The healing power of this ancient spice
Turmeric has been gaining popularity in the last few years as a home remedy for gout and is considered by many as a super-food. Turmeric is an herb that belongs in the ginger family. India has been using turmeric since 1900 BC, about 4000 years now, to treat stomach, liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores, wounds, sprains, aches, pains etc… Ayurveda, which consists of Indian traditional medicine, has recommended turmeric in food for its potential medicinal value. In fact, India is the largest producer and user of turmeric in the world.
What can turmeric treat?
A turmeric type juice is also used to treat many skin conditions like eczema, scabies, shingles and chicken pox. Its’ antimicrobial property is what makes turmeric an effective home remedy. The active compound curcumin is known to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, antitumour, antifungal and antibacterial activities which points to the huge potential for clinical medicine. It also used in Chinese medicine, to treat a wide assortment of infections and is used as an antiseptic. Curcumin has been a centre of attraction for potential treatment of an array of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, allergies, arthritis and other chronic illnesses. Since gout is a type of arthritis, turmeric could be used to treat this condition too! Remember that symptoms of gout are said to be closely related to rheumatoid arthritis.
Where does it grow?
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia including Africa and is a widely used spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient and let’s not forget Indian food, chicken curry being one of my favourite dishes.
What is the evidence in regards to gout?
A study done in China and published in 2009 (Insights into the inhibition of xanthine oxidase by curcumin) states that turmeric has been shown to inhibit chronic inflammation, so it may help gout suffers because it can reduce the activity of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme involved in the production of uric acid. The pain caused by gout can be relieved. This is the same action that allows allopurinol, Uloric (febuxostat) and similar drugs to lower uric acid. Studies examining the role of turmeric in the treatment of gout are lacking but more research has been done with turmeric and rheumatoid arthritis which is a cousin of gout. This opens the door to more research into commercial products that hopefully will soon be available to gout sufferers.
In another study, 107 patients with osteoarthritis were given 800mg Ibuprofen or extracts of turmeric of 2 grams daily for 6 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, both groups of patients suffered from less pain when walking or climbing stairs. I’d rather choose turmeric over ibuprofen too, way better on the stomach. So curcumin is a safe and efficient way to treat gout and/or tophi by easing the pain and swelling since curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
A 2006 study UA College of Medicine done on mice, found that turmeric is able to slow down rheumatoid arthritis and in another study completed by the University of Arizona, the mice were induced with rheumatoid arthritis and then given turmeric, showed that this treatment reduced swelling and inflammation of the mice’s joints. Curcumin inhibits the production of prostaglandins which are related to pain. Turmeric can also help the adrenal gland produce greater levels of cortisone and this can relieve inflammation in gout. By lowering inflammation and oxidative stress, uric acid gets lowered.
How can I consume turmeric?
Turmeric can be taken in powder, tea, capsules or even tablets. You can take 300 mg to 600 mg of a standardized extract of turmeric 3 times daily to reduce gout pain or inflammation. You will also find turmeric root inside my proprietary blend dietary supplement NutriGout! Turmeric is safe for most people but do consult your doctor before use making sure there are no bad interactions with any prescribed drugs that you may be using.
Turmeric can be purchased in health food stores, Wal-Mart and of course online, Amazon always has great prices! You can blend it in pineapple juice which includes bromelain which aids in absorption and also has a anti-inflammatory effect. Honestly, I simply add a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a tall glass of water and just drink it that way.
I personally don’t find it has a bitter taste; it just gets swallowed up in every gulp I take. I do drink it often, almost daily after a workout to get my joints going again. Don’t forget that the powder can be used in your cooking or do what I do and simply eat at an Indian restaurant in your area from time to time. You can easily find recipes online and start incorporating turmeric into your diet.
Do not take turmeric if you have gallbladder disease or if you require surgery since turmeric has blood thinning properties and is not to be used by pregnant women or women that are breastfeeding.
1. Nagpal M, Sood S (2013). “Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview”. J Nat Sci Biol Med 4 (1): 3–7.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris