Article Written By: Dr. Jacqueline Moulton, ND BSc.(Hons)
You’ve heard me talk about Turmeric and its benefits in pain management, especially Osteoarthritis. However, as I said in my previous blog post, Turmeric has many health benefits and thus in this blog post we will focus on it’s affects on Allergies!
Let’s see what the research has to say:
Allergic rhinitis “hay fever”. Clinical research shows that taking a specific curcumin product (Organika Health Products) 500 mg daily for 2 months significantly reduces nasal symptoms including sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion compared with placebo in people with allergic rhinitis.
Pruritus “Itchiness”. Clinical research shows that taking a specific combination product (C3 Complex, Sami Labs LTD) containing curcumin 1 gram plus extract from black pepper or long pepper (Bioperine) daily for 4 weeks reduces pruritus severity and improves quality of life compared to placebo in patients with sulfur mustard-induced chronic pruritus.
So how can a plant help reduce seasonal allergies such as runny nose, sneezing, itching & congestion? Well first let’s understand what causes these allergic responses in the first place.
Ragweed is a common environmental allergen so let’s use it as an example. So, you’re going for a walk outside and you come across a field of ragweed. As the wind picks up, you breathe in tiny particles in the air called pollen. If you’re allergic to Ragweed then your body’s immune system goes into overdrive to kill off what it deems as a potential pathogenic organism. This is called a Hypersensitivity reaction. Watch this YouTube video for more detail as to what happens during this allergic response.
In summary, during seasonal allergic reactions, one develops a Type 1 Hypersensitivity reaction involving an immediate IgE mediated mast cell degranulation, releasing Histamine and cytokines leading to excess mucus, vasodilation, bronchoconstriction & leaky vessels or edema in the upper respiratory tract. Furthermore, a delayed secondary reaction involving leukocytes such as eosinophils can cause cell damage, making symptoms worse & last longer.
Now that you understand the science behind an allergic reaction, let’s review how Turmeric helps reduce allergenic rhinitis:
Anti-allergy effects: Human research suggests that treatment with curcumin decreases the production of inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins from monocytes and neutrophils. Inflammatory cytokines include IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α which are not the cytokines reflected in the pathway in the video. However, Prostaglandins are released by Eosinophils and Mast cells as part of their destruction to epithelial cells. This is most likely the reason for Turmeric’s benefit and thus it may not help with the immediate response but rather the secondary delayed response with Prostaglandin production from both Mast cells and Eosinophils.
Respiratory effects: Turmeric is commonly used for bronchitis and respiratory infections. Curcumin appears to inhibit lung inflammation & airway hyperreactivity. Potential mechanisms of action included the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines, reduced neutrophil levels, antioxidant effects, effects on NF-kappa B cell signaling, protection of the anti-inflammatory protein histone deacetylase-2, and decreased nitric oxide synthase activity.
Well there you have it. Turmeric can be used to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis. As well as taken daily to prevent allergic type responses. That being said, this is not to be used for more life threatening allergic response such as Anaphylaxis or Angioedema.
If you enjoy adding Turmeric to your food over taking supplements, I recommend that you do some research into where it’s sourced & cultivated… also you don’t want any hidden added ingredients. I recommend Miski Organics for all my pantry staples; this is because it’s a local (Burlington) family run business that provides high quality products.
Turmeric is not the only plant that can help with seasonal allergies… Are you fed up with your allergies and looking for natural ways to reduce your symptoms? Then it’s time to book in for a Naturopathic visit. Currently Dr. J. Moulton is booking patients “In Person” at our Burlington office: Balance Integrative Health & IV Therapy clinic into January 2021.
All virtual visits will be conducted from the St. Catharine’s office please follow the booking link below instead for virtual appointments.