Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Touting the benefits of turmeric

"If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs,
I would without much hesitation choose Turmeric."

--Dr. David Frawley, Founder of the American Institute for Vedic Studies

I am in an awkward position. I really want to tell you about this amazing herb, but I'm not a doctor, pharmacist, scientist, researcher, or anything that resembles any of them. So I would never want anyone to take what I say about health benefits of something without doing some research themselves. I only know what works for me. Of course, everyone is different. But when I find something that so wonderfully improves the quality of my life, I just have to share it.

I have been suffering from EBVS (Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome) since I was sixteen-years-old. There are no cures, only treatments that may or may not help. Additionally, I developed fibromyalgia, a very painful condition which makes walking quite difficult, especially when combined with EBVS.

Years ago, I started taking St. John's Wort for my bi-polar disorder (I know...that's a lot of disorders -- did I mention diabetes and asthma as well?). Anyway, after awhile I noticed a big change in my EBVS symptoms. By accident, I discovered that St. John's Wort is often used, with success, to treat EBVS. Wonderful! A little herb that packs a powerful punch for two of my conditions. As far as the bi-polar goes, I recognize that I am blessed to be able to treat such a serious condition without medication.

A word of warning -- St. John's Wort should never be combined with an antidepressant (with a few exceptions), so do not start taking it without talking to your doctor first. In my case, I weaned myself off lithium and Prozac and waited two weeks before starting on the St. John's Wort. Like I said, I consider myself blessed that it works for me.

Well, when I sat down to write this, I had no intention of mentioning the St. John's Wort. Sorry I got sidetracked. Let's move on to the turmeric.

A few months ago I stopped by Right by Nature in downtown Pittsburgh and chatted with a woman working in the nutritional supplements section. I told her about my fibromyalgia and she immediately directed me to a product called Turmeric Formula by Organic India, telling me that people with fibro come in all the time to buy it. The ingredients in the formula are as follows:
  • Organic Turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa) 400mg
  • Turmeric Extract -- 95% curcumimoids 100mg
  • Organic Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) 50mg
The suggested dosage is one to two capsules with food and water two times a day.

I take two capsules once a day and, let me tell you, it is a miracle herb for me.

How do I know it is not just a coincidence? Well, I ran out of it and then had to go out of town. After a few days, I noticed the pain returning. After ten days, the pain was ridiculous. I took another trip downtown to Right by Nature and bought another bottle. And guess what? The pain is nearly gone again.

So this is my endorsement for this wonderful little herbal formula. However, do not even consider taking turmeric if you are pregnant, as it can cause uterine contractions.

You should avoid taking it for other reasons as well, such as if you have:
  • gallstones
  • bile obstruction
  • obstructive jaundice
  • unidentified congestive heart failure
  • toxic liver disorder
While you should always speak with your doctor before starting an herbal remedy, this is especially true if you are nursing, are trying to get pregnant, have a blood-clot disorder, or are on any type of medication.

Since the turmeric formula has worked well for my fibro, I decided to look into other benefits linked to it. The list is impressive and includes the following possible benefits:
  • Detoxifies the liver
  • Slows progress of multiple sclerosis (in mice, at least)
  • Boosts fat metabolism (yippee -- maybe I'll be skinny sometime in the next couple of decades!)
  • Kills pain naturally
  • Treats depression
  • As an anti-inflammatory, it lessens the severity of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eases symptoms of psoriasis and some other skin conditions
  • Removes the buildup of amyloyd plaque on the brain, thus slowing the progression, and possibly preventing Alzheimer's
Remember, all these things are just possibilities, but they are based on research and studies done throughout the world. Most remarkably, to me, is what turmeric is said to do in regards to cancer, including reducing the risk of childhood leukemia, restricting metastases in various forms of cancer, preventing melanoma and killing off existing melanoma cells, preventing the spread of cancer in the breast to the lung, stopping the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, and boosting the effects of the chemo drug, Paclitaxel, and limiting its side effects. And apparently, when combined with cauliflower (go figure!), turmeric has been known to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of the tumor in existing cases. Additionally, there are ongoing studies on the positive effects of this wonder spice on pancreatic cancer and on multiple myeloma!

Whether you decide to take turmeric in capsule form, like I do, or find new spice up your cooking with it, I strongly recommend adding it to your diet in one way or another (unless you fall in any of the avoid-taking-this categories listed above).

I am so glad someone directed me to this little bottle on the shelf. Merry Christmas to me!

Keeping it healthy,



  1. Turmeric is powerful stuff. I also find the capsules to be the most effective way to take it, but the paste is excellent for treating skin conditions. Thanks for these tips.

  2. Is it safe to take st.johns wort 900mg and 500mg tumeric?

    1. Thanks for your question. I am not a medical professional, so I can only answer based on my research and personal experience. In my opinion, yes, it is perfectly safe.


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