The Anti -inflammatory effects of Turmeric – Yoga and Ayurveda Therapy
Turmeric is a bright yellow-gold spice that has been used for hundreds of years in Indian cooking. It has a
bitter and sour taste and is used in traditional cuisine to enhance the flavour of other aromatic spices.
Turmeric is a core ingredient in a typical curry. Not only is Turmeric used in cooking but it has been used
traditionally in Ayurveda and Yoga therapy.
This amazing spice also has amazing medicinal properties. For over 5,00 years it has been used in
Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic agent.
Furthermore, it has been used traditionally as a potent digestive as it helps reduce bloating, gas, and cramping.
Ayurveda uses Turmeric to balance the female reproductive and lactation systems, and in men, it purifies and
improves the health of semen. Due to its vast array of medicinal purposes and versatility, Turmeric is one of the
most important herbs in any natural medicine cabinet. There is a plethora of research regarding the potential
health benefits of Turmeric; this can be viewed in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine app Apple A Day
Today, Turmeric has become popular in Complementary and Alternative Medicine but also in western culture
as a Superfood. However, it has been recommended in Yoga and Ayurveda therapy for centuries. One of
the most eminent Ayurvedic practitioners, Dr David Frawley, stated that only a few herbalists realise the
value of Turmeric and likened Turmeric to ‘the Divine Mother, bestowing numerous blessings and helping us in
all dangers, difficulties and conditions of weakness and debility’. To some, this may sound like woohoo but
Turmeric has been successfully used for over 5,000 years in Ayurvedic Medicine treating numerous ailments.
Curcumin Biological Activity
Curcumin (1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione) is the main polyphenol found Turmeric
which contributes to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial and anticancer properties.
Inflammation is the immune system's response to injury and infection. This responsive signaling mechanism
heals and repairs damaged tissue. In the process of inflammation, there is a change to local blood flow and the
release of several mediators. These mediators account for local effects at the site of inflammation i.e.
vasodilatation, increased vascular permeability, and leucocytes migration.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), Lipoxygenase (LOX), and inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS) are important
enzymes that mediate inflammatory processes. This anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin is most likely mediated
through its ability to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase (LOX), and inducible nitric oxide synthase
(iNOS). This effect at the transcriptional level prevents a number of diseases, including cancer.
Some conventional scientists question the value of Turmeric as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine
and feel that it is an over-hyped supplement. That is where Ayurveda has the most significant take on how
to use Turmeric as a medicine i.e. it is used as part of daily diet, it is rarely used as a single supplement
but often in formulations. For example, Turmeric used with Black Pepper will improve its bioavailability and
Turmeric is ‘Tri-doshic’ i.e. suitable for all and is commonly used in both Ayurveda and Yoga in cooking to
reduce inflammatory conditions. However, anyone who is on warfarin or any other blood thinners
medication should avoid Turmeric as it alters the pharmacokinetics of these pharmaceuticals, see
Complementary and Alternative Medicine app Apple A Day RX for further information.