Turmeric Compounds Can Help with Infections of the Heart
A viral infection that reaches the heart can be a deadly affair. That's because it can lead to inflammation of the membrane (called the myocardium) that surrounds the heart: (vii.245-246)
The heart muscle enlarges to compensate for damaged tissue and lost function. Some researchers suggest viral myocarditis is a rare condition that affects up to 4% of people infected by certain types of viruses. However, others indicate that between 5 and 15% of people infected develop myocarditis. 10-20% of those with myocarditis progress to potentially fatal heart failure, abnormal heartbeat, and possibly dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). (vii.245-246)
Types of Viruses that Can Cause Viral Myocarditis
A number of common viruses can lead to infection in the heart. These include: (vii.246)
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Hepatitis C
- influenza and parainfluenza
The types that most commonly lead to myocarditis are often those that infect infants and young children. (vii.246)
How Can Turmeric Help?
Current treatment for myocarditis is typically therapy to maintain heart rhythm and blood pressure. Current and ongoing research studies (including clinical trials) are exploring drugs that: (vii.245)
- Suppress the inflammatory immune system response.
- Block how viruses hijack our own defense mechanisms.
Preventing Viral Myocarditis
In the lab, turmeric's curcumin compounds potently inhibit coxsackievirus, one of the main causes of viral myocarditis. Viruses stimulate production of a certain type of enzymes called proteasomes. It uses proteasomes to degrade the antiviral proteins the body makes to defend itself, enabling the virus to replicate. (vii.245, 260)
Curcumin from turmeric stops this activity and dramatically reduces viral replication. It also protects already infected cells from the damaging effects of coxsackievirus. (vii.260)
Treating Viral Myocarditis
Animal research suggests that the turmeric compound could also help treat viral myocarditis. In one recently published study in mice with myocarditis caused by coxsackievirus, curcumin: (vii.261)
- Improved clinical symptoms by reducing weight loss.
- Significantly reduced multiple markers for inflammation (e.g., inflammatory cytokines and transcription factor proteins).
- Increased survival.
Ayurveda recommends taking a mixture of 2 grams of turmeric
combined with a little less than 7 ounces of tulsi (basil) juice twice daily to help treat measles.
You can find basil juice online at Amazon. (xiii.35)
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