Living with Lupus

Turmeric: Research, Recipes, and Lupus Benefits

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Why Are So Many People Talking About Using Turmeric for Lupus?

If you look all across the web, from message boards to articles, one of the top conversations around lupus you will find is people looking for natural remedies for lupus. One of the natural remedies you will come across is turmeric. While it can be tempting to try holistic remedies, it is always important to do your research and talk with your doctor first.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric or tumeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant of the ginger family that is native to southern Asia. If you have ever had Indian, Pakistan, or Irani food, it is likely that you have tried something with turmeric powder. Most of the research around the health benefits of revolve around curcumin, a compound which constitutes 3.14% (on average) of powdered turmeric.


What Does The Research Say About Turmeric For Lupus?

According to this study of studies, Curcumin (a compound found in turmeric) has been demonstrated to be safe in six human trials and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. Research specific to turmeric for lupus has been done on patients with lupus nephritis. This study of 24 people, concluded that “short-term turmeric supplementation can decrease proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory lupus nephritis.”

Overall, while there is some evidence that turmeric can help with lupus symptoms, the research is far from conclusive.

Additional Research

According to this study overview, which analyzed the impact of curcumin on autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, all but two studies measured clinical outcomes. “These two studies solely measured inflammatory markers and oxidative stress indicators. In 13 of the studies, dietary curcumin intake resulted in improvement of at least 2 clinical measures.

Furthermore, seven studies showed improvement of at least three clinical measures. Studies with positive clinical outcomes most commonly reported increased walking distance and decreased WOMAC scores. One study reported no significant improvements of pain and function, although there was a tendency towards improved scores. A total of eight studies reported laboratory findings after curcumin supplementation. Five of the eight studies reported either significantly decreased inflammatory markers or oxidative stress markers. In three studies, patients continued NSAID use in conjunction to the administered curcumin supplementation.”


4 Health Benefits of Turmeric & Curcumin

Curcumin Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

  • It is an anti-inflammatory compound, and can often match the effectiveness of certain anti-inflammatory medications and drugs.

Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

  • It can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. It can also improve memory.

Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties

  • Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, studies have shown the positive impact of compounds in turmeric. These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin content in turmeric is roughly only 3% by weight.

Studies Show Positive Impact of Curcumin On Depression

  • Depression is linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin boosts BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin. 

Learn more, here.


Turmeric Recipes

Golden Milk Turmeric Tea

Ingredients include:

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, preferably coconut milk beverage or almond milk
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • Ground cinnamon (for serving)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece turmeric, unpeeled, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  1. Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon.
  2. Prepare Ahead of Time: Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.

For full recipe, click here.

Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

Ingredients include:

  • 1 banana (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 oranges (mandrin, peeled and separated)
  • 1 cup mango (chunks)
  • 1 cup papaya (chunks)
  • Cup of ice
  • 1 inch turmeric root (fresh, peeled and sliced)

How To Prepare:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
  2. Feel free to use frozen mango and papaya and omit the ice. You can sub 1 tsp of ground turmeric if you can’t find fresh. It’s pretty readily available these days, though and is a lot more nutrient packed.

For full recipe, click here.


Should I Try Turmeric?

Make sure to consult your doctor and lupus treatment team regarding new treatments and the use of natural remedies!

Comments (4)

4 thoughts on “Turmeric: Research, Recipes, and Lupus Benefits

    1. What if you are on Coumadin? I am an APS patient that is on blood thinners, is there a safe way to add Turmeric?

    2. YES. I’ve been using turmeric for several years but recently started using fresh turmeric in my every day cooking. which I can find a good price at the local Asian market. For the past two months I’ve been using fresh in my food daily. It may be coincidental but my eGFR has been sitting in low 30’s for over year. May 1 my eGFR was 42! I know there is a lot of variables so I can’t say it was one thing or the other. It worth noting I started been Benlysta 12/2020.

      Surprising my favorite turmeric recipe isn’t drunken noodles. It is instant pot
      dry black beans, cut up turmeric, Garlic, and onions. I don’t cook with salt and I found that turmeric is a nice spice.

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