Updated: Mar 2
The golden yellow turmeric root (called Jiang Huang) has been used for centuries in Chinese herbal medicine, notably to reduce swelling and pain associated with arthritic conditions as well as relieving abdominal and menstrual pain. Increasingly the powerful properties of this herb have been researched, not just for its anti-inflammatory properties, but also its ability of reducing onset of Type 2 Diabetes. There is also promise for reducing cholesterol.
In 2012, the American Diabetes Association published the results of a randomised, double-blinded, placebo- controlled trial where curcumin (the active component of turmeric) was assessed in the treatment of ‘Pre-Diabetic’ patients.
The 240 participants were divided into either a treatment group or a placebo group. The treatment group received 1.5g of curcumin per day while the placebo group received identical looking capsules. Each group took their capsules for a total of 9 months.The results were that while 16.4% of the placebo group developed Type 2 Diabetes, zero of the treatment group developed diabetes.
The challenge of obtaining the active curcumin in the daily diet is that turmeric root only yields about .3% of it's volume as curcumim. It's also been identified that curcumin is best absorbed in the digestive tract if consumed with dietary fats and piperine (the active component of black pepper). To increase the bioavailability of curcumin, a concentrate of the extract can be obtained as nano-curcumin and taken as a supplement.
To assess this extract, a 2016 randmised control trial of 70 Type 2 Diabetic patients, showed significant improvements to blood glucose levels, HbA1C (a long-term diabetes indicator) and triglycerides of the group taking the nano-curcumin compared to those taking a placebo.
While more research is warranted, this work being done on turmeric is very promising for both pre-diabetic and Type 2 diabetic patients. Of course, if you are concerned about your diabetes status, or have a history of Type 2 Diabetes in your family, it is important you speak to your General Practitioner. However Chinese Medicine may be of assistance in helping regulate your blood sugars to offer positive long term outcomes.