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.
Turmeric is also used in other parts of the world such as China, Hawaii, Polynesia. In these countries, turmeric was used in a variety of ways such as medicine, food, or dye. That’s how versatile this spice is! Later, it would be available in Europe and they called it Indian saffron.
Turmeric is very diverse in the sense that it has can have 30 species depending on the country where it’s cultivated. In Thailand, there are around 30 to 40 species, while in India, there’s as many as 45 species! The key ingredient here is the curcumin found in turmeric.
What can turmeric treat?
A turmeric type juice may also be used to treat many skin conditions like eczema, scabies, shingles and chickenpox. Its antimicrobial property is what makes turmeric an effective home remedy. The active compound curcumin is known in the alternative health community and may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, antitumour, antifungal and antibacterial activities which points to the huge potential for clinical medicine. It is 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 may 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 may help reduce the activity of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme involved in the production of uric acid. The pain caused by gout may 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 closely associated with 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 that may help 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 may be controlled.
Aside from fighting inflammation, turmeric is showing some promising benefits for kidneys. This is especially important for patients who have poor functioning kidneys such as diabetics. If you have gout, you have to be paying special attention to your kidney health too since this is the organ responsible for excreting uric acid from your body. If you have poor kidney function, it’ll be harder to get rid of uric acid. More of it will accumulate in the body, putting you at higher risk for a gout attack.
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. I also make sure I have turmeric spice and supplements in stock. According to plenty of studies, it seems that it has a similar benefit as over-the-counter pain medications. So if ever you have a gout attack but don’t have access to NSAIDs right away, turmeric might just save you from the excruciating pain.
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.
It can be hard to utilize turmeric in the kitchen in the beginning. To really take advantage of this spice, look into Indian cuisine. It will show you the variety of ways you can use turmeric from savory dishes to sweet desserts. You can even make rice or pickle with it! Others will add turmeric to add color to certain products such as ice cream, yogurt, pop corn, sauces, and gelatin.
Another important thing to remember is that turmeric works best when consumed with pepper. Why? First, it’s important to understand how turmeric gets processed in the body. It gets filtered pretty quickly making it ineffective by itself. But with the piperine found in pepper, it can improve turmeric’s absorption by up to 2000%.
This is why in most turmeric supplements, you’ll also find that the ingredient next to it, curcumin is piperine. Make sure to check the label before you purchase turmeric in supplement. A good dosage is between 100 to 1000mg of curcumin per day.
It’s hard to overdose on turmeric. There has been no reported serious health risks to taking it in high amounts. You can start low if you want but you will get the most benefits from taking higher dosage. But try not to go over the recommended amount of 1000mg as you might experience a mild stomach upset.
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.
Turmeric can be an option for you if you’d like to avoid the unwanted side effects of certain NSAIDs. As always, make sure to contact your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to take since everybody’s health is different.
What has your experience been like consuming turmeric as a remedy for gout? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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.