How turmeric could help manage Crohn's disease and colitis

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
3 ways turmeric could help you feel better if you have Crohn's disease or colitis
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Turmeric, an Indian spice that has been used for centuries for its health benefits might help with Crohn's disease treatment. The active ingredient in the spice that is also known as "holy powder" is cucrumin from which the health benefits are derived.

Improved gut health

Early studies show curcumin in turmeric might directly provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the gut for treating colitis and Crohn's disease. A problem with understanding how it works, what dose is most effective and other details is that more human studies are needed.

Turmeric is generally considered safe but could interact with blood thinning medication and should never be taken in high doses and should not be used if you have gallstones. Curcumin might also interfere with chemotherapy given for breast cancer.

A pilot study conducted in 2005 showed participants in the investigation taking turmeric capsules had fewer symptoms including improved stool formation, decreased muscle soreness after exercise, less abdominal pain and cramping and fewer bowel movements. Lab testing also showed decreased inflammation related to several blood biomarkers.

Mood elevation

Dealing with the ups and downs, remissions and exacerbations, medication side effects, frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations and for some surgery can be difficult for those with Crohn's disease.

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Turmeric can help keep boost mood, making it a great spice to at least consider using for cooking. To get the benefits you should add pepper. When taking capsules, buy supplements with piperine or black pepper extract which is the active ingredient that helps curcumin absorption. Studies show the spice component is poorly absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream, but pepper can enhance that.

The best natural remedy for depression is exercise, but it's possible turmeric could help break a vicious cycle that can occur from lack of motivation for activity as well as preventing depression.

Better nutrition

Turmeric contains iron, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. If your nutrition needs a boost, taking turmeric capsules with pepper or pepper extract could provide you with essential vitamins and minerals especially during times when you find it difficult to eat.

Resources:

Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
An Overview of Curcumin in Neurological Disorders
March-April, 2010

Alternative Medicine Review
Curcumin for inflammatory bowel disease: a review of human studies.
June, 2011

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

Updated 5/17/2014

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