Turmeric: A Natural Alternative to NSAIDs

Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and the most commonly purchased over the counter medications. Though NSAIDs are clinically known for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic action, studies are indicative of an estimated 16,500 deaths annually in the United States to causes related to NSAID complications.

Research has shown that turmeric has potent anti inflammatory influence and helps manage swelling as well as pain successfully; its powers as an anti-inflammatory drug are comparable to hydrocortisone.

Turmeric: Herbal Option to Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Estimates suggest that non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs are responsible for about 107,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States, however pharmaceutical companies continue to market the product and claim that it is safe for use. With recent research studies, turmeric has emerged as a strong herbal alternative.

Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and is not associated with any adverse effects, namely gastro-intestinal ulceration, intestinal bleedings or a drop in White Blood Cell count, as observed with the utilization of NSAIDs.

Further, turmeric is a potent anti-oxidant, which is effective in fighting free radicals and thereby prevents damage to healthy cells and helps avert the signs of aging.


Research Indicates Turmeric can help Prevents Cancer

A recent research study has shown that turmeric is associated with a reduced risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The cancerous tissue virtually stopped multiplying when the spice was added to malignant cells. The action of turmeric is attributed to cucurmin (the yellow pigment), which prevents the production of cytokines, the chemicals related to the growth of tumor and essential for multiplication. Furthermore, cucurmin was found to destroy the mutated cells in addition to preventing their growth and spread.

Another clinical trial conducted on 62 patients with skin or oral cancer not responding to standard measures showed that the consumption of turmeric for a period of 18 months reduced the size of the lesion significantly.

Researchers are optimistic that similar studies on the effect of turmeric on preventing other forms of cancers including prostate cancers, colon and stomach cancers, breast cancers and liver cancers would yield similar results.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

In addition to preventing the side effects associated with the use of NSAIDs, turmeric has several other benefits:

  1. As per a study report published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, an assessment of the effect of cucurmin on mice showed that it helped increase levels of serotonin and noradrenaline in the forntal cortex while reducing monoamine oxidase activity in the brain. These potent benefits can be indicative of the role of turmeric in treating depression.
  2. Additionally, turmeric is effective in the management of gastro-intestinal disturbances, abdominal pain, tooth pain and internal hemorrhage
  3. Turmeric has been found to be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of arthritis namely pain and stiffness in the joints and swelling of the joints.
  4. Cucurmin also promotes a healthy liver detoxification process and prevents formation of cancer causing nitrosamines.
  5. Local application of Turmeric on the skin is considered very useful to deal with skin infections including ringworms. Some experts recommend the use of the herb to deal with a host of other skin conditions including psoriasis, acne and dermatitis, though its effectiveness in such conditions is questionable.


How to use Turmeric for Health Benefits?

The average amount of the herb consumed in our diet ( approximately 2-3 grams) is usually not adequate for treating pain or preventing cancer. While, experts vary on the ideal dosage of turmeric to help alleviate pain, approximately 20 grams of the herb is considered adequate for potent action.

Some experts say that 2-3 grams of the active ingredient cucurmin is effective as a single dose of over the counter NSAIDs. Supplements containing cucurmin can be decidedly beneficial.

Turmeric may be ingested in the form of a paste by mixing it with honey which also has anti inflammatory properties). Alternatively, adding two tablespoons of the herb to cow's milk and consuming two to three times a day can be useful in dealing with joint pain and also helping in alleviating some of the symptoms associated with cancers.

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