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Using Turmeric for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

By Daryl H. Bryant (554 words)
Posted in Living with MS on October 10, 2013

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Using Turmeric for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Many herbal remedies have recently gained recognition for their healing properties and significant improvement of common MS symptoms. In addition to an array of prescription medication, researchers are also continually looking into the possibility of alternative treatments which include herbal preparations. While still under investigation, the Indian spice known as curcumin or turmeric shows amazing promise in alleviating some multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Turmeric is a common spice used in many traditional Indian curry dishes. It comes from a flowering plant and contains chemical compounds known as curcuminoids. Scientists are particularly interested in the chemical derivative known as curcumin and have performed almost 700 studies to date.

In the past four years alone, researchers engaged in more than 400 studies that demonstrated curcumin's uncanny ability to display anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The most recent studies suggest that the chemical has neuro-protective abilities. 

Curcumin and MS Research

In 2002, Vanderbilt University physicians Dr. Chandramohan Natarjan and Dr. John Bright developed a study designed to evaluate whether curcumin had any beneficial effects on MS. For the sole purpose of the study, the scientists used mice bred with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, or EAE, which closely resembles the physiology that occurs in MS patients.

The researchers injected the young mice with 50 or 100 microgram doses of curcumin three times a week and observed the animals over a 30 day period. This dosage compares to the amount of the chemical commonly consumed in a diet of Indian cuisine. 

By the half-way point of the investigation, mice that did not receive injections of the chemical displayed advanced symptoms of EAE which included paralysis of the hind legs. Those who were administered 50 micrograms of curcumin exhibited lesser symptoms that included stiffness in the tail. The final group were given 100 micrograms of the herb and remained completely unaffected throughout the month long trial. 

During the course of the study, the physicians discovered that curcumin prevents the demyelinization of delicate nerve tissue. They suggest that the chemical may interfere with the production of a protein known as IL-12. Scientists believe that this protein initiates a response from immune cells known as Th1 cells that play an active role in myelin destruction. 

More Recent Studies

An article published in a 2007 edition of the “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” suggested that studies indicate curcumin helps to alleviate MS symptoms by regulating inflammatory chemical compounds known as cytokines.

Another study performed in 2009 and published in “International Immunopharmacology” successfully duplicated the research and findings of the 2002 investigation performed at Vanderbilt University. In 2011, evidence was published by scientists in “International Immunopharmacology” that curcumin does in fact demonstrate anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties and may prove beneficial in slowing the progression of MS

Before beginning any new herbal regime or supplement; patients should seek the guidance of a qualified physician to ensure their current medication routine will not be affected. For more information about Turmeric and its healing properties for symptoms of MS, refer to Chapter 6 of the MS – Living Symptom Free book.

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