Turmeric: Is There A Big Pharma-Media Conspiracy Against This Herb?
By Jon Yaneff, CNP - Natural Blaze
December 29, 2017
Everywhere you go, turmeric
is there. It’s in your food, fused into your latte or tea, part of your skin-healing facemask. And some people even juice the stuff! What’s more, doctors are treating everything from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer with it. Whether used whole
or in supplement form, there is seemingly nothing it can’t do.
Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is the Swiss army knife of the herb kingdom. This legendary spice has been used in Chinese and Indian folk medicine for over 5,000 years.
Is Turmeric as Effective as Conventional Drugs?
Turmeric is such an icon in the culinary and natural medicinal worlds that it often reminds me of a superhero. Today, 10,000-plus studies reference the powerful effects of turmeric and curcumin (its
most active ingredient) in the treatment or prevention of several horrific diseases. A growing number of researchers have even concluded that this spice compares favorably with various conventional drugs, including antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, and
even chemotherapy drugs.
Turmeric and the powerful polyphenol curcumin have been fighting crime (I mean disease) for millennia with much success. At the same time, the super villain Big Pharma (aka the pharmaceutical industry) will do whatever it takes
to stand in its way. After all, nothing bothers Big Pharma more than natural, side effect-free solutions that work as well as or better than the pharmaceutical drugs they offer.
Media Attacks Turmeric, but Should You Believe Them?
The mainstream media appears to be the ally of drug companies. Exaggerated, embellished, and possibly fabricated headlines regularly make bad guys out of natural remedies that evidence suggests protect and heal us.
For instance, a Forbes headline
read: “Everybody Needs To Stop With This Turmeric Molecule.” Another publication stated: “Forget What You’ve Heard: Turmeric Seems To Have Zero Medicinal Properties.” The job of these attention-grabbing titles is to warn scientists
and consumers that curcumin, and likely turmeric itself, is a “waste of money and time.”
Where is all this coming from? The basis for this attack stems from a paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in January. The perspective
review stated that no double-blind, placebo-controlled, human trials (randomized control trials; RCTs) of curcumin have been successful. As a result, news outlets reported that curcumin doesn’t do anything for your health at all.
an over-simplistic conclusion to come to. You see, the media and some scientists will ignore anything that isn’t a RCT. In other words, the first-hand experiences of success using turmeric are deemed as “anecdotal claims.” And thought of
as completely worthless. Also discarded are the thousands of animal (in vivo) and cell (in vitro) studies that illustrate the therapeutic properties of turmeric and curcumin.
The basis for such ignorance is seemingly political, since researchers cannot
prove that turmeric, or specifically curcumin, is useful as a drug. Conventional drug development studies run clinical tests on particular compounds, like curcumin. Chemists will favor a reductionist approach with chemicals—and how they interact with
the body—while overlooking the fact that herbs have other properties.
The problem with this is that when you isolate a single constituent from a herb or whole food, it behaves more like a chemical and less like a natural food. Basically, extracting
curcumin changes the functional properties of turmeric. Therefore, it is unfair to say that, since you have not found the healing powers of curcumin (in certain studies), the healing power of turmeric doesn’t exist. This is a flaw within medicinal chemistry,
where the object of the study no longer is seen as a living thing.
Don’t Believe the Anti-Turmeric Hype
Overall, turmeric is much more than curcumin. Its hundreds of components all must work together to benefit a person’s
health. While Big Pharma wants to create synthetic curcumin analogs that can be patented, bad curcumin research fails to show positive results experienced by traditional cultures that use natural turmeric.
And, although the media didn’t mention
this part, the researchers suggested that future studies take a more holistic approach into account for its chemically diverse elements. They may synergistically add to its potential health benefits.
So, as turmeric gains popularity, the media will
continue to discourage you from it. Should one study with an agenda negate the thousands of positive studies that support the beneficial power of this remarkable spice?
Ji, S., “Forbes Leads Media Attack Against
Turmeric Health Benefits,” GreenMedInfo, February 2, 2017; http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/forbes-leads-media-attack-against-turmerics-health-benefits, last accessed July 13, 2017.
Ji, S., “800 Reasons Turmeric Threatens Big Pharma,”
GreenMedInfo, July 4, 2016; http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/800-reasons-turmeric-threatens-big-pharma, last accessed July 13, 2017.
Lemonick, S., “Everybody Needs To Stop With This Turmeric Molecule,” Forbes, January 19, 2017;https://www.forbes.com/sites/samlemonick/2017/01/19/everybody-needs-to-quit-it-with-this-turmeric-molecule/#47a97b9a79ff,
last accessed July 13, 2017.
“Contrary to decades of hype, curcumin alone is unlikely to boost health,” ACS, January 11, 2017;https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2017/acs-presspac-january-11-2017/contrary-to-decades-of-hype-curcumin-alone-is-unlikely-to-boost-health.html,
last accessed July 13, 2017.
Rathi, A., “Forget what you’ve heard: Turmeric seems to have zero medicinal properties,” QUARTZ, January 12, 2017; https://qz.com/883829/a-large-scientific-review-study-shows-that-curcumin-in-turmeric-has-no-medicinal-properties/,
last accessed July 13, 2017.
MacMillan, A., “Turmeric May Not Be a Miracle Spice After All,” TIME, January 12, 2017; http://time.com/4633558/turmeric-curcumin-inflammation-spice/, last accessed July 13, 2017.
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Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs,” GreenMedInfo, May 13, 2013; http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/science-confirms-turmeric-effective-14-drugs, last accessed July 13, 2017.
67, who battled blood cancer for five years 'recovers after treating it with TURMERIC' in the first recorded case of its kind
Dieneke Ferguson, 67, had given up on gruelling treatments and chemotherapy
With her myeloma spreading she began taking 8g of curcumin a day
The cancer stabilised in what doctors say was the first case of its kind
By BEN SPENCER, MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE
PUBLISHED: 00:06, 3 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23, 3 January 2018
A woman who battled blood cancer for years with out success finally halted the disease with turmeric, it has been reported.
is now living a normal life after giving up on grueling treatments that failed to stop it.
Doctors say her case is the first recorded instance in which a patient has recovered by using the spice after stopping conventional medical treatments.
her myeloma spreading rapidly after three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants, the 67-year-old began taking 8g of curcumin a day – one of the main compounds in turmeric.
Dieneke Ferguson had been diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and had undergone three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants
The cancer, which has an
average survival of just over five years, was causing increasing back pain and she had already had a second relapse.
But it stabilised after Mrs Ferguson, from north London, came across the remedy on the internet in 2011 and
decided to try it as a last resort.
The tablets are expensive – £50 for ten days – but as kitchen turmeric contains just 2 per cent curcumin it would be impossible to eat enough to get the same dose.
Mrs Ferguson, who was first
diagnosed in 2007, continues to take curcumin without further treatment and her cancer cell count is negligible.
Her doctors, from Barts Health NHS Trust in London, wrote in the British Medical Journal Case Reports: ‘To the best of our knowledge,
this is the first report in which curcumin has demonstrated an objective response in progressive disease in the absence of conventional treatment.’
The experts, led by Dr Abbas Zaidi, said some myeloma patients took dietary supplements alongside
conventional treatment but ‘few, if any, use dietary supplementation as an alternative to standard antimyeloma therapy’.
But they added: ‘In the absence of further antimyeloma treatment the patient plateaued and has remained stable
for the past five years with good quality of life.’
Since the turn of the century, more than 50 studies have tested curcumin – the pigment in turmeric that gives it that bright yellow colour.
They suggest the spice can protect against
several cancers, as well as Alzheimer’s, heart disease and depression.
It has also been shown to help speed recovery after surgery and effectively treat arthritis.
But although it is widely used in Eastern medicine, and has been studied
for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects, curcumin is not widely prescribed because it has never been tested in large-scale trials.
The doctors wrote that the ‘biological activity of curcumin is indeed remarkable’, including its
‘anti-proliferative effects in a wide variety of tumour cells’.
But Professor Jamie Cavenagh, one of the authors of the paper, stressed it may not work for all patients. He said: ‘A lot of my patients take curcumin at different stages
of their treatment. I don’t object to it.
‘Dieneke’s is the best response I have observed and it is clear-cut because we had stopped all other treatment.’
Mrs Ferguson, who runs Hidden Art, a not-for-profit business helping
artists market their work, is frustrated doctors cannot recommend the spice and wants more research carried out.
She said: ‘I hope my story will lead to more people finding out about the amazing health benefits of curcumin.’
affects some 5,500 people in the UK every year, killing nearly 3,000.