Does Turmeric actually heal, or just mask symptoms?
We’re often asked whether turmeric actually heals conditions, or just masks pain and other symptoms.
The answer is that turmeric can do BOTH, especially where inflammation is involved.
Inflammation is a normal response to infectious organisms. For example, people used to automatically reach for the aspirin if a fever broke out. Now we understand that fever is the immune system’s way of making the body inhospitable to bacteria and viruses.
The problem comes about when inflammation becomes chronic. The redness, edema* or pain just won’t go away. The underlying problem has been taken care of, but the inflammation provoked by it is still present. This is where Turmeric really shines, because the symptoms now are the problem. Treat the symptoms and the problem has finally been taken care of.
BUT sometimes you just can’t fix the underlying problem.
A genetic defect or a disabling injury or a mechanical problem like hip dysplasia* are not going to be ‘cured’ with turmeric. But Turmeric can help by alleviating the pain allowing the person, or animal, to be far more comfortable while other remedies are undertaken . You all know how tired you feel when you’re in pain. Dealing with pain takes energy – it’s a major stressor for the body.
When the pain is eased, that energy is available to help the body recover from surgery, or make more efficient use of medications or whatever is needed.
Turmeric is both antibiotic and antiviral. Turmeric can help cure an infection, or at least assist in the cure.
Turmeric can directly help with gastric ulcers because it can heal the mucous membranes of the stomach lining. That’s why some of the equine gastric ulcer remedies have turmeric in them.
Turmeric is also anti-cancer, with several different mechanisms that directly address cancer itself. It doesn’t just treat the symptoms of cancer (please click HERE >> Turmeric FAQs for more info on Turmeric and cancer).
Turmeric for Arthritis?
Perhaps the most frequent questions come in regard to arthritis. Does Turmeric just make us, or our dogs and horses, feel better or does it actually do anything for the arthritis?
Let’s look at the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis. In this type of arthritis, the cartilage in joints begins to wear away. Cartilage has no nerve endings, so we aren’t aware of the damage until we feel pain from the bones in the joint beginning to rub against each other. Or the first symptoms may be swelling and stiffness, or a trigger finger*. By this time much of the damage is already done.
But one of the causes of joint destruction is inflammation from other medical issues–inflammation that hasn’t shown up yet as a problem in the joint. Metabolic syndrome, an array of problems that include insulin resistance, high blood pressure and poor management of cholesterol and triglycerides, is also a factor in many cases of osteoarthritis.
Turmeric can directly help with these other sources of inflammation.
So does Turmeric cure arthritis? No, but it certainly reduces the inflammation that contributes to joint damage.
Another source of joint damage is oxidative stress from free radicals in the bloodstream. Turmeric’s antioxidant properties help here as well.
Finally, doctors recommend activity – and weight-bearing activity, if at all possible – as one of the best ways to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, because strengthening the muscles around a joint takes stress off the joint itself.
By reducing the pain associated with movement, turmeric allows us to be more active.
So does Turmeric cure arthritis, or just ‘mask the symptoms’?
I think the answer is clear: Turmeric slows down the onset of arthritis by reducing inflammation from other sources. It slows down the progression of arthritis by the same mechanism, it reduces oxidative stress AND it takes some of the stress off damaged joints by allowing greater activity.
That is far more than ‘just masking symptoms’.
What about Rheumatoid arthritis, the other most common kind of arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by overall system inflammation, not just in the affected joints. In Rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium (the fluid filled capsule between the bones in many of our joints) is damaged and becomes fibrous, leading to cartilage damage. The inflammation is aggravated by chemicals called cytokines. Two of these, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are, most interestingly, combated very effectively by Turmeric.
At the end of this article there are links to studies conducted by the US National Institute of Health. Study No.1 found Turmeric to be as effective as several of the prescription products without the side effects. Study No.2 found Turmeric to be effective against IL-6. Further, the immune system produces a type of T cell that further leads to damage from Rheumatoid arthritis, and what do you know? Turmeric is effective against that as well (Study No.3).
So does Turmeric just mask the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, or actively contribute to reducing the disease progression itself? I think the answer is obvious.
If Turmeric did nothing more than relieve pain so our own bodies could get on with healing, that would be a huge advantage to us. But it’s clear that it does far far more than that for us.
Article by Liz Wallis
Edema* – swelling caused by fluid in your body’s tissues.
Hip dysplasia* – an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic (polygenic) trait that is affected by environmental factors (as per Wikipedia).
Trigger finger* – a defect in a tendon causing a finger to jerk or snap straight when the hand is extended.
Studies by the US National Institute of Health:
So WHAT NOW…..How do you start taking Turmeric for Arthritis??
Do you suffer from arthritis? Do you take Turmeric to help with the pain? Are you finding any other benefits?