An article in Science Daily says that a derivative of the popular Middle Eastern spice turmeric, or curcumin, its active ingredient, shows promise for repairing damage due to stroke.
The medicinal properties of turmeric have been known since ancient times in Southeast Asia. It has been used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises, as an antibacterial agent and as an anti-inflammatory recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has also been used as a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal conditions and is now being studied for possible use in cancer, Alzheimers, and AIDS in addition to stroke.
If it sounds like turmeric is a wonder drug, it is. And there are others just like it. The reason I include it on a site devoted to Rheumatoid Arthritis is that spices and other botanicals can be little miracles just waiting to be discovered.
My friend Maria had a chronic asthma-related cough for many years that numerous doctors had been unable to fix. She called it her air pollution cough, since anything floating in the air, like cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust or perfume, set it off. It was so constant and so intense that she thought she was headed to an early disability retirement. To control the severe hacking she was taking theophylline, a prescription drug that comes with a warning of possible sudden death. It was only marginally useful for her cough.
On an extended car trip one day she took ginger to control motion sickness. The ginger worked the way it was supposed to and eliminated her nausea, but something else happened. To her stunned amazement, her cough vanished.
She and I combed the medical literature and searched for anecdotal evidence but could find no mention anywhere that ginger could affect an asthmatic, chronic cough. We began to think that Maria had found magic that was unique to herself. But that wasn’t true.
Eventually we unearthed the rest of the story. In addition to its many well-known medicinal properties, including as an anti-inflammatory, ginger has another characteristic that is less known. It is a powerful anti-spasmodic, which is why it calmed her cough. How many other spasm-related conditions could this simple spice, easily available and found in most kitchen pantries, cure if more people knew?
Strictly by accident, Maria had stumbled into her own personal miracle. And that is my point. Expect a miracle. You never know when one is waiting in plain sight for you to show up.
Continue reading “Herbs, Spices, Botanicals: Expect a Miracle”