you can see, turmeric/curcumin has many health benefits. Additionally, this herb is considered safe and has no known drug interactions, although it  potentially slows blood clotting like aspirin does.


With the holiday season approaching, I want to focus on curcumin’s use for depression, a common struggle for many at this time of year. While children are running around joyfully during the holidays, it can be the worst time of year for others. Feelings of loss, loneliness and isolation intensify. There are many ways to help prevent and cope with depression, but one promising area is the use of curcumin.


Studies have been conducted on patients with depression, using curcumin either with or without prescription anti-depressants. There were no drug interactions, and most of the studies showed equal or slightly better effects of curcumin on depression over drugs… and with fewer side effects.


Depression has a number of biological causes, including low serotonin, low dopamine, HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) imbalances and inflammation. There are certain pathways that lead to these deficiencies and imbalances. Curcumin influences ALL of these pathways and has consequently been studied for its potential use as a natural approach to fighting depression. 


Curcumin is not absorbed well by the body, so it’s important to find a form that is well abosorbed, like BCM-95 curcumin. Dr. Adrian Lopresti has been studying this particular form of curcumin. His recent study used 500mg twice daily (1000mg/day) for 8 weeks (minimum) to obtain the best results in patients with depression. He hopes to start another trial using 1500mg a day. 


Although further tests should be undertaken, Dr. Lopresti feels that curcumin has so many other health benefits and so few side effects that there’s no harm in going ahead and adding it as part of an integrated approach to controling depression. 


According to MedMD, curcumin is rated Likely Safe, and they are usually very reluctant to say that about anything! It might cause stomach upset in some people, so Dr. Lopresti recommends that anyone with existing stomach or intestinal issues should start with one capsule a day rather than 2, and build up. As an anti-inflammatory it can reduce blood clotting, just like aspirin. So, keep that in mind if you’re taking other blood thinning meds.


For medicinal purposes, standardized extracts or BCM-95 work best, but in the meantime, enjoy cooking with turmeric and eating delicious Indian dishes that include it. See my recipe of the month, Indian Spiced Butternut Squash.


Find BCM-95 curcumin in Terry Naturally Curcumin and at a discount on Vitacost. Use this link to get to Vitacost and search for that product by name. 


Bobbi Mullins

November 2014


References:

Lemerond, T. Curcumin, The All-In-One Solution


Lopresti, A. Curcumin and Other Natural Treatments for Depression. http://www.terrytalksnutrition.com/webinars/


Stress, Depression and the Holidays. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544


Turmeric, Side Effects and Interactions. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-662-turmeric.aspx?activeingredientid=662&activeingredientname=turmeric

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™