It has long been heralded for its healing properties, but only recently have herbalists recommended turmeric for fibroids.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a relative of ginger and is widely known for its medicinal qualities. Typically, turmeric root is dried, ground into a fine powder, and then added into recipes. While some chefs call turmeric "the poor man's saffron" because of the golden color it imparts to dishes, herbalists hold turmeric to a much higher standard. In alternative healing circles, turmeric is considered a "miracle herb" given all of the medical conditions it aids.
Turmeric is used to treat:
- High cholesterol
- Boils, lesions, scabies and other open wounds
- Gallbladder problems
- Liver disorders
- Heart disease
Turmeric for Fibroids
Turmeric, embraced by Indian and Chinese doctors for centuries, is now being used in Western medicine. Most recently, some doctors have begun prescribing turmeric for fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors typically located either outside or inside the uterus. Fibroids range in size from a pea to a melon, but they're generally between the size of an orange and a grapefruit.
Studies show that nearly 30 percent of women in the United States have fibroids. What's more, it is estimated that nearly 80 percent of women of childbearing age have fibroids but don't realize it. Doctors say fibroids are the most common problems of perimenopause and one of the leading causes of hysterectomies in the United States. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 400,000 hysterectomies are performed each year due to fibroids.
When a woman is diagnosed with fibroids, most doctors prescribe a treatment plan that includes the following:
- Decrease estrogen
- Support liver function
- Cleanse and detox, especially the liver
To reduce estrogen, doctors prescribe a diet rich in foods that support the liver. Studies show that if a woman's liver isn't functioning properly, estrogen stays in her system longer than it's supposed to. That's where turmeric comes into play. Turmeric contains powerful detoxifying properties that help protect the liver from a host of damaging elements, including toxic chemicals. The herb also stimulates the liver, which in turn helps reduce estrogen and in some cases can minimize the growth of fibroids.
Side Effects of Turmeric
While no toxic side effects have been linked to the use of turmeric, doctors warn that consuming large amounts of the herb may cause stomach pain. In addition, doctors advise individuals taking blood thinners to avoid using turmeric, as it may interfere with their medication.
Turmeric is widely available in supermarkets and health food stores worldwide. It comes in a variety of forms including powder, used in standard cooking recipes, as well as capsules and tinctures. The general recommended dosage for adults battling fibroids is 445 milligrams in capsules or one teaspoon of extract three times a day.
The easiest way to incorporate turmeric into your diet is by eating curries. Indian curries call for relatively large amounts of turmeric. However, you would likely have to consume curry for at least two meals a day if you want to gain the same benefits contained in the supplements.
According to doctors, the recommended dose of 1,200 milligrams per day, taken in three 400-milligram capsules, would be equivalent to six to eight teaspoons of turmeric. Finding palate-pleasing recipes that call for seven teaspoons of turmeric is challenging, which is why most doctors simply recommend fibroid patients take turmeric supplements.
Given how challenging it is to consume the recommended amounts of turmeric and that the body tends to metabolize the herb so rapidly, herbalists suggest combining turmeric with black pepper. Researchers at St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, India recently discovered that combining turmeric with black pepper might significantly increase the body's ability to use it. To make the most of this healthy combination, simply purchase a one-ounce bag of generic Indian turmeric powder, which typically retails for about $5, and a container of fresh black peppercorns. Grind the peppercorns into a powder and mix it with the turmeric. Herbalists recommend taking half a teaspoon of the mixture three times a day. You can add it to soup or sprinkle it over rice, mix well, and eat. Either way, experts say you will be better off for doing so.