Recently one friend of mine who just began the protocol informed me of this yellow spice. Turmeric. After searching a bit I was convinced to buy some. I did and realized that besides it’s really different taste (rather peppery) it is a really healthy spice widely spread in India and known for it’s unique properties. In fact if it is as healthy as they say I think it will become my favorite and most commonly used spice. I think it is an excellent choice to add to your diet. This is what I’ve found about turmeric, Multiple Sclerosis….and more.

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters Health) – Preliminary studies in rats suggest that curcumin, a compound found in the curry spice turmeric, may block the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to researcher Dr. Chandramohan Natarajan of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, rats with an MS-like illness showed little or no signs of disease symptoms after being injected with curcumin, while animals without the treatment went on to severe paralysis.

“We got a very good inhibition of the disease by treating with curcumin,” Natarajan told Reuters Health. He presented the findings here Tuesday at the annual Experimental Biology 2002 conference.”

“In their 30-day study, Natarajan and co-researcher Dr. John Bright gave injections of 50- and 100-microgram doses of curcumin, three times per week, to a group of mice bred to develop a disease called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)—an autoimmune condition used by researchers as a model for multiple sclerosis because it also results in the slow erosion of myelin. They then watched the rats for signs of MS-like neurological impairment.”

“By day 15, rats who had not received curcumin developed EAE to such an extent that they displayed complete paralysis of both hind limbs, according to Natarajan.

In contrast, rats given the 50-microgram dose of the curry compound showed only minor symptoms, such as a temporarily stiff tail. And rats given the 100-microgram dose appeared completely unimpaired throughout the 30 days of the study.

The results didn’t really surprise Natarajan. “In Asian countries, such as India, China, who are eating more spicy foods, more yellow compounds like curcumin…there are only very, very rare reports of MS,” he pointed out. He said the doses the rats received were roughly equivalent in human terms to those found in a typical Indian diet.

August 12, 2003
DrWeil.com

Q: You mention using turmeric as part of the treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Can you give me some information on its benefits for people with MS?

– Antonio Santillan

A: Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the yellow spice most familiar in Indian cooking and American prepared mustard. I recommend it for all inflammatory disorders and for autoimmune conditions, including MS. As you may know, MS begins with localized inflammatory damage to the myelin sheaths surrounding nerve fibers, due to an attack by the immune system. I recommend both turmeric and ginger, also a natural anti-inflammatory, for treatment of the inflammation that people with MS experience. Interesting results of laboratory research published in the June 15, 2002 issue of the Journal of Immunology suggest that turmeric may have more far-reaching effects for MS patients.

The researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that turmeric blocked the progression of an MS–like disease in mice. Although these findings are preliminary, the mice showed little or no sign of the symptoms of the disease after being injected three times a week with 50 and 100 microgram doses of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric. A group of mice who didn’t get the injections went on to develop severe symptoms of the disease.

The researcher who directed the study noted that in India and China, where people eat more spicy foods and more yellow compounds like curcumin, MS is a very rare disease. The amounts of curcumin the mice received were about the same as humans would consume in a typical Indian diet. No one knows how curcumin might block progression of MS. But these intriguing results suggest that eating foods flavored with turmeric might help. As an alternative, you can take turmeric extracts, such as New Chapter’s Turmericforce.

By the way, I believe that extracts of whole turmeric are more effective therapeutically than isolated curcumin. I’m afraid it’s going to take some time for researchers here to realize that the part does not equal the whole.

Dr. Andrew Weil:

See also: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78#healthbenefits