Is Turmeric More Effective Than These 5 Medications?
Turmeric is having a health food revival, and it may be for good reason! As one of the most studied spices, according to the National Institutes of Health, researchers have looked at turmeric as a natural alternative to treat a variety of common ailments.
With thousands of years of documented usage, turmeric has been used to treat everything from high blood pressure to arthritis and depression throughout the ages. This yellow orange root can be used in cooking or taken orally in capsule form. So what if this spice could eliminate the need for some of these common medications in your medicine cabinet?
The compound curcumin within turmeric is likely nature’s most powerful alternative to these five over-the-counter medications.
How Does Curcumin Compare to 5 Popular Medications?
One of the most common anti-inflammatory names you might see is ibuprofen, but did you know one of the main functions of turmeric is reducing inflammation? Before turmeric takes the reins over this OTC medication, it must overcome the hurdle of how quickly it is metabolized and removed by the body. Some studies suggest pairing turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin, with a compound from black pepper, could solve this problem. Additional studies point to benefits of taking curcumin after vigorous workouts and its effectiveness in reducing exercise induced inflammation and improving recovery.
2. Blood Thinners
Aspirin is commonly used as a blood thinner but, taken in high dosages can cause degradation of the stomach lining. Turmeric is actually a more extreme ‘blood thinner’ but with a different mechanism that stops blood platelets from clumping altogether.
Many Americans are on statins, which are medications prescribed for cholesterol management. Curcumin works to keep arteries from hardening (atherosclerosis) while lowering LDL and total cholesterol numbers.
4. Chemotherapy Medications
The search for medications to treat cancer is never-ending but this research on curcumin and how it functions against colorectal cancer in conjunction with a chemotherapy medications called oxaliplatin shows promise.
It’s a bold statement to say that turmeric may be more effective than depression medications. This study provides some of the first clinical evidence that curcumin could be a safe but also effective treatment for those suffering from depression (without additional psychotic disorders). Additional studies have found that curcumin may raise levels of serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters known to elevate your mood.
Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.