Can Turmeric Naturally Fight Bacterial, Viral, and Fungal Infections?
Have you heard about MRSA in the news? MRSA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to drug treatments. Alarmingly, MRSA is not alone-a growing number of bacteria (especially in the Enterobacteriaceae family), viruses, and fungi are becoming multiple drug resistant (MDR). This is why the healthcare community is urgently searching for new treatments-including herbal options. (v.1-3)
Turmeric has antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties that could make it a natural herbal alternative to fight off these infections. Turmeric compounds can also block MDR-1, a gene responsible for resistance to multiple antimicrobial drugs. (v.4-5)
In fact, turmeric and its active compounds are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for antiseptic and disinfectant solutions. Modern applications that take advantage of turmeric's antimicrobial properties include: (v.4)
Types of Infections
- Avian ("bird") flu (H1N1 and H6N1 types)
- Chemotherapy and radiation-associated respiratory infections
- Common cold
- Eye infections
- Food poisoning by bacteria, parasites, and molds in food and water (e.g., E. coli infections, listeria, and giardiasis)
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Herpes (HSV1 and HSV2)
- HIV (Human Immunosuppressant Virus)
- Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Otitis medea (ear infections)
- Staph infections (including MRSA)
- Stomach ulcers (Helicobacter pylori)
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Upper respiratory infections by bacteria and viruses (e.g., pneumonia)
How Can Turmeric Help?
Sometimes the benefits of turmeric compounds with infections aren't directly antimicrobial. However, they are just as beneficial:
Anti-Inflammatory Activity Reduce Risks Caused by Infection
- In TSS infections, curcumin's anti-inflammatory properties suppress a potentially deadly response by the immune system.
- HPV triggers inflammation that can lead to cancerous changes in cervical cells. Curcumin moderates the immune response to HPV and prevents HPV's inflammatory, carcinogenic activity.
Immune-Boosting Effects Block Opportunistic Microbes
People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of serious infection. Those with healthy immune systems are less likely to acquire conditions from microbes that typically live on our skin. Even when infected with bacteria that cause tuberculosis, people with healthy immunity typically do not develop the disease. (v.19-21)
For example, studies suggest that turmeric helps:
- Heal wounds (such as open sores and those from surgery) faster. (v.25-26)
- Prevent opportunistic infections and progression of HIV to AIDS. (v.25, 27-29)
- Prevent and treat cancer. (v.22, 30)
- Regulates and balances the immune system response, including for kidney transplant patients. (v.22, 31)
- Relieve symptoms and infection risks associated with COPD. (v.32)
- Promotes healthy metabolism and helps regulate blood sugar (important for diabetes prevention and treatment). (v.33)
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