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Turmeric – Why we love this Golden Herb!

turmeric powder in heart shaped bowl

Turmeric is such an incredible herb! Its been used for centuries for health benefits, coloring in dyes and paint because of its brilliant golden hue, but did you know it also has a tonne of unique capabilities in the body. Let’s delve into some of them below:

Dampening down the Innate immune system –

This is not a negative thing, what this means is that it primes and allows the immune system to fire but also return back to a state of balance once the threat is over! What this does is better allow us to preserve our resources for when a threat comes in again instead of staying high all the time, that can play havoc with our adrenals and constant cortisol response that happens when a threat comes in.

This provides a sparing effect on the HPA Axis – Adrenals!

Turmeric is very anti-inflammatory, so when we talk about how it helps with the HPA axis, our adrenals are constantly firing in response to even tiny threats and if this is a systemic low-grade on-going issue that the adrenals keep responding with cortisol for, it can be extremely taxing. Inflammation signaling and immune signaling both induce a cortisol response as the body needs to be prepared no matter what that it may be life-threatening and support a fight or flight response. Taking some of the burdens of the HPA axis is one of the amazing benefits of Turmeric.

Turmeric Improves Immune resilience

Like we mentioned above the body works so innately in response to a threat, its instant and logically that makes sense! But balance is required, Turmeric is a powerful chemical communication regulator. Our inflammatory cytokine signaling can get stuck in a state of erratic behavior, constantly signaling instead of reacting and returning back once the feedback has lowered back to a state of calm and the crisis has been averted.

Antioxidant Abilities!

Inside all of us, we have an impressive and innate defense mechanism called NRF2 which is a nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2) and resides inside the cytoplasm of the cell and can be activated via various tools one of which Turmeric! Nrf2-regulated genes can be classified into the following:

  • Phase II xenobiotic-metabolizing antioxidants enzymes.
  • DNA repair enzymes.
  • Anti-inflammatory response proteins [1].

These proteins reduce free radicals to fewer toxic intermediates whilst increasing the ability of the cell to repair any subsequent damage.

Curcumin a polyphenol of Turmeric helping with Anxiety

Some great new research is coming out now of Turmeric and in particular, Curcumin, a component of turmeric and powerful polyphenol; on the anti-anxiety effects. It was tested in regards to exposure for those with diagnosed PTSD and showed significant reductions in anxiety triggers and symptoms. They believe this is due to the effects that Turmeric contributes to providing a dampening response on our HPA axis through all of the various mechanisms we mentioned before. So, to recap – here is what we do know Turmeric is capable of:

  • Dampens down innate defense mechanism by allowing the body to act and return for the next threat instead of staying high all the time!
  • Sparing effect on adrenals and HPA axis.
  • Regulates cortisol response to stress.
  • It improves immune resilience.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Anti-oxidant.
  • Liver protectant.
  • Anti-anxiety and raises the mood.

Turmeric Take home message:

Turmeric, Perhaps one of the most extensively studied herbs of all time, and readily available across the world. Adding this to your regime in the form of supplemental or through the herb itself is an incredible way to support these aspects.

References:

  1. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Menon VP1, Sudheer AR.DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_3
  2. Sun Kim M., Kung S., Grewal T., D Roufogalis B. Methodologies for investigating natural medicines for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Curr. Pharm. Biotechnol. 2012;13:278–291. doi: 10.2174/138920112799095310. [PubMed] [CrossRef[Google Scholar]
  3. Maheshwari R.K., Singh A.K., Gaddipati J., Srimal R.C. Multiple biological activities of curcumin: A short review. Life Sci. 2006;78:2081–2087. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2005.12.007. [PubMed] [CrossRef[Google Scholar]
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  5. YOSHIAKIABESHUHASHIMOTOTAKASHIHORIE

    First Department of Internal Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchikamimachi, Itabashi-Ku, Tokyo, 173, Japan Accepted 21 August 1998, Available online 25 May 2002. https://doi.org/10.1006/phrs.1998.0404