Medicinal properties of Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper

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I've heard Christian Wilde a few times on Coast, talking about the benefits of turmeric, but I've been eating a lot of cayenne pepper (mentioned on the show, more info on capsaicin) and curry for a long time.

There's lots of info about turmeric at Wilde's site at

Over the last several years, there has been increasing interest in turmeric and its medicinal properties. This is partially evidenced by the large numbers of scientific studies published on this topic. Turmeric ( Curcuma longa ), a flowering plant in the ginger family, is widely used as a food coloring and is one of the principal ingredients in curry powder. Turmeric has long been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive disorders and liver problems, and for the treatment of skin diseases and wound healing. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been the subject of numerous animal studies—but as of yet, very few studies on people—demonstrating various medicinal properties. Curcumin has been shown, for example, to stimulate the production of bile and to facilitate the emptying of the gallbladder. It has also demonstrated in animals a protective effect on the liver, anti-tumor action, and ability to reduce inflammation and fight certain infections.

While turmeric has a long history of use by herbalists, most studies to date have been conducted in the laboratory or in animals and it is not clear that these results apply to people. Nevertheless, research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions.

Digestive Disorders

(stomach upset, gas, abdominal cramps): The German Commission E (an authoritative body that determined which herbs could be safely prescribed in that country and for which purpose[s]) approved turmeric for a variety of digestive disorders. Curcumin, for example, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, induces the flow of bile, which helps break down fats. In an animal study, extracts of turmeric root reduced secretion of acid from the stomach and protected against injuries such as inflammation along the stomach (gastritis) or intestinal walls and ulcers from certain medications, stress, or alcohol. Further studies are needed to know to what extent these protective effects apply to people as well.


Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals containing turmeric as well as Withinia somnifera (winter cherry), Boswellia serrata (Boswellia), and zinc significantly reduced pain and disability. While encouraging for the value of this Ayurvedic combination therapy to help with osteoarthritis, it is difficult to know how much of this success is from turmeric alone, one of the other individual herbs, or the combination of herbs working in tandem.


Early studies suggest that turmeric may prove helpful in preventing the build up of atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries that can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke) in one of two ways. First, in animal studies an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and inhibited the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Oxidized LDL deposits in the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Turmeric may also prevent platelet build up along the walls of an injured blood vessel. Platelets collecting at the site of a damaged blood vessel cause blood clots to form and blockage of the artery as well. Studies of the use of turmeric to prevent or treat heart disease in people would be interesting in terms of determining if these mechanisms discovered in animals apply to people at risk for this condition.


There has been a substantial amount of research on turmeric's anti-cancer potential.  Evidence from laboratory and animal studies suggests that curcumin has potential in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Human studies will be necessary before it is known to what extent these results may apply to people. * ( Wilde Research Report Newsletter has updated cancer info)

Roundworms and Intestinal worms

Laboratory studies suggest that curcuminoids, the active components of turmeric, may reduce the destructive activity of parasites or roundworms.

Liver Disease

Animal studies provide evidence that turmeric can protect the liver from a number of damaging substances such as carbon tetrachloride and acetominophen (also called paracetamol, this medication, used commonly for headache and pain, can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities or in someone who drinks alcohol regularly.) Turmeric accomplishes this, in part, by helping to clear such toxins from the body and by protecting the liver from damage.

Bacterial Infection

Turmeric's volatile oil functions as an external antibiotic, preventing bacterial infection in wounds.


In animal studies, turmeric applied to wounds hastens the healing process.

Mosquito Repellent

A mixture of the volatile oils of turmeric, citronella, and hairy basil, with the addition of vanillin (an extract of vanilla bean that is generally used for flavoring or perfumes), may be an alternative to D.E.E.T., one of the most common chemical repellents commercially available.

Eye Disorder

One study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the sclera [white outer coat of the eye] and the retina [the back of the eye]) suggests that curcumin may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder. The uvea contains many of the blood vessels that nourish the eye. Inflammation of this area, therefore, can affect the cornea, the retina, the sclera, and other important parts of the eye. More research is needed to best understand whether curcumin may help treat this eye inflammation.


While turmeric may be helpful for the treatment of inflammatory conditions in children, appropriate doses have not yet been established. Until more information is available, consider adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of turmeric for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.


There's more info, recommended dosage and citations at the page, along with the links to buy the supplements.

Personally, I'm not big on supplements.  For one, I forget to take them.  And I sure can't imagine taking numerous pills. 

I've also often heard that pills don't even get digested. I have no idea whether that's true, but I just eat my food and knock on wood, I'm ok.  Haven't seen a doctor for any illness in over 20 years and hope to keep it that way.  And that's one reason why I'm interested in spices and herbs.

Of course not every herb is good for everybody and there's a lot to know about side effects and conditions when you should avoid them.  I'd really like to see a comprehensive reference guide with verified citations.

I ordered a pound of Turmeric from Frontier, but accidentally ordered regular instead of organic.  It was so cheap ($3.45), I might just use it as COLOR for my lime finish coat on my walls.  I already have a fairly dark red and the mix might look just like the dirt here.  I'm trying to have my house blend in with the desert.

Right now I'm seeing floaters again (stress), but I don't know of spices or herbs that would help and I already know that doctors can't do anything about them.  I just have to  find a lawyer to deal with [CENSORED].

It's ironic, isn't it?

Her former patient might have lied about doctor [CENSORED] almost killing her, but her harassment lawsuit and her minions might just kill me.

The strangeness ...