I felt my sabbatical from blogging was like two best friends just drifted apart without any apparent reason. Life commitments took priority in the past few months but true passions always have a way to beckon you back to its folds
Then the Pandemic happened and it continues to dare and humble us. Professional expertise of physicians, researchers, immunologists have fallen off the rails and to date, we have not found a foolproof treatment plan for this menace.
Healthy people with a better immune system tend to fare better in the “Corona Era” and immune boosters are the “new favorites “today. Lots of my patients are very curious about natural ways of healing and they would always carry bottles of supplements besides their prescription medications, for a reiteration from their physician.
I thought a great way to reconnect with you all is to discuss a “Magic spice”, “Turmeric”.
Turmeric has been used in ancient cultures from time immemorial for its multiple uses and it is a staple , even in western pantries, as an important cooking ingredient.
The Mistress Of Spices – TURMERIC- in the times of Coronavirus
Coronavirus made its deadly global debut and we are still floundering to pinpoint a successful antidote. Our blindfolded darts are on antimalarials, nucleic structure modulators, antibiotics but it is emerging strongly that our innate immunity plays a very strong role in preventing worst outcomes.
Turmeric was always held in high esteem in health care of many cultures as a strong immunity booster, for almost 4000 years.
In Sanskrit, it was called by 53 different names identifying its varied physical attributes and its multifarious use. Its brilliant yellow color (a.k.a Indian saffron), silken soft texture, and its multiple roles played as an important immunity booster, medicinal ingredient, cooking ingredient, never let it fade its prominence.
Like everything important and ancient, turmeric has a Latin parental name .”Terra Merrita “ (meritorious earth )-referred to the color of ground turmeric
Turmeric is a product of “Curcuma Longa”-a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family. India produces nearly all the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it all. There is a city in South India “Erode”, which is the largest producer and trader of turmeric. It is also called the “Yellow City” or the “Turmeric City “
The main life-saving ingredient in turmeric is 3-5% of curcumin.
From East to West
.Our forefathers have known it’s healing powers and was used in concoction mixed with milk or tea or with honey. No wonder its uses are resurfacing as an antioxidant, liver detoxifier, anticancer agent, prevention of Alzheimer’s, pain-relieving agent besides immunity booster, and an anti-inflammatory agent. As per US FDA, Food and drug administration, its clinical trial on turmeric has declared its active component “curcumin” as GRAS (generally regarded as safe ) So in the US, turmeric and its components are currently being used in mustard cereals, chips, cheese butter, and other products
“ Hit or Miss; “Corona and Curcumin “
The perplexing modus operandi of the evil coronavirus has put the whole world on its heels. Globally physicians, scientists, and epidemiologists have been taken to their tasks by the guerilla warfare of the virus. The disease not only wreaks havoc on the lungs and airways but also the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, gut, and nervous system. It’s unknown if the virus directly attacks these organs or it’s a body’s wide overreaction of the immune system.
Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant. So ideally speaking it should help us fighting the virus infection. But something called ACE-2 is expressed when COVID-19 infection occurs and Curcumin has shown to express ACE-2. This means that curcumin can make us more prone to corona infection
So, where do we stand?
So it seems that though curcumin makes us more vulnerable for catching infections when, one is already infected with the virus, as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, it helps us fight the infection
My Dose or High Dose
Despite 3000 + publications on turmeric and its related compounds, exact dosing has not been found out for any disease process. Typically advised dose is 500-2000 mg of turmeric /day. Turmeric contains 3% of curcumin compared to 95% in commercial extract .when used in the diet , it is 2000-2500 mg of turmeric (60-100mg)of curcumin per day. The same amount in the extract form may pack up to 1900-2375 mg of curcumin.
As per the European Food Safety Authority and WHO, allowable daily intake is 0-3mg/kg body weight. The gut absorption of turmeric is not very good. A compound called piperine, found in black pepper, if taken with turmeric, can increase its absorption by 2000%,
Turmeric has a mind of its own and sometimes it can cause allergic reactions, stomach pains, diarrhea , constipation , nausea, and vomiting in some people. For the most part, if eaten in food at a low level over long periods, it is safe.
As per some studies, it can worsen gall bladder disease symptoms, kidney stones lowering of blood sugars in diabetes, can act as a blood thinner.
To date, Our “Mistress of Spice “ continues to allure us with its mystical properties. It beckons us with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory , antibacterial antiviral, antiseptic , cardio protective, liver, and kidney protective functions and as a digestive additive but confounds us with chemical instability and absence of selective target activity. On a lighter note, it has been called “promiscuous “by the researchers as it can interact with several proteins together which can increase its chances of toxicity.
Turmeric has stood the test of time and if taken in the diet , in a small amount it has proved beneficial for humankind but our understanding of it still oscillates like a pendulum before converging towards any definite answer.
I hope some of the questions were answered about the “wonder spice ” “Turmeric ” and we would chat some more about immune boosters in future .