Balance your superfoods, especially Tumeric

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Good morning everyone! Jokes aside, today I want to share a bit of information with you regarding Tumeric. The topic was raised with me three times yesterday by separate sources, and so I feel I need to discuss it further.

Tumeric – with it’s desirable health compound, curcumin – is all the buzz at the moment, and it has us Chinese Medicine doctors a little concerned.

First of all, long-term use, high doses, concentrated doses have not been thoroughly and appropriately researched. When the pharmaceutical world isolates an active compound (from nature) concentrates it and develops a drug for replication, many, many, many years of research go into it. While I’m not a fan (I wont get into the controversies surrounding modern research techniques here) there’s quite a bit of education behind its application.

For us traditional medicine practitioners we never isolate a compound, we use it in it’s whole form – complementary compounds and all. When you take curcumin and isolate it, all sorts of issue arise about it’s bio-availability through to changing it’s medicinal properties, potency and so on.

And some things just aren’t meant to be concentrated. Just because a beneficial healing property has been identified, does not mean more the merrier! In fact it is a case of quite the opposite. Balance is always the key to superb health and wellbeing. We have a little saying in Chinese Medicine “a little of something bad is better than a lot of something good”. Please ponder that a while.

One last but vital point…appropriate use and application. What is good for me is not good for my best friend – even if we both are experiencing the same problem. Chinese medicine herbalists understand that several patterns can underly the same presentation/disease/condition. What is healing for me, could be quite damaging for the next person because of the difference in underlying cause.

It’s true, a lot of people are getting a great pain-relief response – and this is one of the applications we use tumeric – known as huang jiang – for also. However, the flip side is that improper use can severely damage Yin and Blood, causing a whole set of other issues that you don’t want to be dealing with. We’re less likely to hear of these cases because as a internet researched, health-conscious society we whip ourselves up into a cure-all frenzy, and we’re less likely to hear the reality beneath the noise. We want to believe there is a one-stop-shop out there for us. Good marketing, a qualified doctor does not make.

When we do hear of the damaging effects it’s more done with distain, and a finger pointing “look, see how terrible herbal medicine is”. Herbal medicine is incredibly powerful and healing, but it is also quite damaging under the wrong circumstances.

It is important to seek the advice and guidance of a qualified herbalist. Don’t shy away from taking a little time and effort for proper medical attention from your traditional medicine practitioner.

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