We love herbs and we’re not afraid to say it. There are so many health-promoting, disease-preventing properties of herbs we could fill pages just listing them. They’re delicious and packed with real vitamins- not the fake vitamins you get in bottles. Oh, and there’s the fact that herbs never hurt anyone. That’s right, baby, zero side effects. There’s not a pharmaceutical drug in the world that can claim that fact!
The list of health benefits of herbs—even ones most people keep in their kitchen cabinets—keeps growing every single day. Recently, researchers have recently discovered a compound found in turmeric has the potential to effectively treat depression, bipolar disorder, and other related psychiatric conditions. So put down the Zoloft, because herbs are saving the day again.
There’s been a lot of fanfare for the many natural ingredients that reduce inflammation. That’s because the immune response is associated with inflammation of tissues all throughout the body. It is an unfortunate effect of a necessary natural process. Inflammation induces mechanical stress in tissues and cells all throughout the body, decreasing their structural integrity. That means substances that are meant to be contained in one biological structure can seep out or leak into parts of the body where they are not meant to be. It’s been shown that a bloated belly after eating food that causes intestinal inflammation is linked to mental illness, heart disease, and all manner of infection.
Turmeric, a spice that contains curcumin, has been noted for its ability to reduce inflammation. It’s been in use as a natural medicine for centuries. It is a polyphenol that has been found to have protective properties as well as reducing inflammation, and it is also a natural antioxidant. Researchers and clinicians have been using it to slow and sometimes stop the progress of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and as a support for cancer treatments.
Needless to say, these properties make it good for treating and preventing a host of health problems- far too many to list in one place. But what’s interesting is that foods that reduce inflammation, as turmeric does, have also been found to effectively treat mood disorders.
As stated, inflammation is an immune response to pathogens or toxins. As such, it is also a stress response. Researchers have found that when the body is stressed, that stress translates to distress which we feel emotionally. Most of us believe so strongly in the mind/body dichotomy that we don’t even notice the internal strain that our bodies translate into emotional stress.
We become irritable and we don’t attribute it to the fact that our bodies are resisting an internal attack. Curcumin has been found to reduce both inflammation as well as cortisol levels in people who take it. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that our bodies produce when we are stressed. People who are chronically stressed produce cortisol persistently and it is known to promote abdominal fat as well as a host of stress-related health problems.
Curcumin has been found in clinical trials to reduce anxiety and stress, thereby reducing cortisol levels in the blood. New research suggests that even low doses of these natural products are just as effective at fighting depression and anxiety as the most commonly prescribed SSRI drugs.
We don’t need to remind you that SSRIs have been linked to a host of dangerous mental and physical side effects- and they are exorbitantly expensive.
Okay, so you might have noticed that there’s always new research coming out about this herb or that herb has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Now, we’re adding turmeric and curcumin to that list.
But what you hear over and over is that things with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can fight mental illness, cancer, heart disease… the list goes on and on. But what no one ever seems to notice is that these effects indicate that all disease stems from a single cause which we could call biological distress.
We are stuck in a faulty mindset that every disease is like a puzzle and all we need is the right jig-saw piece to fix it. But no, disease comes from biological distress- which is the degradation of the integrity of organic structures in the body. When tissues and organs are weakened, disease sets in. The way to prevent disease is to use natural substances that reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
The good news is, if you’ve got a well-stocked spice rack, there are probably five things in it that reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Now, you can add turmeric to your list of natural medicines.