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There's mounting evidence of the multiple healing properties of turmeric against pain and common ailments such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Now, a study reveals that this miracle herb can help alleviate asthma among children and adolescents
As a medicinal herb, few remedies have been as widely used over the centuries as the root of Curcuma longa L., or turmeric. Its value to the scientific world proves to be as vast as treating 600 health conditions, thanks to its multiple healing properties.[i]
While even natural remedies may not be 100% free from side effects, turmeric has an exceptionally high margin of safety. In fact, turmeric is a wonder herb as its effects have been compared with that of ibuprofen, hydrocortisone and some chemotherapy agents.
Turmeric has long been the subject of thousands of peer-reviewed studies. Grown in Asia and Brazil, this perennial plant contains biomedical compounds known as curcuminoids, one of which is curcumin. Curcuminoids provide turmeric its bright golden color.
Turmeric has a reputation for giving pharmaceuticals a run for their money. Research has shown that turmeric can help ease the pain of patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis,[iv] [v] reverse symptoms of Alzheimer's disease,[vi] reduce atherogenic risk in Type 2 diabetes patients,[vii] and kill lethal pancreatic cancer cells.[viii]
Now, a new report has revealed that it can also be used as a natural remedy for children and adolescents suffering from childhood asthma.
Turmeric as a Natural Remedy for Childhood Asthma
The study, titled "Curcuma longa L. ameliorates asthma control in children and adolescents," was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.[ix] The participants involved in the study were children and adolescents ages 7 to 18 years, all of whom had persistent asthma.
They were divided into two groups, receiving either C. longa powdered roots or placebo -- approximately 30 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) per day, twice daily -- for six months, with the following specific doses: 7 to 10-year-olds, 500 mg/day; 11 to 14-year-olds, 750 mg/day, and 15 to 18-year-olds, 1,000 mg/day.
These doses translated to about 20, 30 and 40 mg/kg/day of curcuminoids respectively. The results of the study were as follows:
"We have shown that the powdered roots of C. longa, administered to children and adolescents with asthma, in addition to the standard treatment, compared to placebo, led to less frequent nighttime awakenings … and better disease control after 3 and 6 months."
This report confirms a previous study that showed curcumin can effectively improve asthma among patients when used as an add-on therapy.[x] Researchers encourage further studies to demonstrate the efficacy of turmeric and curcumin on a long-term scale.
The Difficulties of Suffering From Childhood Asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that limits air flow and causes wheezing, labored breathing (dyspnea) and cough. Statistics show that it may afflict more than 100 million worldwide by 2025.[xi] This inflammatory disease can be caused by several factors, including dietary, infectious and environmental triggers, as well as genetic and epigenetic predispositions.[xii]
Having childhood asthma causes difficulties for patients. Severe asthma attacks trigger visits to the emergency room as well as the injection of epinephrine to open up constricted passages. Thus the disease is often controlled conventionally using inhaled corticosteroids and inhaled long-acting beta-adrenergic agonists.[xiii]
Although some patients can effectively control their asthma, other patients are unable to do so. What's more, studies say that chronic exposure to corticosteroids can have adverse effects on children, including later in life. This is why many experts and parents clamor for safe, effective asthma treatments for children.[xiv]
[iii] Manarin G et al "Curcuma longa L. ameliorates asthma control in children and adolescents: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial" J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jun 28;238:111882. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111882. Epub 2019 Apr 13.
[iv] Vilai Kuptniratsaikul, Sunee Thanakhumtorn, Pornsiri Chinswangwatanakul, Luksamee Wattanamongkonsil, Visanu Thamlikitkul. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Int J Mol Med. 2010 May;25(5):729-34. PMID: 19678780
[v] Binu Chandran, Ajay Goel. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9.
[vi] Nozomi Hishikawa, Yoriko Takahashi, Yoshinobu Amakusa, Yuhei Tanno, Yoshitake Tuji, Hisayoshi Niwa, Nobuyuki Murakami, U K Krishna. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer's disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Ayu. 2012 Oct ;33(4):499-504. PMID: 23723666
[vii] Somlak Chuengsamarn, Suthee Rattanamongkolgul, Benjaluck Phonrat, Rungsunn Tungtrongchitr, Siwanon Jirawatnotai. Reduction of atherogenic risk in patients with type 2 diabetes by curcuminoid extract: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Feb ;25(2):144-50. Epub 2013 Nov 6. PMID: 24445038
[viii] Amalendu P Ranjan, Anindita Mukerjee, Lawrence Helson, Rohan Gupta, Jamboor K Vishwanatha. Efficacy of liposomal curcumin in a human pancreatic tumor xenograft model: inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis. Anticancer Res. 2013 Sep ;33(9):3603-9. PMID: 24023285
[ix] Manarin G et al "Curcuma longa L. ameliorates asthma control in children and adolescents: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial" J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jun 28;238:111882. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111882. Epub 2019 Apr 13.
[x] Abidi A et al "Evaluation of Efficacy of Curcumin as an Add-on therapy in Patients of Bronchial Asthma" J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Aug; 8(8): HC19–HC24. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2014/9273.4705
[xi] Masoli M et al "The global burden of asthma: executive summary of the GINA Dissemination Committee report" Allergy. 2004 May; 59(5):469-78.
[xiii] Manarin G et al "Curcuma longa L. ameliorates asthma control in children and adolescents: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial" J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jun 28;238:111882. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111882. Epub 2019 Apr 13.
[xiv] Manarin G et al "Curcuma longa L. ameliorates asthma control in children and adolescents: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial" J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jun 28;238:111882. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111882. Epub 2019 Apr 13