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A note on Turmeric

Since this month is about inflammation and turmeric is the most well known and widely used plant for dealing with symptoms of inflammation, I want to do a little article about it.

You see a lot of supplements out there that contain something called curcumin. People assume this is the same thing as turmeric. It is not. Curcumin is an isolated component from turmeric. It is extracted with solvents such as hexane, acetate, and ethanol. This is because it is thought to be the active component that makes turmeric so effective.

To me, this is another situation where man is imposing his limited ideals on nature by going to a lab and extracting the ONE part of a plant that is thought to be the effective part.

I disagree with this method. ALL PARTS OF THE PLANT ARE IMPORTANT!

Plants grow as they grow with all of their parts and pieces and components. This is the way that most of them should be used.

When we isolate something from a plant, we can open the door for some weird things to happen. Side effects can occur because the supportive parts of the plant that may have helped with processing the plant have been removed. Salicylic Acid is a really good example here. Now there are TRUE allergies to salicylic acid, and those people should avoid aspirin or things that contain salicylic acid, even plants. However, many of these are "sensitivities" which are reactions to the isolated component. People that get stomach aches from aspirin, often will do ok with white willow bark, meadowsweet, or birch bark. This is because along with the salicylic acid, there are other things that allow us to process it without the stomach pain.

People in the cannabis industry will be super familiar with isolates and the issues they can cause.........contamination to mention just one of them.

Plants were not intended to be ripped apart and have one component removed because someone thinks it will be more powerful that way.

Plants are allies, friends, and will lend their support to us if we make that connection with them. AND if we are patient. Plants dont pack the punch that isolates do, and they shouldn't. Plant medicine is powerful and gentle. It is slower medicine that works very well in combination with lifestyle choices and changes. To me, the isolate is typically for the person that doesn't have the patience to develop a connection with a plant and doesn't want to make lifestyle changes. They want a quick acting something so they can carry on with things as usual.

And yes there is always someone who has had great benefits from curcumin supplements.And perhaps there is a time and a place for them. They are not, however, a replacement for whole plant medicine. There is a whole different thing going on. A different connection and exchange and respect. And those things are incredibly important.

I highly encourage people to use whole turmeric in fresh or powdered form from a good source. And to avoid the curcumin.

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This is such a good reminder!

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