Turmeric and Immunity

For centuries, people of India have venerated turmeric as a spice, medicine, and a key ingredient in worship. This regard is not just limited to humans — our Gods and Goddesses, homes, and cows have always been anointed with turmeric paste. In most homes, turmeric is the panacea to all ills — from cuts to burns, from acne to allergies, from cold and flu to cancer. With the outbreak of coronavirus in India, many have resorted to this traditional medicine.

While detractors may laugh claiming that there is no proof that turmeric can prevent coronavirus, our people have not lost faith in this wonder herb. Tried and tested traditional beverages like Haldi Ka Doodh find more takers. Mothers are finding innovative ways to ensure this spice passes through finicky palettes to reach their children’s systems. With sanitizers and disinfectants becoming scarce, many have decided to put their faith in turmeric to sanitize — from vegetables to homes and streets. Traditionally, turmeric has been part of bath and beauty rituals. Now, copious amounts of this herb are being used for personal sanitization.

Can Turmeric Boost Your Immunity?

Researchers have been studying curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric for decades. Numerous studies confirm that curcumin helps boost immunity. This video explains how:

A Word of Caution

While consuming small amounts of turmeric offers several health benefits apart from increased immunity, it is always better to proceed with caution:

  • It is common knowledge that food adulterants such as metanil yellow find their way into store-bought turmeric powder.
  • Studies have reported digestive issues and nausea due to excessive consumption of turmeric
  • Curcumin contributes to a small fraction by weight of turmeric and is often poorly absorbed unless pepper is consumed along with it (Shoba et al, 1998).
  • While turmeric may boost immunity, the best way to fight COVID is by social distancing (staying at home) and personal hygiene (washing hands thoroughly and not touching the face).

From Our Experts

Here’s what Pooja Ramchandran, India’s pioneering genetic counselor and VP – Genetic Counseling, Mapmygenome, has to say:

While turmeric certainly has health benefits, there is no scientific evidence that turmeric prevents COVID-19. In general, however, it recommended that you consume a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep so that your body can continue to fight against infections- corona, or others.

Also Read: Immunity With Limited Rations – Chickpeas To The Rescue

Works Cited

  • Jagetia, Ganesh Chandra, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. ““Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin.” Journal of clinical immunology 27.1 (2007): 19-35.
  • Lao, Christopher D., et al. “Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 6.1 (2006): 1-4.
  • Nagpal, Monika, and Shaveta Sood. “Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview.” Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine 4.1 (2013): 3.
  • Shoba, Guido, et al. “Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers.” Planta Medica 64.04 (1998): 353-356.
  • South, E. H., J. H. Exon, and K. Hendrix. “Dietary curcumin enhances antibody response in rats.” Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology 19.1 (1997): 105-119.
  • Yadav, V. S., et al. “Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin.” Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology 27.3 (2005): 485-497. Zorofchian Moghadamtousi, Soheil, et al. “A review on antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity of curcumin.” BioMed research international 2014 (2014).

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