Monday, August 25, 2014

Turmeric helps reduce pain and promotes recovery after surgery

It has been seen that despite using opioids, medications and regional anesthesia, upto 30% of patients feel acute pain after surgery. 10%-50% of patients suffer persistent pain after operation based on the kind of surgery performed. There are no established techniques to prevent such pain.

Since turmeric that has been used in traditional ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic agent a study was conducted on mice to guage its effectiveness for treating postoperative pain.

The study was conducted by Stanford University's Dept of Anesthesia. Using the hind paw incision model the study attempted to assess pain by measuring sensitization to mechanical and thermal stimuli as well as effects on edema and temperature up to 7 days after surgery. Spontaneous pain after incision was determined by using conditioned place preference (CPP), and changes in movement were measured using multiparameter digital gait analysis.

Curcumin a phenolic constituent of turmeric administered to the mice at the rate of 50 mg/kg caused significant reduction in the intensity of mechanical and heat sensitization. No effects of curcumin on baseline nociceptive thresholds were observed. Curcumin also reduced swelling after incision. Moreover, treating the mice with curcumin before operation reduced hyperalgesic priming or the long lasting hypersensitivity to inflammatory stimuli when prostaglandin E2 was later given to the hindpaw.

Mice who had not been given the curcumin showed spontaneous pain 48 hours after incision in the CPP paradigm. However there was no observation of ongoing pain in the mice treated with curcumin. In gait-related indices, hindpaw incision caused changes, but most of these were normalized in the curcumin-treated mice. The peri-incisional levels of several pronociceptive immune mediators including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor α, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α were either not reduced or were even augmented 1 and 3 days after incision in curcumin-treated mice. The anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was unchanged, while transforming growth factor-β levels were enhanced under the same conditions.

The study showed that turmeric extract was useful in reducing pain and promoting recovery from surgical incisions.

More information on Turmeric and its benefits:

  • Turmeric Capsules

  • Turmeric heals boils, cysts and wounds

  • Turmeric in the fight against cancer


    Anesth Analg. 2014 Jun;118(6):1336-44. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000189.
    Curcumin treatment attenuates pain and enhances functional recovery after incision.
    Sahbaie P1, Sun Y, Liang DY, Shi XY, Clark JD.
    Author information
    1From the *Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California; and †Anesthesiology Service, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California.
  • Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Holy Basil - Health Benefits & Uses

    Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a plant indigenous to India. Worshipped in Hindu homes, this plant has remarkable health benefits giving rise to its name of Tulsi in Sanskrit or "the incomparable one".

    Himalaya Holy Basil 
    Holy Basil's benefits stem from its properties of being an adaptogenic and aiding the body in adapting to various kinds of stress. It has also been suggested to possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antifungal, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiemetic, antispasmodic, anti-congestant properties.

    In traditional ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil has been used in respiratory conditions, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, eye diseases, fever and insect bites. Its active constituent Eugenol has been considered to be primarlily responsible for its benefial potential.

    The following studies reflect some of these benefits.

    A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that the leaf extract of Holy Basil administered to rats protected them against mutation causing toxic agents. Lipid and protein oxidation was reduced and antioxidant defenses were raised.

    In a 2007 study in the Journal of Natural Products, new compounds from Holy Basil leaf extract were isolated. These along with known compounds were found to reduce stress in rats by normalizing hyperglycemia, plasma corticosterone, plasma creatine kinase, and adrenal hypertrophy.

    In a study published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, a group of oral cancer patients were given radiation along with Holy Basil flavonoids while a second group was given radiation alone. In the group that received the Tulsi flavonoids, a significant reduction in glutathione levels was found. Results suggested that erythrocytes from cancer patients reacted to oxidative stress by raising glutathione levels, while the free radical scavenging effect of Holy Basil kept the glutathione levels low in patients who received the Tulsi flavonoids.

    Holy Basil leaves were fed to rabbits for 30 days. Anemic hypoxia was then induced in them chemically. Results showed that the Tulsi leaves inhibited cardiorespiratory changes in response to stress. There was also a decrease in blood sugar level, increase in antioxidants (superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione). The results suggested that the antistress activity of Holy basil is partially due to its antioxidant properties.

    In a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacological Therapy, the effects of treatment with holy basil leaves on blood glucose and serum cholesterol levels in humans were shown. Results showed a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels when holy basil leaves were administered compared to treatment with placebo leaves. Fasting blood glucose fell by 21.0 mg/dl, and postprandial blood glucose fell by 15.8 mg/dl. The lower values of glucose represented reductions of 17.6% and 7.3% in the levels of fasting and postprandial blood glucose, respectively. Urine glucose levels also showed a downward trend. Mean total cholesterol levels showed mild reduction during basil treatment period. Findings suggest that holy basil leaves may be useful as adjunct therapy in mild to moderate NIDDM.

    More information on Holy Basil / Tulsi


    J Med Food. 2007 Sep;10(3):495-502.
    Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.

    J Nat Prod. 2007 Sep;70(9):1410-6. Epub 2007 Sep 13.
    Constituents of Ocimum sanctum with antistress activity.

    Indian J Clin Biochem. 2005 Jan;20(1):160-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02893064.
    Effect of ocimum flavonoids as a radioprotector on the erythrocyte antioxidants in oral cancer.

    Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Jul-Aug;29(6):411-6.
    Antistressor activity of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) against experimentally induced oxidative stress in rabbits.

    Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996 Sep;34(9):406-9.
    Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

    Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):125-31.
    Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review.