Turmeric: How It Helps With Addiction
Turmeric has long been used as an additive to curry but can also help in treating problems related to drug and alcohol addiction.
The deep yellow colored spice, also called Indian Saffron, is derived from the roots of a plant known as Curcuma Longa. It is similar to ginger but with a peppery flavor.
Turmeric has numerous health properties besides its pleasing flavor. Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioners, as well as Traditional Chinese healers, use turmeric to treat different types of ailments including chest pain, toothache, colic, and flatulence problems.
It also contains strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be quite helpful in addiction treatment.
Inflammation and Addiction
It is well known that drug and alcohol addiction results from a chemical or personality imbalance.
Scientific studies have shown that inflammatory signals in the brain play a key role in the growth of addictive behavior.
A 2008 study published in Glia demonstrated that inflammation in the brain may not necessarily cause addiction but increases the risk of dependence on alcohol and other addictive substances.
According to researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, understanding the role of inflammation can be used in treating drug and alcohol addiction problems.
The researchers recommend that addiction treatment should not only focus on brain chemicals but target the body’s immune system and inflammation as well.
Krisztina J. Kovacs, a leading researcher at Hungary’s Institute of Experimental Medicine in Budapest, states that neuroinflammation is a key component in the development of addictive behavior.
She suggests that eliminating inflammatory triggers in an addict’s diet soothes inflammation in the brain and removes inflammatory pathways to reduce dependence on drugs or alcohol.
It is important to focus on diet in cleansing the body of toxins caused by drugs or alcohol and reducing inflammation.
The Role of Turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory Herb in the Treatment of Addiction
Turmeric contains a plant chemical known as curcumin which helps to reduce inflammation and increase production of anti-inflammatory compounds such as cortisol naturally.
Including this anti-inflammatory herb in a patient’s diet helps to reduce inflammation in the brain and arrest the development of addictive behavior.
Turmeric also helps in the management of drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is a natural antioxidant, detoxifier, digestive aid and anti-inflammatory herb capable of easing withdrawal symptoms.
When used together with other natural ingredients, it is quite useful in helping patients cope with opiate withdrawal symptoms without pain, nausea, and other discomforts caused by toxins left behind by drugs or alcohol.
Benefits of Turmeric in Liver Repair among Alcoholics
Alcohol addiction is a highly prevalent and progressive disease that results in physiological, social, and personality disorders.
Over 16,000 people in the United States die of liver problems caused by excessive consumption of alcohol each year.
Liver damage is one of the major side effects of alcoholism. This is because the liver is the main organ that deals with alcohol metabolism in the body.
A majority of heavy consumers of alcohol struggle with liver problems such as cirrhosis and tumors.
Studies have shown that alternative therapies, such as the use of dietary supplements, homeopathy, and herbs can help in the treatment of damage to the liver caused by alcoholism.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been proven to be effective in dealing with liver problems.
In a study conducted to determine the benefits of curcumin on liver, nine groups of rats with liver damaged by chronic consumption of alcohol and heated oil were fed with different combinations of ethanol, curcumin, and sunflower oil for twelve weeks.
After examining rats’ liver tissues, it was found that the group that received curcumin had less liver damage than the other groups. The experiment showed that turmeric can be used to treat damage to the liver caused by alcoholism.
Alcoholism can lead to the development of hepatitis B virus (HBV) that infects the liver. Hepatitis B virus increases the risk of other liver ailments such as hepatocellular carcinoma.
An effective way of treating HBV infections is by focusing on host factors that lead to HBV gene expression. Curcumin has been tested and found to effectively restrict HBV gene expression.
Turmeric can, therefore, be used as a complementary therapy together with other virus-specific therapies in the treatment of HBV and liver damage due to alcoholism.
Turmeric Dosage and Precautions
Turmeric is available in many forms. It is available in capsule form, as a fluid extract, or as a tincture. The supplement is only available for adult usage. There are no pediatric dosages of turmeric.
The standard dosage of curcumin powder for adults is between 400 and 600mg of the supplement taken three times per day.
For the cut root form, the recommended dosage is 1.5 to 3g per day while for the fluid extract you can take 30 to 90 drops each day. To improve the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, you can add bromelain to the supplement.
Turmeric is a natural spice commonly used in food and does not have any side effects. However, people with complications such as obstructive jaundice, heart disease, liver disorders, acute bilious colic, and painful gallstones are advised to consult their health practitioner prior to taking turmeric supplements.
Turmeric is also known to slow down blood clotting and should not be taken by anyone scheduled to undergo surgery within a period of two weeks. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are normally advised to avoid all forms of herbal supplements including turmeric.
It is believed that drug and alcohol addiction results from a chemical and personality imbalance in the body but new research have shown that inflammatory signals can lead to the development of addiction.
According to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, effective addiction should also focus on immunity and inflammatory causes of addiction. Brain inflammation may not necessarily cause addiction but does increase the risk of drug or alcohol dependency.
Turmeric herb contains a plant chemical known as curcumin that helps to reduce inflammation naturally.
The natural herb also helps in the treatment of liver damage and complications caused by alcoholism. It is a wonder herb with numerous health benefits.
- Bruce-Keller A. J., Turchan-Cholewo J., Smart E. J., Geurin T., Chauhan A., Reid R., Xu R., Nath A., Knapp P. E., Hauser K. F. (2008). Morphine causes rapid increases in glial activation and neuronal injury in the striatum of inducible HIV-1 Tat transgenic mice. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18551626
- Chaturvedi, T. P. (2009). Uses of turmeric in dentistry. Retrieved From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336870
- Ammon, H. P. T., Safayhi, H., Mack, T., & Sabieraj, J. Mechanism of antiinflammatory actions of curcumine and boswellic acids. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8510458
Author Bio: Leo Tat
Leo is an evidence-based nutrition blogger at AuthorityDiet.com where you can find nutritional articles backed by science journal citations. By having the evidence at hand behind the claims, you can come to an informed decision on what to eat and when to eat for optimal health. Follow Leo on Facebook and Twitter for article updates.
If you or a loved one are suffering with drug and alcohol abuse issues, please reach out to the elite team at The Addictions Coach. 1.800.706.0318. We take a natural approach to recovery.