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Clinician’s Corner: Turmeric

As many of our patients are looking for natural alternatives to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen, Ibuprofen and Celebrex®, we get a lot of questions about turmeric.

Common Name: Indian saffron, curcuma which is related to ginger, and grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Central America. Turmeric is a major ingredient in curry powder. The medicinal part of the plant used is the dried roots of the plant. Latin Name: Curcuma longa.

Primary active ingredients: curcuminoids, which are bright yellow and used to color foods and cosmetics. Turmeric is what gives curry it’s bright yellow color in cooking.  The German Drug Codex monograph requires turmeric to contain not less than 3.0% curcuminoids, calculated as curcumin, and not less than 3.0% volatile oil.

Possible uses: osteoarthritis, digestive disorders, and potentially stroke prevention by quelling inflammation in blood vessels,

Possibly effective: Osteoarthritis– Some turmeric extracts can improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The University of Arizona Health Sciences secured a grant to conduct studies of turmeric (CLaRA study), where they found turmeric to be effective as an anti-inflammatory, in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and blocks a protein that causes bone breakdown in these patients.

Turmeric has been used as a “digestive aid”; it increases the release of bile, so it is not to be used if the patient has gallstones.

Warnings:

  • High doses of turmeric can act as a blood thinner, and cause stomach upset. Avoid turmeric/curcumin if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), or any of the new blood thinners like Xarelto, Eliquis or Pradaxa. Have your Thompson Pharmacist check your med list.
  • Don’t take if you are about to have surgery
  • Don’t use if you are pregnant
  • Don’t use if you have gallstones or any gallbladder disease

Dose:

  • Osteoarthritis: In capsule form use 400 mg to 600 mg, three times per day.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: 500 mg twice daily.

At Thompson Pharmacy we have several products that contain turmeric, which might give you the relief you need.  Before taking any new herbal supplement always ask your Thompson Pharmacist.  Go Ahead and Ask… at Thompson Pharmacy…it’s all for YOU!