Turmeric as an Effective Alternative to Synthetic Medications
Turmeric has been used over the years for its medicinal benefits. The various claims made about it has led to numerous researches being conducted to determine their validity. Studies also identified which diseases it could treat and how effective it was when compared to synthetic drugs. As a result, the best turmeric supplement holds the claim of being the most scientifically researched drug with over 5000 research papers being written about it along with its benefits and uses in numerous treatments. These researches have not only validated the medicinal reputation but have also shown that turmeric is an effective alternative to synthetic medication working as good as them or even better. The biggest benefit of using turmeric as a medicine is the fact that it does not come with the many side effects like that of synthetic drugs.
Here is the number of instances where turmeric has been proved as an effective alternative to synthetic drugs:
1. Treatment of Vascular Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Treatment for vascular thrombosis primarily aims to slow and prevent blood clotting. The drugs used, include aspirin, diclofenac, warfarin and others. However, these drugs can easily lead to side effects like excessive bleeding, hemorrhage, and in special cases result in ibuprofen overdose. Unlike anticoagulants and antiplatelet, turmeric does not come with these results and has proven to be a better option for treating vascular thrombosis.
2. Treatment of Depression
The curcumin component in turmeric has been found to have an effective result in correcting depressing symptoms in laboratory animals. Given that, there was also a little research done on human beings, but the effectiveness of turmeric in solving depression in humans was not comprehensive. However, recent research by a medical journal Phytotherapy Research conducted the first study using 60 volunteers diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. The group was split to determine how patients treated by curcumin faired against those treated by Prozac, which is an antidepressant. It was discovered that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression. It provided the first clinical evidence that turmeric can be used as a safe therapy for treating patients with mild depression.
3. Treatment of Body Inflammation
The biggest advantage of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. These characteristics are the big reason why turmeric has been able to fight many diseases. Inflammation of body tissues and cells puts many people at risk of almost all diseases especially chronic ones. Using turmeric in the diet and as a supplement helps in preventing these diseases. Such diseases include high cholesterol, cancer, and arthritis. Curcumin is one among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds. It's found to be better than ibuprofen and aspirin. Turmeric’s major disease treatment process relies on its anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Arthritis Management
Turmeric has also proven to be very effective in fighting arthritis. It’s most effective in combating rheumatoid arthritis. When compared to arthritis drugs like diclofenac sodium, it has shown a higher percentage of improvement in the conditions of the patient both in pain and in general well being. It also has no adverse effects on the patient after treatment. Early studies indicate that turmeric is also active in the management of osteoarthritis.
5. Cancer Treatment
The effect of curcumin on various types of cancer is one of the most researched topics while covering the medicinal properties of turmeric. Many laboratory tests have shown that curcumin kills cancer cells and prevents them from growing. Among cancers, it has proved to have the best effects in cases of breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer. A 2007 study even established that when combined with chemotherapy, curcumin killed more cancer cells than with the use of chemotherapy alone. It has also been determined that curcumin can reduce tumor size and interfere with cancer development. It also blocks the formation of cancer-causing enzymes.
6. Diabetes Treatment
Turmeric has proven to be the most powerful natural treatment for lowering blood sugar levels and countering insulin resistance. In one study, it has been shown that turmeric is more potent than Metformin, which is a common diabetes drug. Curcumin improves insulin sensitivity which helps reverse Type 2 Diabetes. It also helps reverse hyperglycemia. Such conditions include diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. Curcumin can use its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to prevent diabetes from damaging blood vessels that can lead to blindness.
7. Gastrointestinal Treatment
Turmeric has been established to solve a broad range of stomach issues. These range from heartburns, irritative bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Treatment for this condition is usually done by corticosteroids. However, it has been found patients who use turmeric give up their medicines as their conditions significantly improve due to the action of curcumin. Corticosteroids have been found to have adverse side effects including tearing up of the mucosal lining and also causes drug intolerance. This usually makes the condition worse. On the contrary, the use of curcumin does not bring these side effects, and its anti-inflammatory properties help heal the gut and promote the growth of good bacteria also called probiotics.
8. Regulation of Body Cholesterol
One of the causes of many chronic illnesses is the high level of LDL or bad cholesterol. This is common among people with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Drugs used to bring cholesterol down like Lipitor have dangerous side effects like kidney and liver damage. They also fail to address the problem of oxidative stress which is caused by high blood sugar and damaged blood vessels. These are what bring about high LDL levels. Studies have shown that curcumin is as effective as or even better than diabetes medication in lowering oxidative stress and preventing blood vessel damage through inflammation. It also lowers cholesterol levels maintaining a balance between the bad and good cholesterol in the body.
9. Management of Pain
One of the widely established properties of turmeric is the management of pain. Curcumin naturally activates the opioid system which stimulates the body’s inherent pain-relieving response. Such pain includes burns, headaches, muscle injury, etc. Instead of relying on treatment by dangerous drugs, curcumin has shown to be an effective alternative natural painkiller.
10. Treatment of Psoriasis and Skin Conditions
Turmeric has proved to be an effective solution for managing the pain and inflammation caused by various skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Many of these conditions are treated by steroid drugs which easily result in side effects.
Maggie Martin is Ph.D. in Cell Biology graduate. She is very passionate about healthy living and has been writing about Food and Healthy Lifestyles. When she is not busy, she takes interest in a variety of things such as lifestyle, food, health, herbal medicine, and the benefits of turmeric. Follow her on Twitter