Turmeric: A Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agent?
"Can anyone offer 'natural alternative' suggestions for someone living with ulcerative colitis?"
As I was scanning social media one evening, I noticed this question posed by someone on my newsfeed. I thought of my morning supplement routine.
Vitamins for ulcerative colitis
Yes, I'm "one of those" vitamin freaks. I don't go a day without downing a handful of various vitamins to supplement my dietary needs. From Vitamin C to Zinc, I get in my daily dose of additional organic compounds.
But before anyone judges, let me explain my adoration of an age-old spice. One that has been utilized since the dawn of time in East India and the Middle East for not only its taste but also its medicinal properties.
Supplementing my UC treatment
About a decade ago, my husband was a diligent researcher for alternative treatments for my ulcerative colitis.
"There's gotta be another way. Something besides prescription meds to help you," he offered. I had visited the gastroenterologist again and arrived home with another prescription in hand.
"That medicine has awful potential side effects," he responded to my medical update. "Surely, there's a more natural way to help your body."
"Well, if you find it," I replied sourly, "Let me know. I'm willing to try almost anything."
After suffering from an IBD for more than 30 years, my husband knew I was tired of trying new medications that are costly and not necessarily "natural" to one's body.
Reading up on turmeric for ulcerative colitis
Through research, he kept seeing the question of whether curcumin, an active agent in the Indian herb turmeric, could ease IBD pain. In all his readings, he shared with me that turmeric had shown promise in its anti-inflammatory agents.
Because each body is different, one never knows what will or won't work for inflammation. But I didn't see much to lose with trying turmeric.
After 10 years, I can attest that I never go a day without taking 2 capsules of a turmeric-curcumin supplement.
Does it help my UC symptoms?
Am I cured of UC? No.
But I can vouch that my UC flares are reduced. Is that because of dietary changes and an exercise regimen? That all helps. I believe every natural approach that one takes to control the "energy in and energy out" effect all helps.
When I do experience a flare, like I did earlier in the year from added professional stress, I just increase my turmeric dose for however many days I'm in pain.
Maybe my dogmatic devotion to turmeric is a "placebo effect." But if I believe it works, then I will continue touting it. Even if there isn't enough research evidence to back up this spice's impact, I have seen enough small studies that suggest it could help some individuals with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.
Giving turmeric a try
For skeptics, I say, "Try it for 30-60 days." What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a supplement won't be much of a loss. And if it doesn't work, just send your remaining supplements my way. I'd be happy to consume the rest.
As always, though, talk to your doctor first. But as a natural alternative, I think you can't go wrong with adding turmeric to your daily diet.
If you don't like supplements, then try sprinkling ground turmeric on some sweet potatoes or carrots, blend it into smoothies, or add this spice to your scrambled eggs. Numerous turmeric recipes can be found online.
So, tease those taste buds and start small. Spice up your favorite dishes. It might not only add flavor and color to your food choices but might also offer an added benefit to your gut, too.
In the end, you might find yourself saying, "Ooh, it's so good!"
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?