Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest medical systems and originated in India. It is considered by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to be an alternative medicinal treatment plan and utilizes herbs, massage and specialized diets to heal and treat many different ailments. Turmeric is a main herb used in Ayurveda and is being researched by conventional physicians for its role in the treatment and prevention of conditions like pancreatitis. Talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements.
Turmeric, or curcumin, is a plant and spice that is traditionally used in curry dishes for flavoring, but it is also used within Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. It is used to treat conditions such as heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, jaundice, liver and gallbladder disorders, headaches, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems and even cancer. It can be applied to the skin to treat such conditions as ringworm, inflammatory skin conditions and infected wounds. The chemicals found within turmeric contain natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas which is a gland found behind the stomach that is responsible for the release of insulin and glucagon. The four main types of pancreatitis are acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic abscess and pancreatic psuedocyst. Main symptoms can include abdominal pain, fever, jaundice, nausea, weight loss and weakness. Chronic pancreatitis is most often linked with alcohol abuse and repeat cases of acute pancreatitis can lead to chronic pancreatitis.
Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to look at the connection between turmeric and pancreatitis. In a 2011 study published in the "International Journal of Molecular Medicine" looked at the possible protective effects of turmeric and determined that the administration of turmeric to patients may play a protective role against the development of acute pancreatitis and any pancreatitis-associated lung injuries. A study from 2009 published in "Alternative Medicine Review" found that turmeric may have potential therapeutic qualities to treat diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, certain types of cancer and pancreatitis.
As with any new form of treatment or supplements, you should consult with your physician before making any changes. While turmeric is a natural plant, it does have some precautions and before using in more than a traditional cooking capacity, these should be considered. Turmeric is a natural anticoagulant, or blood thinner, and if you are taking medications such as Coumadin, you should talk with your doctor before adding turmeric. Taking turmeric with Coumadin can increase your risk of bleeding and bruising so your physician would need to adjust your dosage.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Ayurvedic Medicine; April 1, 2011
- MedlinePlus; Turmeric; May 6, 2011
- MedlinePlus; Chronic Pancreatitis; January 1, 2010
- MedlinePlus; Pancreatitis; January 20, 2010
- "International Journal of Molecular Medicine"; Protective Effects of Curcuma Longa Against Cerulein-Induced Acute Pancreatitis and Pancreatitis-Associated Lung Injury; SW Seo et al.; January 2011
- "Alternative Medicine Review"; Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma Longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research; JS Jurenka; June 2009