Hello. Welcome to this webinar on Healing Chronic Inflammation with Herbs. I'm your host, Rosalee de la Forêt, and I'm so glad you're joining me for this very important topic.
As an herbalist and someone who believes in nature-based health, I love peeling back the layers to find the root cause of illnesses. It makes sense for us to actually address the cause of something rather than mask the problem with short term, band-aid solutions.
I spent years as a clinical herbalist specializing in working with people with chronic illness—and time and time again, I saw that chronic inflammation was the underlying factor for so many diseases. Chronic inflammation is this insidious imbalance that just wreaks havoc in our bodies. Left unchecked, it can cause many different health problems, including:
And you don't have to be sick or diagnosed with a disease to suffer from chronic inflammation. Daily fatigue, minor aches and pains, feeling mentally foggy—those can all be caused by chronic inflammation.
Helping people address chronic inflammation is something I'm passionate about. I've worked one-on-one with folks for years to do just that. And if you're familiar with my books, articles and YouTube videos, then you know that I often mention chronic inflammation.
But now we have another reason to really take chronic inflammation seriously. Over the past year, there's been numerous studies showing that people who suffered the most with COVID-19 were often those with higher levels of chronic inflammation.
It's clear that chronic inflammation puts us at risk, not only for chronic illness, but also for acute viral infections.
For today's webinar, I've put together critical information that you need in order to understand how we can turn to herbs to address chronic inflammation. I'm also excited to share the details on my brand new workshop, Cooling Inflammation.
And if you know me, then you know I like to dive right in. I value your time and I want you to walk away from this webinar with new insights and actionable steps that will make a difference in your life. I don't like fluff and I don't need to give you 30 slides showing you how awesome I am. I'm awesome, you're awesome, let's get started.
The first topic I want to dive into is why chronic inflammation remains such a big issue. In the health world, it's well known that chronic inflammation is a huge problem. This isn't something that I came up with. If you walked into a room of health professionals and shouted, "Chronic inflammation is the underlying cause of most of the diseases plaguing the Western world," chances are those folks in the room would nod and say, "Yeah, I know."
So if we know that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many chronic illnesses, and if we know that chronic inflammation kills people prematurely or seriously degrades their quality of life because of pain, discomfort, digestive problems, etc, why haven't we solved this problem?
I have my theories. The first is that Western medicine is based on what I call the one-solution syndrome. At its most basic, Western medicine works by a doctor diagnosing someone with a recognized disease and then prescribing the pill to relieve the symptoms of that disease. But there's no pill to actually cure chronic inflammation.
There are clever pills and substances that temporarily inhibit inflammation; for example, dermatologists might recommend steroid creams to address inflammatory rashes or someone may choose to take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to relieve pain. But while those work remarkably well in the short term, they are only temporary solutions because the inflammation just comes right back. Worse is that taking these pharmaceuticals long-term has serious consequences. Steroid creams thin the skin. Ibuprofen and similar drugs can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, something that causes over 16,000 deaths every year.
The side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs are no joke.
So Western medicine struggles with chronic inflammation because it's a system that's based on suppressing symptoms with pills and not actually curing the root cause. Okay, I admit that may be a bit unfair to Western medicine because there is a growing awareness of holistic care. More and more, I hear those in the Western medicine field recommending diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices to bring about healthier outcomes. So basically all those things that herbalists and naturopaths and other naturally health-inclined practitioners have been basing their foundations on is coming into style in Western medicine. And in my opinion, that change can't happen soon enough. But the other hurdle that Western medicine faces is how poorly it's set up, mainly due to the meddling of insurance agencies. Doctors simply aren't given the necessary time to share vital information with their patients.
So instead, they can say, “Eat well, exercise!” as they scoot the patient out the door and then welcome the next one in.
Obviously, telling folks to eat well and exercise isn't working, otherwise chronic inflammation wouldn't continue to be such a huge problem.
There's another big issue in dealing with chronic inflammation. The nature of chronic inflammation is that there's no one solution of any kind out there. You are unique, your aunt Jane is unique, your coworker Tracy is unique and everyone needs a unique solution. And in recognizing all the variations of unique individuals and unique ways that chronic inflammation manifests, we can see there's an overwhelming amount of choices out there.
I recently wrote to my herbal community to ask them about how chronic inflammation affects them. And I received over 200 email replies. I read each one a couple of times, and one common experience was complete overwhelm and confusion at all the different ways to address chronic inflammation.
What adds to this overwhelm and confusion is that so-called health gurus in the alternative health world latch onto their chosen fad of the day. And then they say superlative statements like, "X is the cause of inflammation and you need Y and only Y to cure it. And oh, by the way, I happen to sell Y—come check it out." Yuck. And then you see these 20 different experts calling for 20 different cures. Yes, it gets overwhelming and confusing fast.
Another tactic of the alternative health world is to engage with fear by calling everything toxic, even foods, and then impose severe and strict protocols that eliminate lots of foods and have people afraid of every little thing that they consume. Being fearful of foods is no way to live. The steps to feeling great shouldn't feel like a punishment.
Here's the thing: we need a different way to address chronic inflammation. This new way needs to be based on real solutions that are simple and practical. And that's why I created the Cooling Inflammation Workshop.
I take a different view on chronic inflammation. Instead of fear, judgment and shame, I think the path forward is joyful curiosity.
And instead of focusing on eliminating things from our lives in a way that feels like punishment, I know it's far more powerful to welcome healing herbs and therapies into our lives. As I've mentioned, there's no one cure for inflammation.
In the Cooling Inflammation workshop, we look at the many core solutions for addressing chronic inflammation from herbs and beyond. And in this webinar, I'm going to focus on three herbs that we can bring into our lives that will really make a big difference. That's because herbs are often a missing piece. They're definitely missing from the Western medicine sphere and in the alternative health world, too often, only exotic herbs are showcased. But even amongst herb lovers, it can be a struggle to know how to work with herbs to get results.
Dosage, best preparation and duration are critical when working with herbs. This information is often only taught in clinical herbal trainings. And then it's perfected when someone works with hundreds of clients and sees what really gets results. In other words, there's a big difference between 'turmeric is good for inflammation' and then how to actually work with turmeric to get the results that you're looking for.
But you don't have to go to years of clinical herbalist training or work with hundreds of clients to be able to use herbs well. That's what I'm here for—to share my knowledge so that you can get what you need to be successful.
The next topic I want to cover before we get to the herbs is how herbs are different from pharmaceutical drugs. I want to be very clear that working with herbs to address chronic inflammation is not the same thing as taking pharmaceutical drugs for inflammation.
And here's some reasons why. Sometimes herbs are referred to as anti-inflammatories, but I don't think that term is very accurate. Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories shut off all inflammation in the body. The problem with that approach is that not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation, especially acute inflammation can be an important part of the body's healing process, especially for bumps, bruises, and other injuries, even big ones.
In these situations, inflammation is your body's way of starting the healing process. It's basically like waving a big flag at the scene of an accident to communicate, "Hey, there's a problem here. We need help." So it's very rare that we want to shut off inflammation during acute stages of healing.
Long-term or chronic inflammation is of course problematic, but simply shutting down inflammatory processes without addressing why the inflammation is present can create more problems in the long-term. It's important to know that herbs don't act like a single-minded pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory; in many ways, they are a lot more sophisticated.
Rather than simply shutting down inflammatory responses in the short term, they modulate inflammation in a variety of different ways, whether that's addressing oxidative stress, soothing inflamed tissues, or even by stimulating your own body's natural processes to address inflammation like stimulating glutathione production, which I'll talk more about what that means exactly later in the presentation. Which is all to say that you rarely hear me say that herbs are anti-inflammatories; instead, I more commonly say that herbs modulate inflammation.
Okay. So now I'm going to switch over to looking at specific herbs for chronic inflammation. I'll share a couple of my favorite herbs, and then I'll give you all the details for the new Cooling Inflammation workshop. Then I'll finish up with a very special herb for inflammation.
Our first herb is the thorny and brambly hawthorn. Hawthorn is famous for powerfully supporting heart health. It's been an important part of the herbalist apothecary for thousands of years. And recent studies have confirmed its benefits for people with mild to even moderate heart disease. Hawthorn undoubtedly has many gifts. And one of the main ways we think it works is by reducing chronic inflammation, which is often the main underlying cause of heart disease.
With heart disease being the number one cause of death in the United States, it's surprising and admittedly sad that more people don't know about hawthorn. Many commonly prescribed medications for the heart actually deplete the body of nutrients necessary for heart health. Statins, commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, deplete the body of CoQ10, an important enzyme for a healthy heart. Diuretics commonly prescribed for high blood pressure deplete the body of potassium; potassium deficiency leads to an irregular heartbeat. Hawthorn nourishes and strengthens the heart, which is something that no other pharmaceutical can lay claim to.
So how does hawthorn work? Well, like most herbs, hawthorn works in numerous and complex ways, many of which we don't understand yet. However, one important factor is hawthorn's high flavonoid content.
Heart disease, as I've said, is often related to inflammation and regularly eating foods and herbs high in flavonoids has been shown to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress.
I do have to mention that if you are taking pharmaceuticals for your heart health, I'm not recommending that you stop them and then start taking hawthorn. That's often a complicated process that really needs direct one-on-one care. But what I would love to see is that people being recently diagnosed with heart disease were given the option of trying hawthorn and other natural therapies first to see if that could help before moving on to drugs with serious side effects.
Hawthorn is undoubtedly amazing for the heart, but hawthorn isn't just for the heart. Like most herbs, it rarely does one thing. Instead, hawthorn can be a powerful ally against many kinds of inflammation.
Our eyes are especially vulnerable to inflammation and studies have shown that Hawthorn may strengthen the eyes and help protect the eye health of people with diabetic retinopathy specifically by reducing inflammation.
In China, hawthorn is often used to address digestive complaints. One review pointed out that it's been in use for a long time. It was first mentioned for treating dysentery in Tang Materia Medica dating back to 659AD, which is the first known official pharmacopeia in the world.
A study published in 2020 showed that hawthorn extracts can reduce inflammation in the intestines, which could benefit inflammatory digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.
Hawthorn's got a lot going on for helping us with chronic inflammation. We often work with the berries, the leaves and the flowers of hawthorn. Studies have also shown that even the seeds are high in inflammatory modulating constituents. There are more than 280 species out there of hawthorn and herbalists basically use them all similarly.
The species that are most studied are Crataegus monogyna, oxyacantha, and laevigata.
Dosage is so important with herbal medicine, so pay attention to this. For the berries and leaves you can use up to 30 grams a day in a nourishing infusion. You can also work with hawthorn as a tincture or an alcohol extract. For fresh berries I recommend 1:1 ratio with 40% to 60% alcohol, the dosage being five mils, three to five times per day. You can also use a dried leaf and flower tincture and the ratio there is 1:5, 30% alcohol, five mils, three, and I would even say up to five times per day.
Hawthorn is very safe, it's very nourishing, but there are some considerations with its use. People taking heart medications such as digitalis and beta blockers should consult with an experienced practitioner before taking Hawthorn.
Large dosages of the leaf and flower might cause some tummy upset. If that happens, not a big deal, just decrease the amount; it'll probably be fine.
Hawthorn should not be used with people who have diastolic congestive heart failure.
So I recently came across an interesting study, looking at the best ways to optimize hawthorn tea. The researchers found that grinding up the herb before making the tea made a huge difference in the strength of the tea. At the end of the webinar, I'm going to give you a link to download a recipe with instructions on how to make your own powerful cup of hawthorn tea.
All right, before we move on to our next herb, let's sum up the beautiful hawthorn. So hawthorn is a nourishing herb, it's famously used for heart health, but it also addresses other sides of chronic inflammation, such as inflammation of the eyes, helping to prevent some inflammation associated with type 2 diabetes, inflammation in the digestive tract. We can work with the flowers, the leaves and the berries. And it makes a powerful tea; you can also use it as a tincture.
All right, next up, the next herb I want to feature is one of our most powerful tonic herbs that's also an amazing herb for modulating chronic inflammation. Nettle, sometimes called stinging nettle, is one of my favorite herbs and one that I turn to often.
Not only is it delicious, it's packed with nutrients, and this is something that's especially important today. Do you know that many of our modern day fruits and vegetables are actually missing nutrients? Perhaps we bred these nutrients out while making our fruit sweeter and tastier as is the case with apples and tomatoes, or maybe they were just lost with unintentional consequences of monoculture and nutrient-depleted soils. In any case, our foods don't contain the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that they once did.
The good news is that eating nettle is a powerful way to replace those nutrients naturally. Native to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, nettle grows all over the Northern hemisphere and, wherever it stands, humans take notice. The plant is covered in tiny hairs that are like hollow needles. If you casually brush up against the leaves or stems, they release a slew of irritating chemicals to the surface of your skin, which results in a mild but uncomfortable rash.
Who knows how many tens of thousands of years ago our ancestors figured out how to cook or dry the leaves to avoid the sting? At any rate, we've been enjoying the many gifts of nettles ever since. This plant really embodies food as medicine. Nettle's many gifts are often attributed to its wide-ranging nutrients, and most people could benefit from all of those nutrients. But nettle isn't for everyone; especially when you first start drinking it as a tea, it can be a really strong diuretic.
It is good to know that that diuretic effect can lessen over time. But as a result, nettle is very drying and those who tend to already be dry, like you have dry hair or dry skin, you can easily experience an unwelcome increase of dry symptoms when working with nettle. Sometimes adding moistening herbs like mallow or violets to nettle formulations can help offset this. Oftentimes people find that eating fresh nettle doesn't cause these problems, but sometimes nettle is simply too drying for some folks.
Nettle is also cooling in nature, so for people who tend to be warm and damp nettle is nourishing and building and has countless benefits. Nettle leaves are high in nutrients like calcium, fiber, protein and so many more. Few plants can boast the nutrient content of nettle, and few plants have benefits as dramatic when enjoyed frequently. Eating nettle or drinking its strong tea regularly often results in healthier bones, stronger teeth, more vibrant hair. Nettle can also improve skin health and is frequently used to reduce inflammation associated with eczema and acne.
Time and time again, I've heard from people who start drinking strong nettle teas daily, and they're amazed at how much better they feel. Their minds are sharper and their energy is higher and it's sustained all day long. A really good candidate for nettles is someone who wants to do more, but doesn't have the energy to do much. Nettle definitely helps with that.
Of course, we're talking about nettle today because it can modulate inflammation and it's been shown to have benefits for all sorts of different inflammatory conditions. Seasonal allergy sufferers can find relief from their symptoms by drinking a strong nettle tea starting a couple of months before the allergy season starts. Freeze dried nettle can be taken for immediate relief of acute seasonal allergy symptoms.
Several studies have shown that a fresh alcohol extract of nettle leaves can reduce inflammation and the blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. One recent study showed that nettle may decrease risk factors of cardiovascular incidents and other complications in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Nettle can also reduce pain associated with inflammation; some of its nutrients, like magnesium, can help relieve musculoskeletal pain. Researchers have shown that a combination of nettle, rose hips and devil's claw was effective at addressing knee pain.
Even the uncomfortable sting of fresh nettle can be used to bring blood flow to an area and to decrease pain. I know that may sound a little bit strange, but you don't have to take my word for it. Researchers have done two studies showing that fresh nettle brushed against the thumb and the knees can reduce pain and inflammation. I have to say, those had to have been some interesting studies to sign up for, like, "Yeah, sign me up for getting fresh nettles rubbed all over me." Yeah, I'll go for that.
Nettle leaves are nourishing greens and can be consumed in larger quantities like spinach or kale. They can be cooked, pulverized, or dried prior to eating, to eliminate their stinging hairs. I like to blanch the young leaves quickly in boiling water before using them in stir fries and soups. They can also be blanched and frozen for later use.
You can use nettles anywhere where you might use spinach or kale like lasagna, spanakopita, saag paneer, etc. The dried and powdered leaves can be added to smoothies and other foods. When using nettle tincture, I strongly prefer the fresh leaf tincture as opposed to the dried. Studies regarding modulating inflammation and lowering blood glucose levels used the fresh herb extract specifically. There you have my recommendations, 1:2 ratio, 75% to 95% alcohol, three to five mils, three to five times a day.
One thing to note is that when you're taking an alcohol extract, that alcohol is not extracting vitamins and minerals. So if you're turning to nettles for their wonderful nutrients then I suggest nettle tea—the water does extract those vitamins and minerals. Of course, you can use both the extract and the tea in a single day, totally fine. For the tea, I recommend 28 grams or one ounce by weight. That's approximately two cups of finely crumbled leaves. And you make that into a strong tea; we use a quart of just-boiled water and that is a daily dose. This is a wonderful nutritive blend.
Drinking a strong nettle tea like this daily is something I've long practiced and I've long recommended to countless clients. This brew is so incredibly nutritive and many people report they have numerous health benefits when they do this as a long-term daily practice. As always, of course, you want to keep someone's constitution in mind. So if you tend to be dry and cold, you may not enjoy this tea as much as those who tend to be warmer and damper. But you can also, as I mentioned before, add other herbs to this mix, like you could add a little bit of ginger to warm it up or add something like marshmallow root to add some moistening qualities.
In the downloads that you'll be receiving for recipe cards, I'm going to give you a recipe for making a strong nettle tea.
All right, before I go back to live video, let's sum up the wonderful gifts of nettle. Nettle is a nourishing herb filled with important nutrients, combats chronic inflammation in a variety of ways, including reducing the pain of arthritis, supporting heart health, lowering blood glucose and inflammation in those with type 2 diabetes, and assuredly much more. Nettle can be eaten, it also can be prepared as a fresh tincture, or you can use the dried leaves as a strong tea. Okay, let's head back to live video.
Okay. Before we get to our final special herb, I'm going to share the details on my brand new online workshop, Cooling Inflammation. As you can see, I am passionate about helping people address chronic inflammation in their lives. I'm also super frustrated at the poor ways chronic inflammation is being addressed both in Western medicine and in alternative health.
As a clinical herbalist, I worked one-on-one with folks to help them figure out their chronic health issues. And I still believe that for people with very complicated issues, one-on-one care is going to be best. But I also know that by offering a workshop, I can help a lot more people than I ever could with one-on-one sessions. I also know that my unique gifts as both a teacher and as a clinician who loves to both inspire and offer lots of practical solutions is a perfect match for this workshop.
Okay. So what is it? The Cooling Inflammation workshop is for people who want to address the root cause of their symptoms of chronic inflammation naturally. It's also for people who are looking for solutions that joyfully fit into their lives.
In other words, the guides and practices within Cooling Inflammation aren't about elimination, deprivation, expensive supplements or other hurdles that don't actually work for your life. Cooling Inflammation is ideal for someone who is curious and engaged in their health and believes that even their small daily choices can make a big difference in how they feel.
This workshop lasts eight weeks and is all about action and results. Cooling Inflammation isn't about memorizing facts. In fact, you may hear me say some things in the workshop that you already know, which is a good thing. I'm not presenting on weird new fads, but rather solid, trusted ways that you can make a difference in your health.
Each week, I'll give a live presentation about a particular root cause of chronic inflammation. These presentations are insightful, entertaining and interesting; they aren't about memorizing difficult physiology or pointless facts. At the end of the presentation, there's a Q&A so you can get your questions answered by me. Each week you'll also be given invitations to try for that week. The invitations will vary from herbs to try, lifestyle choices to pursue and fun recipes. Your goal will be to choose one invitation that you can easily succeed with that week.
After eight weeks, you'll have had the opportunity to try at least eight different, simple, but powerful things to address chronic inflammation. These small and powerful steps will add up to create positive health transformations. The result is that your life is filled with more energy, less pain.
Beyond the weekly live classes, I've carefully created bonuses for this workshop to ensure you have what you need for success.
There's the interactive community. Unlike many online courses, this isn't about doing it all by yourself. You'll be invited to a safe and inclusive private Facebook group where you can ask questions, get inspired and offer encouragement to others on a similar journey. Having enthusiasm and encouragement from others is a powerful tool in creating change in your life.
There are herbal monographs as a bonus, I give you extensive herbal monographs that you can save and print and use as powerful references. All monographs include information that you need to know to be successful with herbs, including dosages, preferred preparation types and more.
Herbs and other natural solutions are a powerful way to address chronic and systemic inflammation. And I'm here to show you how to get the best results. I know many of you are wondering about the cost, so let me get to that. For this first year release, I've priced this two-month experience as low as possible; it's never going to be this low again. Two-day or weekend herbal classes and conferences often cost over $300, which doesn't include additional travel, food or lodging. The cost for this two-month workshop is three payments of $97 or you can save $44 by paying in full. You can get all the details for the Cooling Inflammation Workshop at CoolingInflammation.com.
Because this is a live course, the open enrollment period is only available for the next few days. So if you're interested, be sure to check it out soon. And because this is the first time I'm releasing this course, I'm offering special deals for this year only. In addition to the price being the lowest it will ever be, students enrolling this year will be given lifetime access each time I present this class in the future. This workshop is going to be transformational and fun. If you're curious about addressing your chronic health issues with herbs and other natural therapies, then I hope you'll join me. Okay, let's head back to the herbs.
Of course, I have to talk about turmeric in this presentation. Turmeric is the poster child for addressing chronic inflammation, with countless studies and thousands of years of traditional use. We know what turmeric does, and we know that it does it well.
Most of us are familiar with turmeric as the orange powder that you can readily find at the spice rack.
In Western herbalism, we most often use the root or rhizome, which looks very similar to ginger; they're actually related. This plant can be grown in USDA zones 8 or higher, or people grow it in a greenhouse.
So let's talk turmeric energetics. Turmeric has both a pungent and bitter taste. Herbs with these two predominant tastes are often wonderful for digestion, which is the case for turmeric.
Energetically, turmeric is slightly warming, but it has a more pronounced drying effect, which is an important aspect of understanding how best to work with turmeric. I'll discuss that later in the presentation.
So what do we use turmeric for? Well, just about everything. I was researching turmeric earlier this year and I reviewed hundreds of studies involving turmeric and its extract of curcumin. At times, I just felt like I could type in turmeric plus whatever disease I could think of into the PubMed database, which is a research database of studies, and I would get results. There's truly a ton of turmeric research out there.
Looking at the list of the many ways that we can work with turmeric for health, it might seem a bit unbelievable. How can one herb do so much? I think this is the key: turmeric modulates inflammation. And yes, sometimes it's referred to as an anti-inflammatory, but as I mentioned before, that's not an entirely accurate term.
Turmeric is actually way smarter than that. So remember how I mentioned that ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastritis or bleeding in the digestive tract? Well, that's estimated to kill about 16,000 people a year. Well, turmeric, in its sophisticated genius, modulates inflammation and heals the digestive tract. There's even evidence that turmeric can protect against gastric mucosal damage that's caused by those other drugs. Turmeric is really a powerful ally in modulating inflammation. And because turmeric modulates inflammation so well, it's been shown to have positive benefits for many chronic issues.
As a result, those taking turmeric often report decreased pain, healthier cardiovascular system, better eye health, decreased digestive problems, better cognitive health, or just able to think more clearly. The benefits just go on and on. And when I see all the wonderful things that turmeric is so wonderful for, it makes me wonder what's the best use of the spice. Do we use it to address the diseases we already have or do all of us need to start taking spices like turmeric and many others just to keep us healthy and maintain our health?
Let's chat about glutathione. So glutathione is a protein that our body makes naturally, and it's making a lot of headlines right now because of its incredible antioxidant abilities, as well as its ability to support natural detoxification. Glutathione is called the mother of antioxidants because it recycles antioxidants. It's considered to be important for addressing many chronic diseases. It's also part of natural everyday health, as it supports the immune system, detoxification, and modulates inflammation. As a result of the research showing all of these benefits, taking glutathione supplements is a growing trend in the natural health world. But I think: why take a pill of this external source of something when we can take this whole spice of turmeric, which naturally stimulates our own glutathione production?
I've mentioned this before, but many common heart problems of today are rooted in chronic inflammation. With turmeric's ability to modulate inflammation, it's really a great ally for addressing heart health issues and for simply maintaining heart health.
Here's an interesting study. A group of healthy volunteers aged 40 to 60 were split into two groups. One group received a low dose extract of curcumin, which is an extract from turmeric. And the other group was given a placebo. Those receiving the turmeric extract were shown to have reduced triglyceride levels and other inflammatory markers associated with heart disease as compared to those taking the placebo—go, turmeric! Turmeric even helps people who already have heart disease. In one study, researchers showed that a curcumin extract reduce the risk of heart attack in people who had undergone coronary artery bypass grafting. There's some evidence that turmeric and curcumin may improve systolic blood pressure when administered in long durations. Turmeric is awesome for the heart.
Turmeric has long been used to support the musculoskeletal system, especially for issues like chronic joint pain and arthritis. You can work with turmeric both internally and externally to address muscle and joint pain. A review of turmeric medicine that I read shared that a traditional remedy in India is actually a hot poultice made from turmeric and slaked lime, which is then applied to relieve injuries and pain of inflammation. Turmeric can also be taken preventively to keep the musculoskeletal system healthy.
Turmeric is really renowned for addressing arthritis. One randomized controlled trial showed curcumin's ability to decrease inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis. The patients were split into two groups; one group received curcumin supplements, the other received a placebo. After six weeks, those taking the curcumin supplements had lower levels of systemic oxidative stress. Turmeric has also been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing pain, but without the undesirable negative gastrointestinal effects that's relatively common when taking ibuprofen.
I've personally witnessed the amazing power of the spice and I wanted to share two client stories with you.
When Judy first came to see me, she had severe pain in her fingers, both from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. She had a lot of difficulty performing normal activities like chopping vegetables. She was taking two pharmaceutical drugs that had serious side effects, including a weakened immune system and a risk of sudden blindness. Judy and I worked together to create a customized plan to support her health. One of the main herbs she started taking was turmeric. After just a week, I got an elated email from her that the debilitating pain in her hands was just gone. Judy then worked closely with her endocrinologist to slowly reduce her medications, and within six months she was completely off them while still maintaining a pain-free life.
Another client of mine, Susan, had been experiencing knee pain for almost a decade by the time I started working with her. Simple things like stepping from a road onto the curb caused extreme discomfort. She regularly took NSAIDS like ibuprofen just to make it through her normal life activities. Within two weeks of starting to take turmeric, all of her knee pain was gone for the first time in years and she no longer needed to take those over-the-counter pills for pain. These are just two stories out of many and that's typical of what I see with those starting to take turmeric for inflammatory pain. It really is an incredible plant.
Moving on, let's look at turmeric and the benefits for the immune system and its anticancer properties. In this review published in 2019, the authors point out that evidence suggests that the disorder of inflammatory pathways play a key role in cancer development. They also said that curcumin exerts its immunomodulatory ability by interacting with several immune mediators, hence its anticancer property. There is an astounding amount of research regarding turmeric and curcumin and their effects on cancer. Of course, having a study doesn't prove anything, but the reason turmeric keeps getting all this attention is because there's so much promise there.
I've read a lot of reviews on turmeric and cancer and, of course, all of them call for more human clinical trials, which I really look forward to. They also noted that curcuminoids are poorly absorbed unless they are enhanced in some way. My hope is that eventually we will see those human clinical trials with turmeric as a whole herb medicine rather than simply the curcumin extracts. There's lots of interest right now regarding turmeric and curcumin in regards to addressing immune system inflammation as well as for addressing symptoms of COVID-19. While there aren't yet any human clinical trials, a lot of in vitro research is showing promise.
I would say that turmeric is most famous for two things. One is its ability to modulate inflammation and then two is its ability to strengthen cognitive health. Growing research shows that inflammation and cognitive health are linked.
Turmeric and curcumin are currently being studied extensively for their ability to protect and even restore cognitive health. One of the specific diseases that turmeric is being studied for is Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's, like any chronic disease, is complex—so I don't want to give the impression that taking one herb is going to cure it. That's just not the case. However, in one human clinical trial, turmeric was shown to improve the working memory of people who had pre-diabetes and biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease, which was interesting because Alzheimer's has recently been dubbed type 3 diabetes because of its strong correlation to this metabolic syndrome.
All right, speaking of which, type 2 diabetes is also a complex metabolic disorder that results in systemic inflammation and affects numerous organ systems. Turmeric and curcumin can benefit type 2 diabetes patients in so many ways by modulating inflammation and then protecting the organs like the liver, the heart, and even kidney health.
Turmeric may also help to prevent someone from developing type 2 diabetes. In a trial 240 pre-diabetic patients were divided into two groups. For nine months, one group received curcumin supplements and the other received a placebo. After nine months, 16% of the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes whereas no patients in the curcumin group developed the progressed disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, with 44% of new cases being attributed to this chronic inflammatory disease. Research has shown that people taking turmeric had significant improvements in biomarkers that are risk factors for developing end stage kidney disease.
So it's kind of like I showed you in the beginning: turmeric just does practically everything that you might imagine. It truly is an amazing herb. So now that we've seen so many wonderful things that turmeric can do, let's discuss how best to work with it.
Turmeric is regularly found as a dried powder in many stores or your favorite herbal apothecary. It's also increasingly available fresh at health food stores.
The best quality turmeric will be a very bright orange. If it's turned to a brown or dull yellow shade, then you'll know that it's just not very fresh.
Having the best quality herbs really does matter.
Certifications can be an important part of knowing you have high quality herbs. These certifications require that herbs are tracked through the supply chain and held accountable to their standards. Buying organic means that the herbs, the land and people weren't subjected to harmful chemicals. Buying fair-trade, like Fair For Life, ensures that the people who grew and harvested and processed your herbs were treated with respect and given a fair living wage. I think we can all agree that we want our herbal use to support a healthy planet and a healthy community. Using those certifications as a guide when buying can really help.
Turmeric isn't simply medicine, it's also a wonderful spice to use regularly in foods and drinks. Therapeutic doses of turmeric such as up to 10 grams a day is hard to do in food, so capsules might be necessary. I most commonly recommend it as a powder rather than a tincture. Turmeric is full of amazing antioxidants and constituents, but it's not easily absorbed by the digestive system.
So here's two important tips for dramatically increasing the bioavailability of turmeric. The first is to add a small amount, roughly 3%, of freshly ground pepper to your turmeric. This has long been the practice in Ayurveda, and science has confirmed that piperine, an extract of black pepper, increases the bioavailability of curcumin by as much as 2000%. Another tip is to take your turmeric heated in oil; the heat and oil help to better extract its constituents, making them more available in your body.
So I mentioned earlier in this presentation that turmeric is drying. People regularly using turmeric or those taking in higher amounts may notice that they feel unusually thirsty or that they have dry eyes or dry skin. If this happens to you, then I recommend taking less turmeric or you can also increase healthy fats and liquids in your diet to see if that helps to balance things out.
I do want to mention that turmeric will stain everything it touches orange.
Also, you should know that larger-than-culinary-amounts should be used with caution for people with bleeding disorders or known gallstones and also during breastfeeding. Culinary amounts are generally just fine.
All right, let's give our summary to turmeric. Turmeric strongly modulates inflammation, can also stimulate glutathione production. It's easier to ask what can't turmeric do rather than list all of its gifts and uses because there are so many. Turmeric isn't necessarily for everyone because it can be too drying. As with all herbs, you want to get the best quality possible.
Turmeric, nettle and hawthorn are amazing for modulating inflammation, but only if you invite them into your life regularly. To help you do just that, I've created a gift for you with my favorite and most reached-for recipes. Head over to CoolingInflammation.com to download your copy. Look for them about midway down the page.
Well, today I've highlighted three powerful herbs for addressing chronic inflammation, but these are just the beginning; there are many more herbs that are just as amazing. And of course, herbs aren't our only natural therapies to modulate inflammation.
I'm excited to dive into the many effective and natural ways of addressing chronic inflammation in the Cooling Inflammation workshop. If you decide to join me, then you'll be signing up for eight weeks of inspiration, motivation and fun. My goal is to create a positive, joyful and inclusive experience with the end result of you feeling great.
How would you like to feel two months from now? Could you use more energy? Do you want less pain in your daily life? Do you just want to feel better all around? If so, then this workshop is for you.
Because this workshop is a live experience, enrollment is only open for a short period of time. You can learn more about the workshop and sign up at CoolingInflammation.com. This is the first time I'm offering this workshop, which I think makes it the perfect time to join. For this first release I am offering it at a highly discounted rate.
As a reminder, that's three payments of $97, or you can save $44 by paying in full. The price is never going to be this low again.
And don't forget, I'm also offering another very special bonus to everyone who signs up now. Normally my live based classes aren't offered with lifetime access. These classes are like in-person classes in that you show up to class, you get all the teachings and materials, but you can't keep coming back to that class over and over. But for the first students in this class, I'm going to extend a lifetime invitation to future Cooling Inflammation workshops. That's a huge bonus.
If you love being a part of something from the very beginning, and you're excited to be part of a workshop and community focused on feeling great naturally, then this is the time to sign up. You can register at CoolingInflammation.com. As soon as you're in the door, you'll have fun things to dive into. I look forward to seeing you there.
Thanks for joining me in this webinar. I'm wishing you all the best in your health journey.
Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal and co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.