When I feel there is something “off” in my body, that’s when I reach for the turmeric. As our friends in India have known for an eternity, turmeric does wonders to reduce all kinds of swelling, from swollen ankles or knees to swollen nerves or joints.
So many of our disorders are due to inflammation of various sorts. Anything that ends in “-itis,” just for starters: bursitis, tendonitis, dermatitis, arthritis, etc.
And of course, auto-immune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and MS that activate an inflammatory response. In MS, for example, the swelling that accompanies the damage to the myelin sheaths surrounding the nerves can cause as much damage as the resulting scar tissue. Often, a corticosteroid such as oral prednisone or I.V. solu-medrol is prescribed to keep the swelling down.
Can you guess how I feel about putting corticosteroids into my body, particularly the long-term, maintenance-level doses that are often prescribed? The last time I took corticosteroids for a problem was in 1999. The prednisone gave me heartburn and packed on 30 lbs. in 3 weeks. The solu-medrol blew out my veins and gave me track marks. But these are just a few of the possible side effects of corticosteroid use noted by the Mayo Clinic. I honestly couldn’t tell if they helped reduce or lessen the optic neuritis (ooohhh… another “-itis!”), or if it just ran its course regardless.
Although I haven’t had a major Multiple Sclerosis exacerbation since 2002, I try to be hyper-aware of my body so that I can address anything that feels “off” before it swells (pardon the pun) into a larger issue.
Hot weather can make these things worse. One evening recently I noticed some new blurring of my eyesight. While it might have been from simple fatigue, ever since my bout with optic neuritis, incidents like this are enough to send me running for the turmeric.
Now that I drink my turmeric in hot milk it’s a much more pleasant treatment. This last time I enjoyed one cup at bedtime and another the next day and that’s all it took to clear up whatever was going on with my eyes.
My version of Turmeric Milk:
1 cup soy, coconut, or almond milk, warmed (I warm it in the microwave before adding anything else)
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
3-4 whole black peppercorns
Agave nectar or honey, to taste
Heat the milk and add the turmeric and peppercorns. Let steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking. You may strain out the powder and peppercorns if you wish, or just leave them in the bottom of the mug.
* The circumin in the peppercorns intensifies the power of the turmeric. I saw this posted from a reader of Arun Shunbhag’s blog and tried it. Now I’m a believer.