Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Turmeric & Curcumin: Natural Remedy in Ayurveda


Curcumin or Curcuminoids is one of the best natural remedies for inflammation and pain relief. It doesn’t have side effects and relieves arthritic conditions, joints and muscle pain, stiffness and swelling naturally.

These are polyphenolic compounds and are derived from Turmeric or Curcuma longa. Turmeric is often regarded as golden spice, herbal gold or powdered gold because of its similarities with bright yellow color of gold and it definitely possess thousand times more healing properties as a natural remedy for pain relief and inflammation.

By: Arjun (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

Turmeric in Ayurveda:

In another article, I wrote about how modern herbal research was able to put Boswellia in its true place among one of the best herbs for natural inflammation and pain relief. The same is true for Curcuma longa but to a lesser degree.

Haridra or Curcuma longa is one of the most widely used herbs in Ayurveda. Indians call it Haldi. Ancient sages realized its healing potential and made it an essential addition Indian and Ayurvedic Cooking. In India, you will seldom find any person who has not consumed Haldi in diet in any given day unless he or she is fasting.

I think that this might be one of reasons why it is given somewhat less importance in herbal remedies because its daily consumption in various preparations had started thousands of years ago.

Traditionally, Haldi is used in the form of Golden Milk preparation. This use of Turmeric as herbal home remedy for pain and inflammation is widespread in India. Every grandma suggests its use in this manner when there is pain, when there is some injury. You can find more information about this use in my online health and wellness coaching program – Golden Nuggets of Ayurveda in Ayurveda Wellness Club.

Curcumionoids in Turmeric:

Turmeric has more than one hundred biologically active phytochemicals or phytonutrients. The best known group among them is Curcuminoids. Gradually newer and newer related compounds are being discovered. So in normal usage, curcumin and curcuminoids are interchangeably used, but they are not same.

Usually available supplements contain a mixture of related polyphenols and they are collectively referred to as Curcuminoids. These have a diverse range of health benefits including inhibition of cancer related cell proliferation and reduction of amyloid plaque formation associated with Alzheimer disease.1,5,10

Commercially available preparations are a mixture of three compounds – curcumin (I), demethoxycurcumin (II) and bis-demethoxycurcumin (III) and they are available in various specifications of 20%, 65% and 95% standardization. 95% standardized version is the most common form sold in dietary supplements.

The Important Aspects of Curcumin:

Unfortunately, their solubility in aqueous solutions is exceedingly low. This restricts their absorption and availability in blood after oral preparation and limits their beneficial effect. Even some clinical studies make use of it after dissolving in human serum for intravenous use.

However, you will appreciate the marvel of Ancient sages of Ayurveda to suggest use of Turmeric powder will meals. In Ayurveda cooking, Haldi powder is used in frying it with other spices in Oil or Ghee (Clarified butter).

Ten years back, I was surprised why it is so. But not anymore!

Now you could see that use of Haldi powder in Ayurvedic cooking is just scientific and ensures better absorption of beneficial phyonutrients. Even Golden milk preparation ensures that your body get both water and fat soluble elements from Turmeric.

Studies prove the synergistic benefit of using various curcuminoids together instead of using only one of them. And it is fulfilled when you use turmeric as herbal home remedy or use a preparation that contains natural form of its extract.

Turmeric powder contains only small percentage of they polyphenolic compounds that are sufficient for its culinary use as herbal home remedy. However, its 95% standardized extract is better alternative when you want to use it as natural remedy for inflammation and pain relief.

Is Turmeric a Natural Remedy for Inflammation?

Its anti-inflammatory property is widely studied. The anti-inflammatory activity is not limited to only one chemical. It also helps in underlying causes of inflammation.

Many researches demonstrate that they act on Pro-Inflammatory substances – on Nitric Oxide and COX-2 as their scavenger – and thus helps in prevention or manifestation of inflammatory changes.

Clinical studies show it to be as effectively working as Cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is found to have same anti-inflammatory effects as NSAIDs or Painkiller drugs but without side effects.1,2,3,4

Overall, they suppress markers of inflammation and positive effect on a particular body part as well as whole body.7

Curcuminoids for Pain and Arthritis:

These are able to relieve pain and inflammation by inhibiting Arachdonic Acid cascade through two pathways –  lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways. It helps to relieve pain. Its pain relieving activity through COX inhibition is comparable with Indomethacin drug.4,5

In another study, patients with Rheumatoid arthritis got definite improvement by taking it (1200 mg per day) over Cortisone and Phenylbutazone. It was found better tolerated without much side effects in relieving morning stiffness and joints swelling and improved walking time.It is also found to help reduce degradation of cartilage. 6,7,13

Is Curcuminoids among Best Natural Remedies for Inflammation and Pain Relief?

The answer is definitely Yes.

You can’t gauge its benefits in the same way as you do with pain killer drugs. Still, it gives some relief and it starts within a few days. You will start to get its benefit in in short term (few days or 2 weeks) and they gradually build up mid term (few months) duration.

However, it is suggested to continue its use even after you get some relief in pain or inflammation. As mentioned above, herbs have more than one benefit. Turmeric also acts on joints and muscle health in more than one way. Let it do its work for some.

So if you have acute pain and you need to subside it with urgency, it is better to take pain killer drugs. It will give you prompt relief.

If you have chronic pain, there are two options for using it. You can take it alone or with other herbs. Or you can continue it with you pain relieving drugs, of course after discussing with you doctor or health care provider.

How much of it should I take for Natural Pain Relief?

It is taken as 95% standardized extract in dietary supplements. You can take 200 mg to 400 mg once or twice a day. It is better to take it after meals and to have some interval between this herb and other medication. Don’t forget to check the label of the supplement for serving size and Supplements Fact. Companies can have different specifications of its extract and then, the suggested serving could change.

Can I combine it with Other Natural Remedies for Inflammation and Pain Relief?

It is better to use a combination of herbs wisely. However, it is not a good practice to combine herbs yourself without proper research and study.

Is it safe to use it?

Recent human clinical trials found no toxicity and no adverse side effects in curcumin when given at doses of 8,000 milligrams per day for three months.8

Yes, it is perfectly safe for most individuals. Few people who are prone to hyperacidity or stomach upset might feel these digestive upset especially if they use Curcuminoids empty stomach.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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